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The Cat Ate My Gymsuit by Paula Danziger
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The Cat Ate My Gymsuit (1974)

by Paula Danziger

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Summary:

Marcy Lewis pretty much hates everything about her life. She thinks she is fat and unattractive. Her father is verbally abusive and her mother is a wreck of anxiety. However when she gets a new English teacher her life starts according to her to "suck a little less". Her new English teacher, Ms. Finney, is fun and makes learning interactive. she cares about her students beyond their ability to preform on tests. She even stars an after school club where Marcy makes new friends.
Marcy is devastated when Ms. Finney gets in trouble for not saying the pledge of allegiance. The board of education will hold a trial to determine if Ms. Finney is fit to teach the children.

Marcy and her friends decide they want to help Ms. Finney. They get together to plan a sit in but they are suspended from school before they can do so. Throughout the process of trying to fight for Ms. Finney Marcy makes new friends and discovers she can have a social life. Her mother also finds her own voice in backing up Ms. Finney.
Ms. Finney wins her case but ends up resigning.

Review:

I did not think this book was particularly entertaining. I liked the themes of it. Family, friendship, first love, Verbal abuse, and self image.
However I do not think these themes were well developed. Marcy and her Mother do gain some confidence and Marcy makes one knew friend. However most of her problems are resolved. For example her self image. Although the title of the book, it's opening lines, and many other comments throughout the book imply this is a main theme, Marcy's self image never improves during the book. By the end of the book she is still failing gym because she is too self conscious to wear her gymsuit.
I almost feel like the author tried to take so much in this few hundred pages that she was unable to develop any of them well.
However there is one thing I like about the book. The characters are relatable. A lot of little girls could see themselves reflected in Marcy. ( )
  ycinto1 | Sep 29, 2014 |
Better and different from what I expected. ( )
  Brainannex | Sep 1, 2014 |
Anyone who has ever felt like an outsider, felt like the fattest person in the room, or felt shy beyond imagination can relate to this book. ( )
  aimless22 | Jul 1, 2013 |
i'm rereading this, and it's still just as good. though, i will say this. i have an old edition, and it's got this picture of a red-headed awkward looking girl on the front. she's heavyset, wearing bad glasses, and she's got kind of a sweetly ironic look on her face.

the cover above (the newer one) seems to totally ignore the fact that the main character of this book, on the first page, calls herself a blimp. that she has wire rimmed glasses, and mousy hair, and is afraid she will always be a blimp. the girl depicted above has a wonky eye, but she's skinny as hell, and is wearing pink. her hair looks kind of messy, but clean and cut. except for the eye, she looks the way all girls are depicted in the media.

blimps do not sell books, but they should.

( )
  usefuljack | May 17, 2013 |
i'm rereading this, and it's still just as good. though, i will say this. i have an old edition, and it's got this picture of a red-headed awkward looking girl on the front. she's heavyset, wearing bad glasses, and she's got kind of a sweetly ironic look on her face.

the cover above (the newer one) seems to totally ignore the fact that the main character of this book, on the first page, calls herself a blimp. that she has wire rimmed glasses, and mousy hair, and is afraid she will always be a blimp. the girl depicted above has a wonky eye, but she's skinny as hell, and is wearing pink. her hair looks kind of messy, but clean and cut. except for the eye, she looks the way all girls are depicted in the media.

blimps do not sell books, but they should.

( )
  usefuljack | May 17, 2013 |
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To John Ciardi
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I hate my father.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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This work is "The Cat Ate My Gymsuit" only, please do not combine with any omnibuses or multi-books.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0142406546, Paperback)

Marcy's life is a mess. Her parents don't understand her, she feelslike a fat blimp with no friends, and her favorite teacher just got fired. Ms. Finney wasn't like the other teachers, and she was helping Marcy feel good about being herself. Now that she's gone, Marcy doesn't know what to do. She's always thought things would be better if she could just lose weight, but the loss of Ms. Finney sparks something inside her. She decides to join the fight to bring back her teacher, and in doing so, she discovers that her voice might matter more than she ever realized. With issues that still resonate strongly today and a character millions of teens have connected with, we are thrilled to celebrate the 30th anniversary of The Cat Ate My Gymsuit.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:31:51 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

When the unconventional English teacher who helped her conquer many of her feelings of insecurity is fired, thirteen-year-old Marcy Lewis uses her new found courage to campaign for the teacher's reinstatement.

» see all 6 descriptions

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