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The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round…
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The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things (2003)

by Carolyn Mackler

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1,352None5,673 (3.83)36
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Showing 1-5 of 78 (next | show all)
First off, Virginia is a great character. She’s got a fun attitude and sense of humor, and while she does feel bad about herself, she doesn’t really wallow. It’s painful at times to read the undercurrent of disapproval from Virginia’s family as well as her own self-loathing. And I must say that her brother’s problem and how that affects her and her family is interesting and sets the book apart. My favorite part of the book was seeing Virginia go to Seattle—seeing her come alive again in a less oppressive environment. I thought that was very true to life. But realistically, I don’t think problems are resolved that quickly or easily in real life. It’s a bit of a whirlwind at the end: hair color, clothes, kickboxing, webzine, bam-bam-bam everything fixed! It was a nice ending—a positive message, etc, but maybe not totally realistic. Oh, and it’s frank almost to the point of crassness at times. ( )
  EuronerdLibrarian | Feb 7, 2014 |
If I have to hear Virginia's whinging narrative just once more, I think I'll slam my head against a brick wall.

Good concept, but not executed well at all.

Virginia, the plus size protagonist, complained about every aspect of her life but did nothing about it - except for a dodgy crash-diet - until the last few pages.

And leaky plot with the whole Annie Mills fiasco, I mean, really?

Overall this was a frustrating read that I didn't really enjoy.

Dear Virginia, get over yourself. ( )
  Corazie | Jul 25, 2013 |
Funny and empowering. The end relies more on summary than actual scenes, but I didn't mind too much as I was so involved in the story, and cheering on Virginia. I wish someone would discover time travel so I could place this book in my hands when I was a teenager. It has so much to share with its readers about body image, sexuality, strength, and being true to ourselves. ( )
  annemlanderson | Jun 22, 2013 |
4Q 4P
Part of me wishes that I had read this in high school, but part of me knows that the old me might have been turned away from the minor sexual incidents (I was, let's just say, a little more prudish than now). Virginia's sarcastic dialogue and emotional struggles at home, at school, and within herself are what drew me in and kept me; her story holds many similarities to my own, and undoubtedly to that of many teen girls - especially those with issues of body image and subsequent sense of inferiority, eating disorders, family members with terrible secrets, and general loneliness or disconnect with others.
This book was challenged for sexual content, offensive language, being "anti-family," and inappropriate for teens. I would argue that for the most part, this IS the teen experience; they are going through adolescence and their sexuality is going to start waking up, they're going to start deviating from family expectations, including using harsher language and having more difficulty connecting with parents. A story with loving, supportive, constantly-present parents might be appropriate for younger children so they develop strong feelings of being cared for and having someone to fall back on and talk to, but when it's your freshman year in high school social communication is just harder all across the board and your parents are supposed to detach a little; Virginia's story echoes real-life fact in that parents tend to be less supportive of overweight children, especially daughters. When the family crisis occurs, it shows each person's personal reaction to the event and, to be honest, I think those are very realistic reactions.
Personally, this was a book I needed to read (that I wouldn't have found if it weren't for the title and its presence on a Banned Books list) and am glad that I did; the topics are extremely relevant to teens and people who grew up with similar stories, and gives you one of those characters you really want to love and root for. ( )
  Plexchan | May 4, 2013 |
1. In The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things, Carolyn Mackler creates an engaging tenth grader named Virginia who struggles with body image, feeling like an outsider, and changing relationships with her family. When her brother Byron, whom Virginia has striven to imitate her entire life, is suspended from college for date rape, Virginia's life collapses around her. The novel follows Virginia as she comes into her own and takes control of her own life, refusing to be defined by her family's mistakes.

2. The book has connections to contemporary social problems such as eating disorders, rape culture, and misogyny. The book could be very useful to use in Literature Circles to allow students to discuss societal problems. The book also does a very good job of characterizing all of its characters, especially Virginia. It easily lends itself to an assignment analyzing character development.

3. I would most definitely put this book in my classroom library, as it does a very good job of grappling with the issues of body image and rape while ultimately resulting in a much more powerful main character. However, I would be extremely reluctant to read this book as a whole class, as I think it would make teenagers, who are often concerned with their bodies, uncomfortable. I would consider using it in Literature Circles, but I would make sure to supervise the group carefully to make sure that all students were comfortable discussing the subjects in the book and that they had enough resources to make educated decisions about how they feel about the tough issues in the book.
  whitneykni | Apr 12, 2013 |
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Book description
In the book "The Earth, My Butt, And other big Round Things" the main character is Virginia Shreves. She is in high school, and isn't the most popular girl in school. She describes her self as overweight and seems she has a low-self esteem. She has a best friend named Shannon but she moved schools and moved out of New York City, where Virginia lives. Virginia has a crush on a boy named Froggy Welsh. Virginia and Froggy mess around out of school, but they are not "boyfriend and girlfriend". Virginia's parents are hard working and successful. She has a older brother (Byron), and a older sister(Anais). Her sister is in the U.S. Peace Corps, and her mom is a adolescent psychologist, her dad is a high-powered software executive, and her brother lives in a dorm.

Froggy Welsh has made it up Virginia's shirt. School for Virginia is not going so great, she is a bit of a 'loner" in lunch because how her bestfriend Shannon moved away. So she over heard the "Bri-Girls" talking bad about her in the bathroom, although they do think Vigini's brother Byron is cute. So her self-esteem is even lower and she hates it even more that she is overweight. Froggy and her go deeper into they're messing arond thing. But her mother comes home early because of their Doctor's appointment that she forgot about, and Froggy hides under her bed. He listens to her and her mother talking about her overweight-ness. That is the reason why she's going to the doctor. Now she feels awkward with Froggy. The doctor feels she is healthy just she needs to lose weight. So Dr.Love puts her on a diet. After her diet is going well and Ms. Crowley makes her alittle bit more confident. Shannon makes new friends over in Walla Walla. Mr and Mrs Shreves get a phone call from the dean at Columbia College, and they find out Byron is accused of date rapeing a girl. Froggy wants to go to Walla Walla with Virginia to visit Shannon.

Virginia breaks her diet because all the drama and stress with Byron and his date-raping a girl from college thing. Byron gets suspended from school and has to move out of his dorm and go back and live with his parents. Virginia thinks its awkwad between them, and they don't talk much. Virginia breaks it off with Froggy because she doesn't have much time for their get togethers anymore. And plus now that Byron is back home he cant come over because Byron would say something. Shannon invites Virginia to Seattle for Thnaksgiving, but Virginia's parents don't want to allow her because theres to much chaos with the Byron date-raping thing.

Virginia's dad and Byron go off to the Yanke Stadium to watch a game. Byron Has a lawyer for his Date-rapeing case. Her mother is now starting to cook, and she hasnt cooked fo many years. Virginia's parents havent gone to their golf tournanents lately. Ever since Byron has been home, Virginia's dad has been drinking alot lately. Virginia's parents are allowing Byron to go off to Paris for Thanksgiving, and she doesnt think its fair, because she wants to go to Seattle with Shannon. Its Halloween and Virginia still hasnt talked to Froggy, althoug in the auditorium she spots im, and hes talking to some other girl named Sarah. She gets a bit jealous. Froggy won an award that day.

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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0763620912, Paperback)

"The heroine’s transformation into someone who finds her own style and speaks her own mind is believable — and worthy of applause." — PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

Fifteen-year-old Virginia Shreves has a larger-than-average body and a plus-size inferiority complex, especially when she compares herself to her slim, brilliant, picture-perfect family. But that’s before a shocking phone call — and a horrifying allegation — about her rugby-star brother changes everything. With irreverent humor and surprising gravity, Carolyn Mackler creates an endearingly blunt heroine who speaks to every teen who struggles with family expectations, and proves that the most impressive achievement is to be true to yourself.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:25:31 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Feeling like she does not fit in with the other members of her family, who are all thin, brilliant, and good-looking, fifteen-year-old Virginia tries to deal with her self-image, her first physical relationship, and her disillusionment with some of the people closest to her.… (more)

» see all 2 descriptions

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