Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Fat Kid Rules the World


Going, K.L. 2003. Fat Kid Rules the World.

I'm a sweating fat kid standing on the edge of the subway platform staring at the tracks. I'm seventeen years old, weigh 296 pounds, and I'm six-foot-one. I have a crew cut, yes a crew cut, sallow skin, and the kind of mouth that puckers when I breathe. I'm wearing a shirt that reads Miami Beach--Spring Break 1997, and huge, bland tan pants--the only kind of pants I own. Eight pairs, all tan.

It's Sunday afternoon and I'm standing just over the yellow line trying to decide whether people would laugh if I jumped. Would it be funny if the Fat Kid got splattered by a subway train? Is that funny? I'm not being facetious; I really want to know. Like it or not, apparently there's something funny about fat people. Something unpredictable. Like when I put on my jacket and everyone in the hallway stifles laughter. Or when I stand up after sitting in the cafeteria and Jennifer Maraday, Brooke Rodriguez, and Amy Glover all bust a gut. I don't get angry. I just think, What was funny about that? Did my butt jiggle? Did I make the bench creak so loud that it sounded like a fart? Did I leave an indentation? There's got to be something, right? Right?

So it's not a stretch to be standing on the wrong side of the yellow line giving serious thought to whether people would laugh if I threw myself in front of the F train. And that's the one thing that can't happen. People can't laugh. Even I deserve a decent suicide.


Meet Troy Billings. Told in first person, the novel is one of life lost and found. Troy, ready to jump, or at least ready to think about being ready to jump is a young man who thinks he has nothing to live for. Until. And I love this until. Until he meets the most unlikeliest of friends. Curt MacCrae, a homeless teenager of legendary status in the music world. A former student at Troy's school, Troy knows--or thinks he knows--all about Curt MacCrae. The coolest of the cool. But also the skinniest of the skinny.

In this relationship, it's never quite clear (to them or to the reader) who is saving who. 2 kids. 2 sets of problems or issues. 1 unlikely dream. Curt wants--or needs--Troy to be his drummer. The problem? Troy doesn't know how to drum. He has the dream--most boys his age do--of being in a band, a punk band. But he doesn't have the know-how. But Curt is there to see that this is one dream becomes reality.

It's an unlikely pairing. It's an unusual book. But I liked it. I really liked. I had my doubts. His family, Troy's family, seems a bit dysfunctional, a bit disconnected in the beginning. Which of course mirrors how Troy feels about his family life. But as he discovers who he is and what he wants and needs, Troy's family is there with him. His brother. His father. Both are there and willing to stay there, to stay a part of his life. Troy finds out day by day just how lucky he is.

Troy has a big problem. He thinks of himself as 'the fat kid.' His self-esteem (his self-confidence) is non-existent because he believes the lies he tells himself. Through his relationships with Curt and his friends as well as his changing relationships with his family, Troy is becoming someone he can like, someone he can respect, someone he can love.

183

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

3 comments:

amateurdelivre 8:19 AM  

This really sounds like a great book, and I loved your review. Great blog as well, I will be stopping back:)

Dewey 11:02 AM  

"Curt MacCrae, a homeless teenager of legendary status in the music world."

Ha ha, a homeless teenager with legendary status in the music world named CURT? What a great Kurt Cobain allusion. I almost want to read this book JUST for the author's subtle humor, but this sounds good in other ways. Onto the wishlist it goes!

Anonymous,  1:50 AM  

The Curt MacCrae character is loosely based on Kurt Cobain, being the Nirvana fan, it's quite nice to see the interaction between the the two protagonists in the story.

Post a Comment

I'm always happy to hear from you! To help fight spam, comment moderation has been set up for posts older than two days. Feel free to ask me questions or ask for recommendations!

Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

You should know several things before you contact me:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
2) I give all books at least fifty pages.
3) I am not promising anyone (author or publisher) a positive review in exchange for a review copy. That's not how I work.
4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
5) I do not guarantee that I will get to your book immediately. I've got so many books I'm trying to read and review, I can't promise to get to any one book in a given time frame.
6) Emailing me every other week to see if I've read your book won't help me get to it any faster. Though if you want to email me to check and see if it arrived safely, then that's fine!

Authors, publishers. I am interested in interviewing authors and participating in blog tours. (All I ask is that I receive a review copy of the author's latest book beforehand so the interview will be productive. If the book is part of a series, I'd like to review the whole series.) Contact me if you're interested.

Unique Visitors and Google PR Rank

Free PageRank Checker

Pageloads Counter

Search Book Blogs Search Engine

Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

  © Blogger template Newspaper III by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP