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Monday, November 16, 2009

Book Review: Fat Cat by Robin Brande


You are what you eat. . . .

Cat smart, sassy, and funny—but thin, she’s not. Until her class science project. That’s when she winds up doing an experiment—on herself. Before she knows it, Cat is living—and eating—like the hominids, our earliest human ancestors. True, no chips or TV is a bummer and no car is a pain, but healthful eating and walking everywhere do have their benefits.

As the pounds drop off, the guys pile on. All this newfound male attention is enough to drive a girl crazy! If only she weren’t too busy hating Matt McKinney to notice. . . .

This funny and thoughtful novel explores how girls feel about their bodies, and the ways they can best take care of their most precious resource: themselves.

Aspiring scientist Catherine (Cat) Locke takes on an ambitious experiment for her high school’s prestigious science fair. Her project? To live the lifestyle of a primitive Homo erectus, using herself as the guinea pig. Cat’s determination is fueled both by a burning desire to outshine the guy who broke her heart and also to shed a few unwanted pounds. Can a junk food addicted, overweight American teen last 207 days without processed food, caffeine and artificial sweeteners?

In a world where we are constantly bombarded with images of manufactured perfection, this is a novel with a great message for women of all ages. Surgery, drugs or unhealthy eating disorders are not the answers. Oftentimes, simple dietary changes coupled with exercise can be all that it takes. It was refreshing to read such an honest, funny portrayal of what it’s really like to be a woman struggling with body image. I loved watching Cat's progression as the pounds began to shed and her confidence grew. You can’t help but read this book and reflect on your own lifestyle and what you are putting into your body too. On a personal level, this novel really made me more label conscious about what I was eating and I hope to adopt many of the great eating habits as long term dietary goals.

But the real beauty of Fat Cat is that it’s subtle and not in-your-face like so many books relating to diet and weight loss tend to be. You’re not stressed or overwhelmed with expensive, difficult to prepare meal plans and radical lifestyle changes. This quote from the back cover is actually what prompted me to pick up the book. I’m sure at one time or another most women have had thoughts like this and can relate to poor Cat-

It’s not that I’m hideous, but I’m also not stupid. I know how people see me. I might spend an hour every day straightening my hair and getting my makeup just right and picking out clothes that camouflage at least some of my rolls, but the truth is I’m still fat and everyone knows it. When I wake up in the morning it’s like I’m wearing this giant fat suit, and if only I could find the zipper I could step out of it and finally go start living my real life.”

I also want to mention the secondary characters of Fat Cat. This is one of the few novels I have read where the supporting characters had such distinct, three dimensional personalities that I found them to be just as interesting as the main character herself. My favorite was Amanda. She was the type of girl we all want as a best friend. Smart, stylish and oh so talented, Amanda was extremely loyal to Cat (even before Cat lost the weight). I loved how she stood by her best friend and was there to support and help her, no matter what. I also loved Mr. "I don't date during the school year", Nick. This is the type of boy you know is bad for you, but is so, so hard to stay away from. The scenes with him were so deliciously enjoyable to read, I almost wanted his interactions with Cat to continue on a bit longer. Almost. But truth be told, Matt was the boy who stole my heart, and for everyone who likes a good romance, Fat Cat won't disappoint in that aspect.
Robin Brande whips up the perfect mix of science, romance and humor with Fat Cat. It’s a transformative, entertaining story about a young woman who makes some really simple changes in her eating and exercise habits, and ends up altering her whole life. I fell in love with this novel right from the start. But under all the humor there is also a deep message about the way we live our lives and how sometimes we are our own worst enemies. Whether you are actively seeking new ways to stay healthy, or looking for a great YA read, Fat Cat is sure to be a hit with its sharp humor, lovable heroine and great storyline peppered with interesting "food" for thought!

Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (October 13, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 037584449X
ISBN-13: 978-0375844492
Buy at Amazon, Borders, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million

Robin Brande is a former trial attorney who is also the author of the young adult novel Evolution, Me & Other Freaks of Nature. Robin was herself an overweight teen, and knows that a smart girl can figure out a smart way to be fit. She lives in Tucson, Arizona

To learn more about Robin, Visit her Official Website


celi.a said...

This one sounds insightful and entertaining - I'll keep my eye out for it. And three-dimensional secondary characters are ALWAYS a plus. Nice review!

Texy's bookself said...

This one sounds really good and intruging.
I think I may have to buy this sometime and read it.
Anways thanks for the amazing reveiw!

Maria said...

Great Review! Sounds like a good book.


carrie said...

Wow, fabulous review, I actually hadn't heard of this one. Thanks for reviewing it. I must look into getting my hands on one!

Book Butterfly (Kim) said...

Hi Guys, I would highly recommend it. Fat Cat was really fun and also helped me make some positive changes in my eating habits :)

Happy Reading!

kate said...

This sounds like such a great book. I read Evolution, Me & Other Freaks and loved it. I didn't Robin had a new one out. Jumping for joy!

Dena said...

I am a little over half way done reading this after your great review on it and I am devouring it, I actually want to savor it a little bit. Amanda is my favorite character and I knew too many Greg's in my life that I had to laugh. I also want to eat healthier as a result and love seeing Cat's progress chapter by chapter! Thank You!

Mary Catherine :) said...

I myself have been going through a similar thing the past few months (switched to healthy eating, 30 minutes of walking a day; lost about 38 pounds in 6-7 months) but I am always looking for more inspiration! I can't wait to read this book! Thanks for the great review! :)