Conversations with the Fat Girl Paperback – Sep 13 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
Palmer debuts with the latest sprightly entry in the ever-expanding category of light romantic comedies starring plus-sized heroines. Maggie has been best friends with fellow fat girl Olivia since they were 12. Following gastric bypass surgery at 22, however, Olivia grows increasingly unrecognizable. Now 27, she's engaged to Adam, a fat-phobic Ken doll, and although Maggie is to be the maid of honor, she feels less and less a part of Olivia's skinny new life. After Olivia disappoints her old friend again and again, Maggie sets in motion a long-overdue and explosive confrontation and walks into the arms of the colleague—busboy to her barista—whom she's had a crush on for ages. By that time, in true chick-lit style, Maggie is both earnestly at work improving herself and being loved for her true, unimproved self. And though Palmer doesn't moralize, it's when Maggie starts to make her own, more realistic wishes come true—by taking a better job and signing up with a trainer instead of a surgeon—that she sees her love requited. It turns out her instincts were good—as are Palmer's.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Palmer's lighthearted debut traverses territory familiar to chick-lit fans--a young woman lets self-doubt undermine an opportunity for romance. A lifelong battle with her weight, a disastrous dating life, and a going-nowhere job have taken their toll on Maggie's self-esteem. To make matters worse, her best friend, Olivia--once a fellow plus-size shopper--has a new svelte body thanks to gastric bypass surgery and a handsome surgeon fiance to boot. A great boyfriend and the perfect job are within Maggie's reach, but first she has to feel like she deserves them. Palmer's likable characters and snappy dialogue make this novel stand out from the crowd, and it's sure to attract fans of Jennifer Weiner and other authors who offer slightly imperfect heroines. Palmer manages to infuse a message of self--acceptance that isn't heavy-handed or cloying. This quick-witted author is sure to develop a following. Aleksandra Kostovski
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
This book was incredible, not just because of the subject, but how she writes. It was a conversation (thus the title), you followed every train of thought that "Maggie" had, and Palmer did not skip one detail. I was floored reading this and how accurate it was FOR ME as a person. Shopping in the notorious "women's section" is hard enough, especially when you think you are going through all of these emotions by yourself. How she handles herself was so truthful. I believe that this book has and will continue to break down barriers that overweight individuals set up for themselves.
I disagree with the reviews that say that Maggie's last act with Olivia was vindictive -- and that she should have taken the high road... My first question is WHY should she do that... Olivia was pretty abusive from page one, and why should her behavior go unchecked. People treat you the way you teach them to treat you. It is often said that there are no victims - only volunteers in these situations, and I do not see Maggie's act as vindictive ... I see it first as empowering to herself - and I think she did it not out of a spirit of revenge - but to remind Olivia not only of who she was - not in a physical sense, but in a physical sense. Maggie was reminding her that there was a time when they were really friends - and they really loved each other.
I think that while there is a love interest in this book, it really is a love story between friends - and what it is like to lose that. I also think it is a book about empowerment, and how Maggie took back her life - and discovered it was worth living
However, I had some issues with the book that combined with the lack of a real ending made it somewhat disappointing.
First of all, the book strayed far from the premise of Maggie being by her formerly-large-and-now-size-2 friend Olivia's side, and rather went on in an almost droning way about a crush she had on a guy that was turning in to something. One minute she was upset that it wasn't moving quickly enough, the next minute she wasn't sure if she could see him as a real man anyway.
Also regarding her life in general, you just don't rent even a studio apartment let alone a house (even a small one) in southern California making minimum wage. I know it's just a book, and fiction, but that is a really big part of her life -- being single and on her own and working at the coffee house instead of using her master's and the issues she had with that as she went thru a period of self discovery -- and it is not even humanly possible to live like that out there. Her parents were not helping her, either, as I told myself may be the case, and we find out toward the end.
Also, a maid of honor sits at the head table, not at a far-away table while someone else sits at the head table in her place. Period. I can't believe she would not confront her friend about the whole Table 9 thing. I understand that the slide show was supposed to be the "revenge", and that was clever, but by that point she should have not even showed up, because she wasn't the maid of honor, even though her friend might not have come out and said it. We never find out why her friend begged her up until the end to stay by her, yet chose to not have her sit at the head table. I thought by that point in the book she'd be smart enough, after having gone thru her self-discovery, to realize that no, she was not the maid of honor, and it was pretty obvious that Olivia had not been her "best friend" in a very long time. (They don't even live in the same city anymore, so what's the big loss, she had other friends and a great family.)
There is no proper ending! When I realized I had read the last actual page, I felt like I had hit a brick wall. There needed to be another chapter re: Table 9 and the aftermath, and a bit more wrapping up of the now-defunct (I guess??) friendship between Maggie and Olivia, as that was supposed to be the premise of the book in the first place.
With her move to her cute new cottage, Maggie begins to face the changes and take charge of her life. That means calling about that internship at the museum and finally doing something about her crush on Domenic, the dishwasher at the café. It also means facing the fact that, Olivia, her Best Friend Forever might not be the best of friends anymore.
Conversations with the Fat Girl is one of those books that you won't want to put down. Palmer's style is relaxed and easy-going-just like a chat with a good friend. Her voice is witty and honest-and, at times, cynical and just plain sad. Maggie is such a loveable and realistic character that you'll instantly get caught up in her story-and you'll be able to relate, no matter what your size. You'll laugh with her, you'll commiserate with her, and you'll cheer her on from the first page to the last. The story may not be entirely original or unpredictable, but it's so truthful and well-written that none of that matters. It's a powerful novel that will make you laugh while challenging you to take a look at your own life, too. It'll inspire you and entertain you.