Tuesday 23 July 2013

Fat Angie

Fat Angie by E.E. Charlton-Trujillio (Walker Books)
PB RRP $19.95
ISBN 9780763661199
Reviewed by Anastasia Gonis

Fat Angie is the only girl in her school that has ever had a nervous breakdown. She is broken by grief because her sister, a soldier in the army, has been missing in Iraq for months, believed dead. Fat Angie is bullied and humiliated mercilessly by her peers and her only solace are the sweet cakes that she resorts to in an attempt to escape her pain. She is friendless, and corporate lawyer mother has disconnected herself from her daughter because of the way she looks. Her father has severed himself from them all by starting a new family elsewhere.

Her stepbrother Wang is also grieving for his sister that was the glue that held the family together. Now he is rebellious and cruel towards everyone, has resorted to stealing regardless of their affluent situation, and is a breath away from jail.

Into this dysfunctional scene of cruelty and indifference enters KC Romance, a stunning and world-wise girl that immediately chooses Angie to keep company with. She has a past and is dealing with many issues herself, particularly those of abandonment and cutting. She turns Angie’s world topsy-turvy in an unexpected way.  They both learn that ‘it’s so hard when the person you look like on the outside doesn’t really match how you feel on the inside’.

Fat Angie is a unique and inspiring book. It is dark, edgy, and shocking in its depiction of bullying and its inhumanity, but beautiful and tender in its ability to show the other side of human nature. The writing style is unusual as is the language. There is no question that the author knows her subject well and has created her characters with intent and great perception. It has many layers and carries strong messages with it. Be prepared to cry.

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