Diary of a Mad Fat Girl by Stephanie McAfee is the most recent book to be discussed for BlogHer Book Club.
Diary of a Mad Fat Girl by Stephanie McAfee reminds me of a Katherine Heigl movie. While some may take this as a compliment, I really don’t intend it as such (*see any of my reviews on a Heigl flick and you will soon learn I am not a fan). In a Heigl movie, I always find the main character to be unlikeable, the supporting cast to exist solely for the purpose of allowing for “hijinks” by the star, and the plot to be loosely stitched together for the guy and the girl to fall in love against all odds (no matter how junior high they act and pretend like the other has cooties).
Yeah, I know I am being a little harsh here—and I am not sure if I am being more mean to Heigl or the book (probably the book)—but I just had a really difficult time liking Diary of a Mad Fat Girl. Now before anyone jumps down my throat and accuses me of being high-falutin’–that I am too hard on a light, popular fiction novel—I am well aware of the type of book it is. In fact, I have read (and sometimes enjoyed) books in this genre. For some reason I read all of the Pretty Little Liars series even though it got way out of control. In fact, I quite enjoy fun, casual books. I just couldn’t really connect to this one.
I feel bad saying that because I am sure McAfee worked hard on this book and I know if it was my book, my feelings would be hurt if anyone even tried to compare it to something Katherine Heigl did. However, Diary of a Mad Fat Girl didn’t resonate with me like I thought it would (and all three descriptions in the title could be used to describe me). Diary follows Ace Jones, a 30-something school teacher, as she negotiates the social waters of a small, Southern town while her two best friends deal with man issues of their own.
I found the character of Ace Jones to be annoying. She was extremely obnoxious and had very few characteristics I could tolerate. Often, she joked around about hurting people, she never knows when to shut up, and apparently every man in the world thinks she is wonderful. I realize main characters should be flawed, but everything Ace does is so over-the-top that she ends up seeming like a grotesque caricature. I don’t root for her and sometimes I down right hope she fails.
As far as the title goes, I think I expected something different. In some respects, I thought weight would be more of an issue addressed in the book. I mean, Diary of a Mad Fat Girl sounds like at least some of it would be a woman discussing the perception of size in society or something of the sort. Instead, we just get Ace complaining a few times about how certain clothes don’t fit exactly right while she eats pizza. Yes, it made me want pizza, but I wanted the book to be slightly less superficial.
Although I didn’t like the plot, the writing was funky and hip—often taking the liberty to use pop culture references (now you know I can be on board with that). I realize that there is an audience for this book and someone else may love it (the quote on the cover says it’s a “hoot”). Also, this novel could be a great, light read if you are stuck at an airport or want to enjoy a book outside sipping lemonade. While I appreciate the work that went into Diary of a Mad Fat Girl, I just couldn’t bring myself to love the end product. Damn, why do I feel so guilty about that? Oh well, at least I knocked a novel off my goal to read 50 books this year.
Thanks for reading and have a fabulous day!
**I was compensated for this BlogHer Book Club review, but the opinions are all my own.