Kate Z's Reviews > Big Girl Small

Big Girl Small by Rachel DeWoskin
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's review
Jun 09, 2011

really liked it
Recommended for: book clubs
Read from June 06 to 09, 2011

(this book is really more like 3 1/2 stars for me)

I selected this book for Challenge #1 in the group "You'll Love This One ... A Book Club and More ..." The challenge was to choose a book entirely by its cover. This book came across my NPR newsfeed and the cover immediately jumped out at me. It reminded me of the (original) Wally Lamb book "She's Come Undone" She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb. It also reminded me of the book Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok. Apparently I have a "thing" for blue covers.

I selected the book and committed to it for the challenged then read the write ups and was instantly sorry. I even considered bailing on the challenge. The book is the first person story of a dwarf high school girl who goes to a special performing arts high school. The premise is basically, "If you thought YOUR experience as a high schooler was bad trying being a dwarf ....". Ugh, right?

But as soon as I got up the courage to open the book and start reading some of my fears were alleviated. The voice of Judy, the main character, is funny and sarcastic. It turns out that being a dwarf really is a metaphor for Judy's experience as a high school girl ... and I mean that in the good and subtle way. It's not an overdone device that is trotted out. I found this book both brutal but honest. Witty and tragic. To borrow a phrase from my friend Colleen, "there's a train wreck coming" and you know it from the first sentence but you're compelled to watch. No turning my head in this book.

I actually don't know if this is technically a YA book but I found it funny that I was drawn to this book because of the similarity of its cover to two other books I had enjoyed and that both of those books were about a high school girl trying to make her way. Perhaps it's a publishing "thing" to use a bright blue cover with a simple image of a young girl in some form or other (in this case floating away with a bunch of brightly colored balloons) for a coming of age story.

This would be a good book club book - lots to discuss and think about.
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