June Junebug's Reviews > Size 14 Is Not Fat Either

Size 14 Is Not Fat Either by Meg Cabot
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's review
Sep 09, 2009

it was ok
bookshelves: humor, thriller, romance, fluff, chick-lit, crime, cozy-mystery, fuck-yeah-fat-girls, fatphobia
Read from June 08 to 10, 2011 — I own a copy

→ Easy read.
→ Fluff-mystery.

Bad fluff-mystery.
→ Distracting attributives.
→ Sometimes felt Mary Sue-ish.
→ Horrible at subtlety.

First of all, I have to say that I love Meg Cabot's charm and I always used to enjoy her novels because I think everybody needs a good fluff-read every now and then. I remember loving the first book a lot and when I couldn't find the second anywhere, I decided to buy it through Borders online (something I rarely do). However, my taste may have changed and I'm sad to say that I think I may have to re-read the first novel. I remember it being this amazing fluff-mystery with hints of romance and intrigue but if it was this bad, I'm definitely going to have to reevaluate it.

Heather Wells isn't skinny. I mean, it's on the cover. We get it, Ms. Cabot. Did you really have to remind us on every other page? She loves food more than anything in the world. I swear, every single time Wells made a comment similar to "I'm the fat kid who loves cake", it made my own self-esteem break down little by little and my old body image insecurities would re-surface. I'm also one of those people who don't care much about body image therefore, feeling even the slightest bit insecure about the way I look is a really hard thing to accomplish. Cabot did it with this book and not in a way that would feel empowering. I don't know if that's what Cabot was trying to achieve but she did it. That's all there was, especially in the beginning—eating, think about food, think about food, dead person, eating, think about food, investigate, investigate, investigate, think about food, eating, eating, almost get murdered, eating, and more eating. It's extremely "shape-ist", as I like to call it. As far as I've read, none of Cabot's other protagonists was this obsessed with food. It almost feels like Cabot is saying, "Fat people are supposed to love food." Way to reinforce a stereotype.

There were awkward identifiers used over and over again, specifically "s/he wanted to know" throughout the entire book:
- "Is it because I'm not inviting Cooper?" Jordan wants to know. (p76)
- "Do I have a choice?" Cooper wants to know. (p107)
- "Can we go up already?" Gavin wants to know. (p233)
- "Who's your friend?" Steve wants to know. (p239)
Really... really ? A few times would have been okay but this attributive would spawn within 2-3 pages of each other. There were a lot more of these but I stopped keeping track a while ago. There is absolutely nothing wrong with saying "she asked" or "I asked." In fact, it sounds better and gives things a lot more fluidity as opposed to "she wanted to know." At one point, she used it several times in one chapter for different characters!

There's a paragraph on page 205 where Wells is describing the way the snow looks around the city. It's beautifully written but it's the most out of place part in the entire book because it doesn't sound like Cabot's style of writing. It's as if she asked Jodi Picoult to write a paragraph explaining the scenery for her to randomly plug into the book. The style suddenly shifted from casual narrative to poetic (and awkward) metaphors. It felt like Cabot just crammed the paragraph in there for unnecessary dramatic effect.

I also know that this is a fluff-read but Cabot's not really good at subtlety. Several times, she made references to feminism through Heather Wells and Sarah and, while I appreciate the sentiment, it also felt out of place as well as angering. Such as the part where Wells victim-blames and imagines Sarah calling her out on it in which she responds with how boys don't flirt with her. Things like this made it incredibly painful to read. Work on subtlety, please.

2 stars for a thought out plot and for being fast-paced fluff (which I like).

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Reading Progress

06/08/2011 page 201

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