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Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes by Chris Crutcher
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Feb 27, 2010

really liked it
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Read in February, 2010

Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes
By Chris Crutcher

Eric (Moby) Calhoune is starting to lose some of the extra weight he had carried all his life, thanks to competing on the school swim team, and he is afraid that that will change his friendship with Sarah Byrnes- who was severely burned as a young child, and has remained scarred and on the outside of school social life as a result. Eric uses his brain and his heart to cope with the issues facing him- friendship, growing up, hypocrisy child abuse, guilt over how you treat others, loyalty, and suicide.
Major Characters:
Eric (Moby) Calhoune: An eighteen-year-old high-school student, he swims on the school team and gets pretty good grades. At the same time, he is straining his brain to understand why some people do the things that they do.
Sarah Byrnes: A bright student, Sarah Byrnes feels she has had to become tough to deal with the people around her, and the way that they react to her many scars. She has forgotten though, that even the toughest of people need friends too.
Steve Ellerby: Eric’s best friend and swim-team mate. Steve is learning to form his own opinions about life’s issues, with the guidance of his father and his Episcopalian faith.
Reverend John Ellerby: Steve’s father, an Episcopalian minister who believes that you should make up your own mind, and not just blindly follow someone else.
Ms. Lemry: Eric and Steve’s swim coach and Contemporary American Thought teacher, she’s also their friend.
Virgil Byrnes: Sarah’s father. A hard hearted man who feels that his daughter is his property, and that anyone who stands in his way should be eliminated.
Mark Brittain: another swim-team member an C.A.T. student, Mark is a conservative Christian who thinks that anyone who disagrees with him is arguing with God, and therefore committing blasphemy. Mark especially dislikes Eric and Steve, and feels that thinking for oneself and making up your own mind about an issue are wrong.
Jody Mueller: Mark’s girlfriend, she sees the hypocrisy of following blindly when the person being followed is just as fallible as you are. She becomes Eric’s friend, and then his girlfriend when she begins to think for herself.
Mr. Mautz: the Vice-principal of the school. He doesn’t like Steve or Eric, because they think for themselves instead of just following his opinions and rules- and also because Mark doesn’t like them, and he thinks that Mark is an excellent young man. He happens to go to Mark’s church, and shares most of his beliefs.
Key Issues:
Loyalty, bravery, honesty, teen suicide, child abuse, mental health, social status, family.
Most Memorable quote:
“Boy, ain’t it a trip where heroes come from.” (page 280)


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