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Big Fat Disaster

3.59  ·  Rating details ·  354 ratings  ·  117 reviews
Insecure, shy, and way overweight, Colby hates the limelight as much as her pageant-pretty mom and sisters love it. It's her life: Dad's a superstar, running for office on a family values platform. Then suddenly, he ditches his marriage for a younger woman and gets caught stealing money from the campaign. Everyone hates Colby for finding out and blowing the whistle on him. ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published April 18th 2014 by Simon Pulse (first published March 18th 2014)
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Average rating 3.59  · 
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Nasty Lady MJ
Dec 31, 2013 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: No One
Absolutely horrible and trigger inducing. I understand that the author was saying these characters were wrong, but since 95% of the characters acted like this behavior was perfectly a-okay I am disgusted. If you are triggered by rape, suicide, body image, or dealing with an eating disorder please avoid.

To see full rant click on one of the below links:

My Blog

Sally Kruger
Dec 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book was like riding a roller-coaster of emotions. There were highs when I was so angry I could spit, lows when sadness and pity brought tears to my eyes, and times when the ride made me feel flat because I couldn't even imagine the tremendous evil that motivates some people. This book had me talking to the characters and sometimes wanting to throw my shoe at them. If you want to feel involved and invested in a book, pick up BIG FAT DISASTER by Beth Fehlbaum.

Colby's life has just exploded,
Mandi Kaye Ottaway
Jan 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
I have issues with food. I don't talk about them often - or ever, really. But they lurk under the surface, and even when I'm working really really hard to overcome them and build healthy habits they can derail me. Today was one of those days. And today was the day I read about Colby.

I didn't expect her story to end up the way it did, but it didn't surprise me. I did spend a bit of time thinking that there's no way anyone's mom would ever treat their daughter the way Colby's mom treated her... bu
Feb 18, 2014 rated it did not like it
At First Sight: Colby is the odd girl out in her family, she's overweight and, unlike her sisters, she takes after her father (a former football player) rather than her mother (a former Miss Texas). Yet, Colby is often pushed into the spotlight as part of her father's senatorial camping - which is running on a family values platform.

Until the day Colby finds out a big secret about her father -that he's having an affair with another woman - and the Feds come knocking around, inquiring about wher
Initial Thoughts: As someone who has battled the bulge for most of my life I found it so easy to relate to Colby the 15 year old voice of My Big Fat Disaster. It's so hard to be different from your friends, especially during high school and it certainly doesn't help to have an unsupportive family. Colby's voice showed how difficult it is to live with a serious eating disorder. Kudos for supportive friends like Tina, Anna, and Becca and especially Aunt Leah.

The Review:

Being a teenager is difficu
Kayla (The Thousand Lives)
It’s taken me a good week and a half to sort out my thoughts and actually sit down to write this review. Big Fat Disaster had a heaping pile of potential, a fantastic start, and a heartbreaking message, but the last 10% of the book threw that all away. This book left me sobbing – and not in the good way. I was so angry at the ending that I had to take a good ten minutes to let it all out. I’ll try to sum it up in a few bullet points, and I will have one spoiler, but it’s going to be whited out s ...more
Dec 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This review can be found at ...more
Dec 31, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: ebook
One Star.


Colby Denton is the less than perfect daughter of an up and coming politician, something her family never lets her forget. Her sisters are perfect, but her family is ashamed of her being in the limelight because of her size. Her world starts to come apart when she finds out that her father has been lying and stealing. Forced to move into the trailer on her cousin's property, she must face new obstacles like bullying, school politics, suicide, and self-worth and acceptance in a new to
I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Well where to start. Let's say this book was a mess. I came for the whole overweight/eating disorder story, but I got a whole lot more than that. Embezzlement, adultery, bullying, family problems, rape, violence, suicide and various other things.

I really had to drag myself through the book. I am sorry to say, but all the other stuff was just too much. I felt like I was watching one of those tv drama/soap opera things, that I on
Jan 16, 2014 rated it did not like it
I always feel bad hating a book and there are not many that I truly hate, but this book was such a hot mess that I can't recommend it in any way.
The author tried to tackle way too many issues in this book. Instead of focusing on her platform of eating disorder awareness and suicide prevention as she expresses at the end in the note to readers, she decides to toss in every possible thematic element she has ever heard of. In a mere 288 pages we read about adultery, embezzlement, body shaming paren
Feb 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I read this book in one day - I couldn't put it down. Though many of the characters were absolutely horrible (not the writing of them, but their personalities) it was hard to read at points because I was furious - but that actually helped me have even more compassion and a sense of what the narrator was going through. It was refreshing to see a book tackle such an important subject - and from the 'other' perspective of eating disorders - eating too much. It is a side you don't often hear about a ...more
Idalis Payne
Jan 15, 2020 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
Absolutely one of the most difficult and raw books I have ever read on eating disorders to come under the word "fiction".

Colby finds a picture that will send her family and life into a downward spiral - with a family that does not know the meaning of the word selfless, this book will pull at every emotion you have - which for me, means suffering along with Colby as everybody in the world berates, laugs and totally disrespects her because she suffers from binge eating.

Suffering from the same eati
Jan 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
When I picked up Big Fat Disaster by Beth Fehlbaum, I wasn’t sure what to expect at first. I had read a few stories of overweight teens before and wondered if this was going to be a story about a girl who felt she was a big fat disaster and then found instant inspiration, which helped her to lose her weight. Thankfully, this story wasn’t that. It was so much more than that!

Colby is a confused 15 year old girl who is thrust into a world of change — and not by her choice. She is surrounded by an i
Dulcie Johnston
Jan 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I loved it! I think the characters are written with a clear eye toward reality, and how teenagers actually treat each other, and what their reactions are. It is unflinching in dealing with abuse, both physical and mental, and self harming/suicide. I like that everybody didn't necessarily get their storybook happy ending. That's how life is. Some of us realize we don't have to live that way, and spend years healing. Others, refuse to see their own hurt, or what they caused, and will always contin ...more
Feb 24, 2014 marked it as did-not-finish
I received this from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review, and honestly? I could not get through it. There was not one single likeable character in the entire book, and I couldn't stomach both the attitudes of most of the characters and the fact that those attitudes were seen as acceptable. I made it about 63% of the way through it, but then The Accident happened and I just gave up. I skimmed for a bit after that but I had a feeling I wouldn't be able to get through the rest of it without ...more
Emily Crow
I thought the book started off really well, with Colby's politician father's campaign going off the rails and having to move into the trailer behind her aunt's house. Colby is a binge eater and her problem quickly spirals out of control. But then the book kind of got bogged down into an after school special approach. The mean kids were too mean, Colby's mother was too bitchy, and the therapeutic intervention at the end was too saccharine. I give the author points for good intentions, but the exe ...more
M.B. Mulhall
Jan 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
3.5 (wish goodreads would do half stars!)

I got an ARC copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I admit, I saw the cover and skimmed the summary before requesting this book from NetGalley. From the cover alone, the white color, the image, the cutesy font that says Heartbreak Comes in All Sizes, I was expecting a dark humor kind of romance. That was definitely not what I got. The book was much deeper and hit quite a few very serious topics. There was a bit of that dark humor but it was
Jan 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Wow. Where do I begin on this review? First of all, Ms. Fehlbaum was not shy about hitting a lot of very difficult topics. Because of those difficult topics, though, the main character was much deeper and more easily to understand than any main character I have read about in a while. Many times when an author delves into these deep topics such as physical abuse, mental abuse, suicide, and eating disorders, the characters are shallow and teenage angst ridden. Not Colby. In getting to know Colby, ...more
Dec 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
ARC for review.

I was really impressed by this - Fehlbaum captured the voice and the angst of a teenage girl pushed to the absolute limit. Colby Denton is the overweight (and thank you for making her ACTUALLY overweight. It's disturbing to read stories about "overweight" teenage girls who weigh 140 pounds) middle daughter in a family of a career politician (and later, criminal), his phony wife and two perfect sisters. An avalanche of misfortune falls on Colby (and her family-well, "misfortune" w
Thanks to NetGalley for the digital ARC.
Colby is the middle daughter in a seemingly perfect family. While her mother and two sisters are polished and beautiful, Colby binge eats when she is stressed, and is constantly berated by her mother for being overweight. The "perfect family" facade quickly deteriorates when Colby's father runs off with a younger woman amid allegations of campaign finance fraud. Mother and daughters go to live with a rather impoverished aunt, Cousin Ryan turns out to be a
Dec 31, 2013 marked it as not-my-cup-of-tea
I lost interest in this one because of reading about some of the issues about the book in reviews as well as scanning through the narrative on my own terms. I do trigger in cases with the presentation of such themes as rape, body shaming, and other factors, and I don't think this was the kind of narrative that treated it well or with sensitivity. I can't say that this read is for me, so - I'll leave it at that.
Mar 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya, favorites
You are going to need 3 things while reading this book.

1. A quiet private place where you can sob uncontrollably.

2. An IV drip to replenish the lost fluids while sobbing.

3. A time machine to go back and replace the 5 hours that you didn't sleep because you were up all night reading this book.
Kym Brunner
Mar 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Whoo! What a whirlwind this book was! Gritty and suspenseful, Beth Fehlbaum delivers knee-buckling blows for Colby, a teen with an eating disorder. As sad and unbelievable as it may seem, I can say that I've met/heard/witnessed adults who don't treat their children the way they would want to be treated themselves.

Be prepared for a gripping read that'll make your head spin and your heart hurt.
Apr 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya, realistic-fiction
I read this book in a few hours & mostly what I can saw is wow. This story touches on so many things (many pulled from the headlines): body image, binge-eating, suicide, bullying, rape culture, divorce, cheating & politics to name just a few. I felt like the end came a little quick but overall this was a great read & I appreciated the author's take on Colby's story. ...more
Jan 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
Read my full review at 1 House, 3 Cats. ...more
Jan 28, 2014 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Absolutely Nobody
Recommended to Thalia by: NetGalley
Read the review on my blog:
Nadera Moustafa
Nov 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
“Heartbreak comes in all sizes.” Just in those 5 words it explains the whole book. I loved the plot, because it gave a reality of what could happen to who. Colby, who is the main character in the book, isn’t some skinny and perfect girl unlike the rest of her family. That’s why the quote from the front cover fits the book so well. Colby’s family is all perfect and everything until they find out stuff isn’t at all what it seems. You would think that since her family is so perfect looking that you ...more
3.5 stars

What an emotional book. This is a book that can be so difficult to read because of the content. Those with a sensitive heart maybe not be able to get through this one, or at least not without crying. The emotional abuse from Colby's mother is not really addressed, but it is something that should be brought up in discussion as well, but I understand why it wasn't mentioned much because of all that was going on in Colby's life.

I found the characters to be quite one dimensional. Everyone h
Jul 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is another example of a misleading review - there's something about a review saying that "...the lively dialogue made (it) a quick and enjoyable read" that implies a lack of depth, but this book was tragic and I lost count of the times I cried. True, I could not put the book down and finished it in one sitting, and I did think it was a wonderful book, but it was heartwrenching.
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In addition to writing Young Adult Contemporary Fiction, Beth Fehlbaum is an experienced English teacher who frequently draws on her experience as an educator to write her books. She has a B.A. in English, Minor in Secondary Education, and an M.Ed. in Reading.

Beth is the author of the forthcoming Big Fat Disaster (Merit Press/F+W Media, March 2014); Courage in Patience (Kunati Books, 2008); and Ho

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