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Rae Earl #1

My Mad Fat Diary: A Memoir

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It's 1989 and Rae Earl is a fat, boy-mad 17-year-old girl, living in Stamford, Lincolnshire with her mum and their deaf white cat in a council house with a mint green bathroom and a refrigerator Rae can't keep away from. She’s also just been released from a psychiatric ward. My Mad Fat Diary is the hilarious, harrowing and touching real-life diary Rae kept during that fateful year and the basis of the hit British television series of the same name now coming to HULU. Surrounded by people like her constantly dieting mum, her beautiful frenemy Bethany, her mates from the private school up the road (called “Haddock”, “Battered Sausage” and “Fig”) and the handsome, unattainable boys Rae pines after (who sometimes end up with Bethany…), My Mad Fat Diary is the story of an overweight young woman just hoping to be loved at a time when slim pop singers ruled the charts. Rae's chronicle of her world will strike a chord with anyone who's ever been a confused, lonely teenager clashing with her parents, sometimes overeating, hating her body, always taking herself VERY seriously, never knowing how positively brilliant she is and keeping a diary to record it all. My Mad Fat Diary – 365 days with one of the wisest and funniest girls in England.

368 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 2007

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About the author

Rae Earl

9 books242 followers
I come from Stamford in Lincolnshire. It’s where a lot of TV and films are shot because it hasn’t changed much in 500 years. My childhood was like most people’s – a mixture of lovely and very odd. Lovely because I spent a lot of time with good friends, music and tadpoles. Odd because I spent a lot of time worrying about everything – like war, murderers and poisonous mushrooms (don’t ask). I was a bit weird. Like we all are.

After school I went to Hull University to study English Literature – which I LOVED. At that point the government actually still gave you money to study – so I GOT PAID to READ BOOKS for 3 years. I then worked in radio for 15 years. Firstly as the person who makes the adverts (all those annoying jingles that stay in your head for DAYS – that’s me!) Secondly as a breakfast presenter. I got to interview lots of famous boy bands and once nearly broke Cheryl Cole’s chair on stage. We don’t talk about that. I got in trouble. I’ve always written things but most of them were actually slightly rubbish. Or they were about people and I never wanted them to see it. I don’t think I was any good at writing till I was 35 and that was after a lot of practice.
I have a shed in my back garden I go to. It’s full of brilliant things – like a mini stable and horses, loads of stationery and a giant old railway station clock (slight ‘Dr.Who’ vibe). My first book ‘My Mad, Fat Diary’ was published a few years ago. Hattie is my third. My second is potentially the best book ever written since Shakespeare – but I can’t make it work so at the moment it’s just a bit rubbish. I haven’t given up hope though.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 465 reviews
Profile Image for Coco.
994 reviews408 followers
July 28, 2014
Siempre dicen que los libros son mejores que las películas (en este caso la serie TV). Pero aquí no es el caso, el libro se torna aburrido y repetitivo en muchos momentos.
Rae está loca, lo sabemos, pero aquí tiene una especie de obsesión extrema con buscar un novio.
Sea como sea, siempre me quedará ver la serie y alegrarme las vistas:



Profile Image for Eszter.
125 reviews30 followers
February 20, 2013
This book was bit of a let down, really. I just finished the BBC series based on this book and it is brilliant and makes me cry and makes me laugh and I'm in love with all the characters and their realtionships, but the book was just...not enough. I am aware that these are Rae Earl's original diary entries only edited a bit, so I didn't a expect a story with an exceptional plot and no loose ends, but still, the abrupt ending was I bit weird.

Earl's style is enjoyable and I found myself amused often by both her humor and the ridiculous situations she has gotten herself into. Reading her memories I felt a bit like a was a teenager again, with all the problems and agonies I had, with the diaries I wrote (which are, unfortunately, not as funny as Rae's). I certainly wasn't bored reading this book, I just expected more from it. But that's it, isn't it? My expectations got the better of me again.

I am seriously baffled because never in my life have I liked a tv show/movie better than the book version. But that's most probably only because I'm a book snob or something.

I don't really know what to say about this book. It was interesting enough, but I don't think Ill reread it any time soon. 3 stars.
February 23, 2013
You need to go into this book separating it from the TV show. The show is sheer brilliance and the people reading this book because of it clearly agree or you wouldn't be making the effort. The book is the diary of a teenage girl - a 17 yo girl at that. We're all the centres of our own universe at that age.

In saying that, it was a particularly interesting read. Especially from the POV of someone so constantly bullied & harassed that she expected it, and made comments like "only one person had a go tonight". It's truly heartbreaking.

For anyone who doesn't like Chloe in the show, you will loathe Bethany. Haddock is gold though, and the turning point of their friendship is very Darcy-esque. There were actually a few Pride & Prejudice parallels in here that I'm sure Rae had no idea of at the time. Her relationship with her mother also hit a lot closer to home than the one in the TV show did.

Overall, it was a good quick read that has me excited for book 2. You just have to be prepared for a whole lot of teenage angst accompanied by The Smiths, Neneh Cherry & a little Madonna.
Profile Image for Lynx.
198 reviews79 followers
April 4, 2016
Rae Earl’s diary shows how universal teenage issues (and beyond) really are. You don’t need to grow up overweight to relate to her struggles. Everyone experiences self esteem issues, family problems, and the desire to be accepted. As it is with most personal diaries, Rae never holds back and pours out pure raw emotion and truth in every entry. This could easily be a very depressing book but it isn’t. Earl manages even in the darkest moments to maintain her hope and humour, allowing you to share a laugh with her while at the same time feeling the sting of the situations she’s got herself into.

Those who have seen the series beware. This book is reality where the show is fantasy. They share the same heart and humour but thats about it. Highly recommend this for young teens, it’s always wonderful to know your struggle is shared by many others.

*Thank you St. Martins Press and Netgalley for this review copy.
Profile Image for Mel.
878 reviews340 followers
June 21, 2016
Quick review as this book took so much energy from me.

To start: I'm a fat girl. So is the girl writing this diary. I related so well to everything she is going through. Like her problems are ALREADY relatable but being the same size as her makes it so I relate extremely well. Almost too well. Which brings me to my first problem.
She spends the ENTIRE 346 pages hating everything about herself and all I felt the entire time reading it is that I should also hate myself. I should hate the way I look and everything. And as much as I wish I was different, I've grown to appreciate who I am and what I look like. So this book made my self esteem take a great hit but I still related to it because I've had all the same thoughts she writes about.
Everything except Bethany. I can't imagine letting someone treat me like that. I can be as rude to myself as I want but I would never accept someone else treating me like that.

And this is my third problem actually. It's a diary. I cannot hate her or blame her for how I feel from the book because this is her thoughts. This is what she lived and this is an actual fat girl talking about being fat and I appreciate that. But this book made me realize I don't like diary format at all. It was just not my style. I appreciate this for what it is obviously but wow it was long.

Last quick thing. The show is better. Don't really bother with the book, they aren't anything alike. There are like 4 key moments in the show that occur in this but otherwise the characters and stuff are all different.
Ill be honest, I prefer her book friends (except Finn). They're all pretty much the same but I felt like this one was a more natural progression of friendship and they just had a bigger focus in the book.
I also wish what happened with Bethany in the book happened with Chloe in the show.
Profile Image for Anna.
79 reviews19 followers
May 2, 2013
From my blog, The Writer Diaries.

Channel 4 has recently made a series based on this book – or shall I say, diary. It’s funny and brilliant and while the acting is not the best as Sherlock or Doctor Who, it’s real and raw. I watched the show and fell in love with it, and knew I had to read the diary it’s based off of.

First, I just have to say – take this at face value. There’s no huge plot line, and it’s not written as a story like Perks of being a Wallflower. It’s real. It’s an actual diary, so don’t expect brilliant storytelling.

Rae Earl chronicles her teenage years in a secret diary that she started writing soon after she was released from hospitalization. Her “friend”, Bethany, introduces her to a group where she belongs. Notice there’s quotes around friend, because Bethany is a total slag beeeeotch. Rae has her ups and downs, and sounds like any other horny, lovesick teenager.

Rae, like any other teens, is pressured by her peers and deals with depressing, OCD, eating disorders, etc. As I was reading her diary entries, I was stunned by how even as a teenager, her writing was really stellar. Not to say that most teens can’t write, but she definitely has a gift.

Rae is often teased and ridiculed by her peers, strangers, and even her own mother. Her friends even take jabs at her. I honestly felt bad for her, reading these experiences. She powered through, strong as an ox, though, where many of us would’ve probably have given up.

Is it brimming with plot twists and and astounding character development? No. It’s a diary. It’s not a novel. I recommend you all read this, but realize what it is – a diary. I mean, really, if you kept one in your adolescent years, you’ll probably laugh at how you sounded.

I give this 4/5 stars, because I was not happy with the end! Not at all! But, like I said, it’s a diary. Things end, and there’s new beginnings.

I just really hoped Rae ended up with a guy that could see her for how beautiful she is.
Profile Image for Esil.
1,118 reviews1,323 followers
April 20, 2016
3 ½ stars. When I first started reading My Mad Fat Diary I thought I should stop. This is not a book for me. I’m not the intended audience. I really should just pass this on to my 14 year old daughter. But for some reason I just kept reading it to the end – laughing a bit, cringing a lot, and feeling somewhat sad and frustrated. My Mad Fat Diary is the obviously quite edited 1989 diary of Rae Earl. Earl was 17 years old in 1989. She was overweight, had just spent some time in a psychiatric hospital after having a “nervous breakdown”, lived in a council flat with her single mother, and went to a private school on a full scholarship. Her diary tracks the achingly honest thoughts of a love starved 17 year old, trying to figure out her place amongst her peers and in Thatcher’s England. Earl is overtly mocked about her weight, and makes up for it by always playing the clown, with quick repartee, and occasional cruel words for others. She is generally well liked in her role as wit and confidante, and has quite a few "mates" – including boys – but lives with a tacit understanding that none of them want her as a girlfriend. So late at night, she repeatedly writes in her diary about going to the pub or a party, and being the one left without someone to “snog” with, sitting on a bar stool cracking bad jokes. Earl is whip smart and witty, which makes her diary entertaining. But she delves into such recognizable and painful teenage dynamics, making this book far more than just a good laugh. I gather that Earl’s diaries have been adapted to become a tv show in the UK, and that Earl herself has grown up to have a pretty decent life:


But it’s good of her to share her diary from 1989, because I’m sure it makes more than a few teenagers feel less alone as they navigate the complex dynamics of teenage years. Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC.
Profile Image for GRIS.
427 reviews71 followers
February 3, 2016
Sabes ese momento en el cual lees no un libro cualquiera, sino EL libro. TU libro. Así me he sentido leyendo My Mad, Fat Diary. Simplemente no tengo palabras para describir todo lo identificada que me he sentido.

“No one is what you expect behind closed doors. And some brilliant people are eaten up by some terrible things.”
Profile Image for María.
177 reviews29 followers
September 12, 2016
Me he llevado medio mes para leer este libro, pero he conseguido terminarlo por fin.
La verdad es que no me esperaba para nada que la historia cambiara tanto del libro a la serie. Ni siquiera aparecen los mismos personajes (realmente personas, ya que es el diario de la escritora) y algunos que se asemejan a los de la serie, tienen un nombre distinto.
Para empezar, yo era consciente de que iba a leer un diario de una adolescente de 17 años, pero ha llegado un punto en el que me ha cansado bastante. SPOILERS: Esta chica tiene una obsesión grave con el peso lo cual lo entiendo perfectamente porque toda su vida ha tenido que aguantar insultos de todo el mundo, sólo por estar gorda, cuando a la gente le debería importar un carajo el peso de cada persona. Esto me puso de los nervios, aunque sé que así es la vida real, ya que lo he vivido y lo he visto. Por otro lado, esta chica también tiene una gran obsesión por encontrar novio. Sé que todo el mundo en su adolescencia se obsesiona un poco con esto, pero esta chica ya se pasaba xD. Es una pena, porque los adolescentes no aprenden a que NO TODO ES TENER PAREJA. Hay cosas mejores.
Hablando de otro tema. Haddock (Finn en la serie), me ha decepcionado un montón. Yo pensaba que pasaría más o menos lo mismo que en la serie, pero aquí son sólo amigos y al final le dice a ella QUE SI ADELGAZARA TODO SERÍA DIFERENTE. Eso no me ha gustado nada... Y DESPUÉS DE LO QUE VI EN LA SERIE, esto me destrozó el corazón. Yo pensé que sería verdad que Rae conseguía salir con él. FIN DE LOS SPOILERS.
Hay cosas que se han quedado en el aire y no sé si lo que sale en la serie es información verdadera que sucede después de que Rae terminara el año 1989 o se lo inventan totalmente. ¡La autora debería haber dicho algo!
Y bueno, no tengo más que decir. Le doy un 2.5 porque no me ha gustado mucho, pero creo que todo el mundo debería leerlo para darse cuenta lo mal que lo pasan las personas que tienen algún "defecto" físico.
2 reviews
April 19, 2013
I started reading this with high expectations. I haven't watched the tv series, but I normally love diary style books because they're usually full of humour and they're light reads for me. There will be spoilers in this review.

A light read it certainly was, but I felt that the book was plotless and repetitive. I do realise that it's Rae's actual diary, and I admire her for having the courage to put it out there!

It started off well, but then it just went slowly downhill. The same things seemed to happen over and over again and I found myself wondering when something was actually going to happen. All Rae seemed to complain about was her weight, not being able to get a boyfriend and her mum. It really irritated me that she kept complaining about not being able to get a boyfriend due to her weight, but then not doing anything about it.

In some parts of the book I did really seem to connect with Rae, like when Harry asked her out because he felt sorry for her and when Bethany was being a downright cow. I really felt sorry for Rae then, because it must have been tough, and I could actually imagine myself in her position. It's these parts of the book that made it difficult to put down.

I really liked the diary layout of the book, but I found the writing basic and non descriptive sometimes.

Overall, I didn't really enjoy the book very much. It's ok if you want a light read, but I otherwise would not recommend it to anyone.
Profile Image for Holly.
29 reviews14 followers
May 19, 2018
3/5 stars! i think watching the tv show first made me feel like this book was very anti-climatic.
it wasnt bad, just not what i was expecting! The writing was good and funny for a 16 year olds diary!
Honestly i think i will just rewatch the show instead of reading the sequel! Thank you Rae Earl for this funny diary!
Profile Image for Amy Layton.
1,641 reviews48 followers
July 26, 2020
I never watched the series, so when I saw that it was originally a memoir...y'all know I jumped on it. Rae Earl is utterly hilarious, among poignant, unabashed, and a truly wonderful writer. As she catalogs one of her high school years, she shares with us all the taunts, gossip, and mayhem that surrounds her in both her private life and public life. She attends secret raves, cheers failed diets, and gets utterly pissed at the pubs.

And what a high school year it is! Though our experiences of it are vastly different--her writing this in 1989, and me finishing it in 2012, her being fat, and me just rather average, her living in the UK, and me in the US...it's relatable. It's honest. It's telling. The passages where she bemoans her crushes after listening to music, the poetry she writes...I wonder if modern day Rae Earl is hugely embarrassed by this or if she's learned to say, "fuck it all!" 

Either way, she certainly got her last laugh at her high school tormentors with this book and hit tv series...

Overall, this was just laugh-out-loud riotous, and filled with the exact amount of longing and angst that any teenage girl experiences.

Review cross-listed here!
Profile Image for Nicola.
174 reviews28 followers
March 14, 2013
I decided to read this book because I had watched and enjoyed the recent Channel 4 series. I quickly realised though that the book is quite different from the series and initially felt a little bit disappointed. The appeal of the series for me was mainly that it was set in the late 90's when I too was a teenager. It brought back so many memories. The book however is set in 1989, when I was only 4. As I read on though and dropped my expectations I started to really enjoy it. It's completely 100% cringeworthy at points but it's so realistic and close to some of the nonsence I myself put on paper as a teenager. The ability to be completely in love with a different boy every week - often on repeat/shuffle was something that brought back a lot of memories for me and made me grin a lot. The diary is real, and written deadly seriously but is absolutely hilerious! The self-centered attitude and the complete irony of some of the statements she comes out with is laugh out loud funny. Ugh - aren't be just awful creatures as teenagers! lol
Profile Image for Mellisa.
519 reviews115 followers
September 5, 2020
This is my second time reading this book and I love it more each time. It's so real and there's a part in the book for every person to relate to.

It kinda makes me sad for Rae and how things must have been back then, for people to laugh at her weight and use it as a joke like it means nothing. Even though she laughed along they still shouldn't have used her as a joke as much as they did.

The ending made me feel so frustrated for her and so sad - she genuinely thought that was good of him to say if she was a bit thinner he'd be with her basically. That is awful and still happens! It's not right to go around saying the individual would be so much better and have more chance if they changed how they were - and then act like it's a compliment!
Profile Image for Ayşenur Nazlı.
Author 31 books69 followers
May 13, 2022
Relatable olduğu için 3 yıldız. Onun dışında bence gereksizdi. Sadece bir yerlere giderken kolay okunuyor diye yolda okudum
Profile Image for Peach.
101 reviews104 followers
April 27, 2016
"(...) His girlfriend is lovely.

Yes, Teen Rae. Why are you fat? But you know, that question is irrelevant. That's like asking someone why the sky is blue. Answerless.

The year is 1989. Rachel "Rae" Earl has recently gotten out of the psychiatric ward. She was there, due to an undisclosed nervous breakdown and was forced to lie to get herself out. Rae overeats to find solace, goes to the pub with her best friend, Bethany, and is relatively boy-crazy.

Fans of Scarlett Epstein Hates It Here and Dumplin' will adore this. As I was not a fan of either, I did not. Rae isn't funny, she's cruel. The preface is a grand ode to fatshaming. I'm gonna assume current Rae is thin. Or, at least, thinner than she was in '89. The preface stats: "Oh, fat girls were a rare sight in England, especially in the '80s, and I was one of them." Um, okay. And??? Do you expect a pat on the back?

Also: general shaming. She hears a classmate purging in the bathroom stall and makes a horrible comment. Her only friend, Bethany, is constantly demeaned by her. I didn't sympathize with Rae. I sympathized with her mother for having to deal with her. Rae also releases a cage of her mother's "budgies" (parakeets) because she hates the idea of caged birds.

"Bethany is going out with Battered Sausage. She told me tonight. I was due to be staying at hers and it was too late to go home. She has been a total, total cow. She is now covered in yoghurt because she says it helps with her spots. You'll need to raid the European dairy mountain with your zits, bitch."

She only lists the terrible moments of her life. (i.e. "I ate a cake in front of a mirror and Mum called me vain.", "A group of boys catcalled and called me names from across the street.", "A little girl pointed to me and asked her Mum why I was fat.") And she's constantly berating herself. In all-caps, too. At the time of writing this, Rae is eighteen but her diary feels written by a twelve-year old. There's an excessive usage of exclamation points and capslock. Literally, my brain can't take it.

Rae's dialogue is intolerable. Unfunny. This book did nothing to me, which is sad. I sympathized with her briefly, but all she ever did was go to the pub, trash-talk everyone else, and complain about life itself. This book is moving to HULU. Yay for Rae, I guess.
Profile Image for Vicky.
17 reviews
March 13, 2013
Unlike many others, I haven't actually watched My Mad Fat Diary. It was something that I was really interested in watching as it has themes of Mental Illness which I'm interested in and is very stigmatised in society. So I thought I'd give the book a go before I catch up on the series.

First of all, I would say that I enjoyed the writing of the book (composed in journal entries). It was a very relevant and realistic teenage voice, that was relate able and sometimes hilarious. Unfortunately, this was the only thing that I really enjoyed about the book, and I kept reading only really because I found the writing easy and fun to read.

I understand that this is a real life diary, so I wasn't expecting a miraculous and complex plot. But that aside, the plot was next to nothing but the main character, Rae, pining over boys and constantly putting down her overweight body. There was little character development and no real closure or ending to the book.

One thing that I was very disappointed in was the lack of talk on her mental health. The title, the blurb and the TV series all suggest strong themes of Mental Illness, which was one of the main reasons I picked up the book. But I felt like I spent most of the book waiting for it to be brought up. Rae only vaguely mentioned it a few times and barely gave any information as to her reasons for having been in a Psychiatric Hospital.

Overall, I did enjoy the writing, it was funny and fast-paced. But the plot, lack of background information and development really let it down and it isn't something that I'd remember for a long time. I'll still give the TV series a go though.
Profile Image for Ani.
42 reviews1 follower
November 23, 2021
⭐️⭐️⭐️ (3/5 stars)
Oof. That was painful. While this shows the very brutal reality of being a fat teenager in the 80s/90s, the fatphobia is intense. The fatphobia is largely unchecked, by the main character and everyone in her life.

It reads very much like a diary, but in that, there's basically no storytelling. It really is just a window into the lived reality of being fat, which some may be looking for, but as someone who lived through it personally and have long since been liberated from those chains of internalised fatphobia, I didn't want to go back. I stuck through it to the end because the TV show based on the book is so lovely!

The lebsophobia was also ridiculously intense. Again, certainly reflective of the times, but not something I care to relive.

Overall, I'm eternally grateful that fat folks have many more positive stories to choose from nowadays.
Profile Image for Dalimar.
514 reviews24 followers
November 10, 2014
Ya me habían dicho que el libro no era muy bueno y en este caso la serie de tv era mucho mejor,aún así decidí leerlo antes de verla serie,porque me gusta leer el libro primero antes de cualquier adaptación y también me gusta formar mi propia opinión,pero tenía total razón. He leído libros en forma de diarios,pero este fue aburrido,repetitivo y fastidioso. La protagonista me cayó bien y nunca pude ponerme en su lugar. No pude entenderla y aunque desde el comienzo sabemos que está loca,no es fácil,o muy cómodo leerla.

Para mi fue malísimo,muy decepcionante y una completa pérdida de tiempo.
Profile Image for Cafe entre Páginas.
93 reviews7 followers
July 2, 2020
Comencé el libro sin saber muy bien que iba a encontrar, conocía la serie por las escenas que siempre surgen en twitter o instagram pero nada más; no conocía muy bien la trama ni leí otras opiniones.

El libro es el verdadero diario de la autora, Rae Earl, durante su adolescencia en 1989, una adolescencia con muchos subes y bajas, problemas de autoestima y aceptación, donde tuvo que soportar críticas de la sociedad hacia su cuerpo. La historia logra transmitir todos estos sentimientos, la frustración de no ser aceptada por la sociedad, el odio hacia uno mismo, el deseo de ser distinta.

Al comienzo se me hizo una lectura bastante pesada, no podía conectar con la historia ni con Rae, a pesar de que empatizaba totalmente con ella. Además las entradas son, en su mayoría, cortas, y yo soy más predilecta a los capítulos largos. Pero, en la mitad del libro, me empezó a interesar más la trama con la aparición de un nuevo interés romántico.

Sin embargo, el final me defraudó totalmente, esperaba que, a lo largo de la historia, haya un mensaje de amor propio, pero el final fue todo lo contrario. Concientiza en lo referente a “no estás sola”, otras personas también sufren por su cuerpo y por no encajar en los estereotipos de la sociedad. Pero nada sobre aceptación, tanto de parte de los demás como de Rae para ella misma. Rae en ningún momento empieza a quererse, ni los demás se dan cuenta que ella no es solo un cuerpo, y se sigue con la idea de que tiene que adelgazar para ser querida. Entiendo que es su diario y sus vivencias, pero creo que si estuviera acompañado con una aclaración final se puede evitar dar este mensaje equivocado.
Profile Image for Arelly  Moreno .
134 reviews14 followers
Shelved as 'abandoned-books'
May 14, 2017
Culpo a la serie por las expectativas tan altas que tenía para con este libro.
No culpo a nadie por haberlo abandonado.
Dudo mucho que alguna vez retome su lectura.
Eso sí: Continuaré con la serie.
Profile Image for Taha.
497 reviews40 followers
March 25, 2019
Ana karakter homofobik, en yakın arkadaşları da "body shaming"in dibine vuran insanlar olunca kitabı bitirmek eziyet oldu bana. Oturun, mis gibi dizisini izleyin. Kitapla pek alakası yok ne de olsa.
Profile Image for Christine.
940 reviews33 followers
April 21, 2016
Most people would be mortified if someone read their diary – especially their teenage years diary.

Rae Earl has published hers.

Granted, at one point in her life she wanted to burn it on the barbecue and they are now 25+ years old, but some of the issues are still relevant today. Give this book to teenagers and hope it becomes a jumping point for some important conversation.

When Ms. Earl began writing in her diary she was 17 years old, attending a private secondary school on a “scholarship scheme” tuition grant and recently released from a psychiatric ward. Even she admits that some of the aspects of her life would make people call “bullsh**” but with the exception of some editing (to protect the innocent) this is her diary.

Rae had three pretty basic goals as a teenager; complete her A-levels, lose weight and find someone who would love her (translate that into “lose her virginity”), not necessarily in that order. The two strongest desires were to lose weight and stop being a “cow” and to acquire a boyfriend. Even Rae admitted that neither of these was likely to happen. In Rae’s own words “Frankly, to use late 1980’s terminology, I was gagging for it. Like most teenagers, I was desperate to lose my virginity. However, I already had a lover that made me look pregnant but actually ensured that I would never, ever become a teenage pregnancy statistic; Food.”

In many ways this was a difficult book to read. Obvious from her “forward” in the book, Ms. Earl has a sense of humor now and after reading “My Mad Fat Diary” it’s also clear she had one then … some of the things she writes are very funny. However, overall I found the diary very sad, what might be typical teenage issues made worse by budding OCD and obvious issues with food that were often difficult to read about. As each page turned I also had a growing concern about the monumental consumption of alcohol that seemed very commonplace amongst her group of friends. Even her “Mum” did not have issues with her heading out to the pub every night. (I did!) I also wish teenaged Rae had been able to step outside herself long enough to give “Ryan, the RAF groper” a second look. I hate to make the comparison, but My Mad Fat Diary could be described as a non-fiction “Duff”.

As I am formulating this review I find it difficult to type the words “I enjoyed this book” because it seems wrong. I am glad I read it and I understand that the next year of her journal has also been published as “My Madder Fatter Diary”. I came to care enough about Rae and her friends to want to pick it up.

This book was originally published in 2007 and I was unaware that in 2013 became a hit television series starring Sharon Rooney. As I reached the halfway point in the book I kept thinking that it should be made into a movie.

I received a copy of this book at no charge from the publisher, St. Martin’s Griffin, via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Aitziber.
71 reviews25 followers
January 31, 2015
I read Orange Is the New Black in 2013, and because of that book, I figured that My Fat, Mad Teenage Diary would bear only a vague resemblance to the TV show. After all, the diary is based on the experiences of Rae Earl, who has at least one brother, in the late 80s. The TV show, on the other hand, is about single child Rae Earl in 1996.

To my surprise, a lot of situations, anecdotes, characters and even dialogue were, if not exactly the same, then obviously based on Earl's real experiences.

Teenage Rae is hardly a seasoned writer, nor particularly sensitive to the plight of others. Indeed, she often comments on the beauty of other women, only to follow it up with, "I'm not a lesbian!!!" While it would've been easy for adult Rae Earl to edit those out, and it's definitely not a pretty sight, it rings true to life. It's not rare for straight teenage girls who perceive themselves as wholly unappealing to ment, to turn it on their head and begin wondering if maybe there's something about them that advertises that they're not into dudes.

Combine that with the societal male gaze, that shows women in such a plain sexual way that other women learn to perceive them (and themselves) as sexual things, but leads guys to think it's gay to look at other men in a casually sexual way, and you soon have teenage girls like Rae Earl. But it's hard to understand all that when you're 16, it's the late 80s, you live in a small town social justice is not part of anyone's vocabulary, not around you. I wish adult Rae had footnoted those bits. On the other hand, it may feel intrusive, preachy or like an after school special. All in all, this makes the book not something you'll necessarily want to give your teenaged lesbian daughter, however mad or fat they are otherwise.

But I did give it four stars because I think she's a positive role model otherwise. As hard as her experiences were on her, as much as she suffers and hurts herself, physically and emotionally, she will often ask why people don't let her be happy and love her just the way she is. It makes the case that you can be "a blob with a gob," and have good friends, and have guys like you, guys who are not total creeps. Sure, those guys are ultimately too insecure themselves to date her, but it's progress!
Profile Image for Donna.
1,166 reviews
May 8, 2016
When St Martin’s pitched me MY MAD FAT DIARY I was sort of on the line about it. It’s not something that’s in my normal wheelhouse but if it’s pithy and funny and quirky, I can usually appreciate it. So I accepted and now . . . I’m not too sure how to review it. I definitely didn’t like it like I thought I would and now I’m kind of stuck. It’s a real diary written by a seventeen-year-old. What am I going to comment on? The writing? The realism? The authenticity? I don’t even know.

It reads like a diary written by a seventeen-year-old. I do think Rae was more astute and quick-witted than your average teenager but I didn’t read anything earth-shattering. I wasn’t rolling on the ground laughing. I may have chuckled a time or two and smiled a little but that’s about it. She absolutely had her irrational teenage moments and she also had some pretty insightful moments as well. Her mother is less a mother and more a domineering roommate but she does have her solid mom moments.

I thought the most intriguing part of this book was Rae interactions with Bethany. I’ve been in Rae’s shoes and been around people kind of like Bethany so I could definitely relate to that level of insecurity in a person and having them really project it onto you. But I found myself liking these interactions the most. They ended up being telling of both people involved, I think.

I didn’t like the end. At all. Throughout the diary Rae waffled between wanting to lose weight so boys would like her and wanting to find a boy who liked her for who she was. I personally thought she trended more toward the latter more often than not. So when the ending came and the boy she was mega-crushing on basically says if you weren’t fat we’d totally be together, and she gets all swoony, I’m like WTF? This type of thing irritated her to no end throughout the book but have the same words come out of the mouth of the boy she’s mooning over and somehow he has a point? I really didn’t like that.

So . . . I didn’t connect with it like I wanted to. For the most part it was an engaging-enough read but ultimately not for me.


I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Jen Ryland.
1,430 reviews899 followers
June 9, 2016
I'm not a huge fan of the diary format, but I've had good luck with British diaries-as-books. Remember The Adrian Mole Diaries? I read those years ago. And of course, there's always Bridget Jones's Diary.

My Mad Fat Diary was entertaining and touching. It's the story of Rae Earl, a teenage girl who's just been released from a stint in a psychiatric hospital and is trying to sort out her life. She's desperate to lose weight, and desperate to have a boyfriend, and isn't having a ton of luck with either.

While I liked this well enough, I wasn't completely gripped by it. It got a little repetitive for me. Rae hangs out at the pub with the usual suspects (her friend Bethany and some cryptically named guys called Haddock and Battered Sausage). She lusts after guys who do not reciprocate. She starts yet another diet. She bemoans the fact that "being thin and pretty is the best thing a woman can be."

According to my Goodreads feed, many people seem to say that they've enjoyed the TV show based on this book much more. While I can't deal with setting up yet another trial account on Hulu, I might check the show out over the summer. And if you've watched it, let me know what you think in comments!

Read more of my reviews on YA Romantics or follow me on Bloglovin

Thanks to the publisher for providing a free advance copy of this book for me to review.

Profile Image for Pook.
49 reviews12 followers
December 14, 2013
อ่านแล้วหลงรักนางเอกเร ทั้งตลกทั้งเศร้า ถึงนางอ้วนแต่ก็มีอารมณ์ขันนะ นิสัยน่ารัก แคร์คนอื่น บางช่วงที่นางจิตตกก็เศร๊าเศร้า หดหู่กว่าในซีรีย์อีก เข้าใจอารมณ์เหงาๆของนาง ถูกล้ออะไรก็หัวเราะกลบเกลื่อน ทำให้เป็นเรื่องตลกไปเหมือนไม่คิดอะไร แต่พออยู่คนเดียวจริงๆแล้วเก็บไปคิดหมดแหละ เศร้ามากๆ แอบรักชอบใครเค้าก็ไม่มองหรอก ผิดหวังตลอดได้แต่เพ้อฝันไปเรื่อย คิดมากกับรู้สึกเหงาๆเหมือนวัยรุ่นทั่วไปแหละ อ่านแล้วคิดถึงตอนเป็นวัยรุ่นนะ เชื่อมโยงกับสิ่งที่เรเจอได้หมดเลย อินมากๆอ่านไปร้องไห้ไปกับนางหลายรอบอยู่
ซีรีย์ไม่เหมือนในหนังสือซะทีเดียว ในซีรีย์เป็นยุค90 แต่ในหนังสือเป็นยุค80 มากกว่า (เป็นปี 89) ไม่มีฟินน์ไม่มีอาร์ชี่แต่มีคาแรคเตอร์ที่คล้ายๆกัน อิงจากคาแรคเตอร์และเหตุการณ์ในหนังสือแหละ แล้วเรในซีรีย์ที่ช่างมโนช่างหื่น เหมือนกันกับในหนังสือเลย ขำตอนมโนเพ้อถึงหนุ่มๆ มันเป็นฮอร์โมนวัยรุ่น ฮา ตอนจบนี่��บบกรี๊ดด ลุ้นกับนางมาก กำลังสนุกอยากรู้เรื่องราวต่อๆไป ดูเหมือนจะมีหวัง เอ๊ะหรือไม่มี โอ๊ยกำกวม
ที่ชอบอีกอย่างหนึ่งคือนางเขียนถึงเพลงที่นางฟังในช่วงนั้นเยอะมากๆ เวลาอารมณ์ไหนฟังเพลงไหนมีหมด รายชิ่อเพลงเยอะจนแทบจะเป็น music yearbook กลายๆเลย
Profile Image for camie ✿.
335 reviews22 followers
May 27, 2015
La verdad me fue muy extraño leer el diario de alguien, sinceramente me aburría y además como es un diario no teníamos tanta información más que el punto de vista de la protagonista, horas o quizás días después de que hubieran pasado en realidad los hechos.
No es un mal libro pero no fue mi estilo.
Pude reconocer algunos personajes en el show de TV pero otros creo que fueron inventados para la línea de la historia.
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