Maggie Goes on a Diet, alternatively entitled No One Likes Fat Kids, is about 14 year old Maggie losing weight so she can be pretty, popular, and a stMaggie Goes on a Diet, alternatively entitled No One Likes Fat Kids, is about 14 year old Maggie losing weight so she can be pretty, popular, and a star soccer player. I get what the author was trying to say with this book but the execution is bad. Bad bad bad bad bad. The writing and pictures in this book lead to all sorts of unfortunate implications and problems that send very bad messages to kids. Here's a list of my biggest issues with this book, in no particular order.
1. Maggie is a binge eater who's on the fast track to bulimia. Not even kidding about this or saying this just because she's a 14 year old going on a diet. She's an implied emotional eater who longs desperately to be skinny, and turns to food every time she gets upset. She lives in a community that only values thin people. She is desperate to be thin not because she wants to be healthy, but because she wants the kids to be nice to her and because she wants to be pretty. Based on that, I assume the only reason she started working out and eating healthy rather than make herself throw up after binges or take laxatives was because she didn't know people did that.
2. Maggie doesn't need to go on a "diet", she needs to eat better and get more active. Most people who go on a diet for weight loss either return to their starting weight, or become heavier than they were. Plus, kids who go on diets at a young age, like before the age of 16, are more likely to have severe weight problems when they get older. What Maggie should have done is talk to her family about getting healthy. Maggie and her parents should have made adjustments to their current lifestyle so to improve their health.
3. Maggie's weight loss should have been about getting healthy, not getting thin. A lot of this book focuses on Maggie wanting to get skinny so she'll have friends, and be able to wear pretty clothes. The thing that keeps her on track with her diet is day dreaming about all those pretty jeans she'll be able to wear once she isn't fat anymore. WTF author? Why didn't you focus more on Maggie wanting to get healthy so she could have more energy for sports or so she could feel healthier? That would have been awesome. I am all for books promoting the benefits of being healthy. The author should have put more emphasis on that rather than on the clothes and popularity.
4. Maggie's value is completely determined by her weight. Not kidding. No one likes her before she looses weight. She has no friends. She had no awards from school. The only thing she is known for is being the fat kid. Once she becomes thin and healthy she becomes a well dressed, award winning athlete that everyone loves. WTF author?
5. Maggie wants to be friends with the same kids who called her cruel names and insulted her. WTF author? What kind of message does that send? It's not the Bullies' fault they were mean to Maggie, it's Maggie fault for being fatty fat fatty? Really author? Really?
6. Maggie's weight loss is really unrealistic. In four months she loses more than half her body size. In the first week of eating healthy and doing some exercise she looses several pounds. Now I'm not sure how much exercising she's doing in that first week, but she's lost that much weight it's way too much.
7. This book is suggested for kids as young as six. No, just no. Kids at the age of six shouldn't even know what dieting is. Kids at the age of six normally don't have much say in what they eat or don't eat. That's what their parents do.
This book is self published, and it's clear to see why. No publishing house or agent would touch this book with a ten foot pole. No one should touch it with a ten foot pole. ...more