Thursday, March 8, 2012

Weekend Reading: Diary of a Mad Fat Girl

Regular readers will have noticed that I've been reviewing a lot of books lately that have nothing to do with personal finance.  That's because I've been participating in the BlogHer book club, where you read a book, write a blog about it, and contribute to online discussions.  It's been fun so far, and I like the books I've read--except for this one.

Upon reading the description, Diary of a Mad Fat Girl sounded like light and frothy chick lit, which is something I enjoy tremendously.  In reality, it was a sloppy mess from start to finish, and I had to bribe myself into reading the whole thing.

Book description from Amazon: Graciela "Ace" Jones is mad-mad at her best friend Lilly who cancels their annual trip to Panama City for mysterious reasons; at her boss Catherine for "riding her ass like a fat lady on a Rascal scooter;" at her friend Chloe's abusive husband; and especially at Mason McKenzie, the love of her life, who has shown up with a marriage proposal one year too late. Ace is never mad, though, at her near-constant companion, an adorable chiweenie dog named Buster Loo.
Ace's anger begins to dissipate as she takes matters into her own hands to take down Chloe's philandering husband-and to get to the bottom of a multitude of other scandals plaguing Bugtussle, Mississippi. Then, she starts to realize that maybe Mason deserves a second chance after all.

Sounds somewhat interesting, no?  Certainly that description didn't sound like a book that would wind up in my personal top ten, but I figured it would be entertaining enough to carry me through to the end.  Then I noticed on the back of the book it says: "A revised and expended edition of the smash hit New York Times bestselling ebook."

You know what that means?  It means that this was a self-published book that likely sold well because it only cost $.99.  And once I started reading it, that was abundantly clear.

Let's start with the first problem, the cover:
The title is Diary of a Mad Fat Girl, yet the legs and ass on the cover are not those of a fat girl.  The main character is supposed to be a size 16.  The girl on the cover, maybe an 8.

Also, this book is not written as a diary.  Why give it that title, if that's not the format?  They couldn't think of anything else?  Does the word mad in the title mean she's insane (I kind of think she is), or angry?

Ok, I can get over that, and you may say I'm bring too picky, but the innards of the book are just one example after another of what not to do.

The characters are not well-drawn-- at all, they're barely described.  The main character, Ace, is incredibly obnoxious and unlikeable, and these friends of hers just turn up with no description whatsoever and the reader is just supposed to figure out that they're been lifelong best friends?

Ace's friend Chloe winds up in the hospital toward the beginning of the book and Ace infers that her husband had hit her.  Ace then freaks out, attacks him physically and winds up in jail.  I'm all for friend loyalty, but when this happened in the book I had no idea who Chloe even was, and I just assumed that Ace is the kind of moron who gets arrested all the time (she gets arrested two other times in the book).  She's one of those girls who may think of herself as sassy, but in actuality, she's just rude.

There's a bunch of intrigue in the high school where Ace and her other best friend Lilly are teachers, but it's not very intriguing despite the author's insertion of steamy pictures, secret homosexuality and inter-departmental sexual shenanigans.  It's just dull.

Ace seems to have handsome men falling all over her despite the fact that she's incredibly unlikeable, and at one point complains about how hard it is to be a bigger girl on the arm of a handsome man.  What?  That's pretty much the only time in the book her size is mentioned, so why does it feature in the title of the book?

Despite the fact that this book seems to rush through everything that happens, it still drags on and on.  Reading 300+ pages took me forever when normally I could read a book like this in an evening.  There are about ten sub-plots, none of them intriguing, and all of which seem to cast our unloveable heroine as a mentally deranged barbarian with no regard for social mores or reason.  At one point, she breaks up with the love of her life because he has a short conversation with a girl he used to date.  Really?  Are you kidding me?  And then she proceeds to wallow about how much she misses him and how much she hates that she had to move back to her home town.  Then she and a friend inexplicably make the acquaintance of an older wealthy woman in town.  Those scenes just read like she was trying to insert a wacky granny character a'la Janet Evanovitch.

Yeah.  These are not people I want to spend time with.

So I do not recommend this book--for anyone, and I will probably just throw my copy away.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book and compensation from BlogHer Bookclub, but the opinions in this review are (clearly) my own.


  1. I'm doing the book club this time too, and I have to say thank you for your opinion because it's the same as mine. I'm kind of horrified at how many super-excited reviews have been posted saying how awesome this book was. Bleh!

  2. Oh good! I was starting to feel alone or like I just wasn't getting it. What a pile of dreck this was.