There was so much about Fat Angie by e.E. Charlton-Trujillo that I wanted to like. For starters, it was a coming-of-age story filled with issues: issues of bullying, weight, family, mental health, and LGBTQ questioning. It felt like it was compelling, and it was a pretty quick read once I really got into it but, the truth is there were some things about this book that I really didn’t care for. At All.
The main character of Angie was first of all very hard for me to relate to or like. Admittedly, she kind of grew on me as the story progressed but, I still felt like there was something missing. Also, I didn’t care for her obsession with the idea that if she lost weight, and joined in something popular, then people would actually begin to see her as a person instead of a thing. Yes, I can understand it but, to me it painted the wrong idea that people, especially young people, who have weight issues cannot be happy unless they lose the weight, and start to fit in.
Now I understand that Angie had a lot of baggage with her. I’ll explain briefly here: he fact that her sister was missing and presumed dead over in Iraq (a fact that Angie refuses to believe), that she tried to commit suicide in front of all of her classmates during a pep rally, that her mother refuses to give her the time of day unless it is to harass her about her weight, that her father disappeared from her life after her sister went missing, that her adopted brother has turned into a complete jerk since their father left and their sister disappeared, that her school days consists of her being bullied and taunted every time she turned around, and finally, that the new girl is actually paying attention to her, and being nice. Phew! See, I told her the girl has a lot of baggage!
And it’s not the baggage that turned me off from the character of Angie; it’s the way that she handles it. She refuses to let go of any of it, and when there is character growth it is because she is trying to turn into something else. I get the whole idea of character evolution but for some reason it just didn’t work for me. Although I will admit, it was nice to see the girl get a spine, and tell her mother off for the way that treats her. The woman was absolutely awful! The way she talked, and treated her daughter was appalling. At times it even felt a bit over done, and not realistic but instead contrived which made it a little less enjoyable.
One aspect of Fat Angie that I really did enjoy was the friendship between Angie and KC Romance. It was the aspect of Angie’s evolution as a character that I really found myself invested in. On the outside the two of them couldn’t be more different but on the inside they are kindred spirits, and while both of them are dealing with their own personal demons, they find something strong to hold onto. Something that is even stronger than friendship — a non-romance romance. They push and pull each other but still somehow balance each other out. They are lost without each other.
Fat Angie is a very intense story. The emotion poured off each page. It is an edgy story with a tender important center message about telling teens not to be afraid of who they are. Unfortunately for me, as much as I enjoyed the message was trying to be spread I wish it had been spread in a different more enjoyable context. Some may really enjoy all aspects of this book but honestly, I am not one of them.
Disclosure: Received ARC from publisher
Other reviews of Fat Angie by e.E. Charlton-Trujillo:
The Compulsive Reader: “Fat Angie is an important, moving, and sweet book that you won’t soon forget…”
Blkosiner’s Book Blog: “This is a touching book, with a narrator who grows and learns a lot…“