Fat Angie by E.E. Charlton-Trujillo

Objectively this was good, important, but I didn’t really enjoy it. Maybe it is not meant to be an enjoyable book? It’s rough, it hurts, and feeling that hurt can be very good.

It’s about a fat teenager with a messed up family. Her hero worshiped older sister is a solider, missing presumed dead. Her parents are divorced. Her adopted older brother is acting out. She isn’t getting the care or attention she needs. There are a ton of really shitty authority figures, parents and school people and therapists. It’s actually incredibly frustrating to read. Angie’s life is already rough, but then there’s a new girl, and some awkward queer blossoming happens, and there’s drama. Lots of drama. Everything is very high stakes, or at least feels that way, because it’s a very teenage book.

The novel is very in Angie’s head. The writing has a really fun style that I’m having a hard time describing — cheeky maybe? It mostly works for me, but it can get antic, and on top of all of the feelings, it can be very… exhausting? Which is an interesting choice as an author, and I respect that, but also, I got exhausted at times. It’s a very teenage book, and a small town book.

There’s something oddly retro about it. It’s only a couple years old, but it feels much more dated. I wonder if some of that is a small town thing, that it feels further in the past than the cities. I’m not sure, I don’t really understand small towns. It’s a very isolated world, and part of Angie’s frustration is her loneliness, and I’m not sure how much sense that makes in our technological age.

Honestly, I didn’t love it, but I thought it was really well done, and it might’ve meant a lot to me if I had read it at the right age. I don’t need this book in 2016, but there’s someone who does, and I’m so glad it exists for them. I’m also really glad that isn’t me anymore.

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