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~Fat Chance~

by Deborah Blumenthal

Heroine: plump/average


          A size activist is unshakeable in her convictions, right? That's what "Fat Chance" columnist Maggie O'Leary thought as she championed well-padded people everywhere, answering their heartbreaking letters with all the compassion she could muster.   But that was before Hollywood snatched her up and turned her inside out and upside down.


          When Maggie receives a phone call from heart throb Mike Taylor she's ready to dismiss it as a prank played by one of her coworkers.  But she learns that it's the real deal and her once lonely, now star struck heart leads her to accept a job as Mike's technical advisor, who is in charge of giving him the lowdown on food issues and eating disorders for his role as a diet doc. 


          Maggie has just two months before she gets to play tutor to the hunk and is frantic at the thought of meeting him as her frumpy self.  A little exercising here, eating carefully there, highlights, chin suctioning.  It's no big deal, she's just improving on who she is, right? 


          Once in California, Maggie's head is caught up in the whirlwind of the Tinsel town high life and her heart is becoming more and more lost to the amiable Taylor by the minute.  But her readers can feel a difference in her columns, which increasingly focus on how to eat and exercise sensibly, and Maggie finally has to face reality when paparazzi pictures of her posing with the silver screen stud completely blow her cover.  The queen of queen-sized now barely rates as the princess of plump.


          So Maggie is in a quandary.  What does she want?  Life in a thinner body with Michael Taylor in Hollywood?  To be large and living in New York near her aging mother?  And while she's agonizing over her decision, will she manage to hang on to her column--and her sanity?        


What worked for me:


            "Fat Chance" has some very clever lines in it.  Great humor writing always gets a point from me.


            There were some terrific factoids in this book, some reassuring some not so reassuring.


            Maggie's emotional journey throughout the book really struck a chord with me, as I expect it will with dieters the world over.


            Size-wise Maggie starts out fairly abundant but whittles herself down to a plush average. Her assistant Tamara is a confirmed yo-yo dieter. And the Metro editor, Tex, is a delicious BHM (big handsome man).


What didn't work for me:


             I just can't make up my mind if I like the writing style and the structure of this book or not.  The present tense first person point of view broken up by newspaper articles and interviews was very interesting to say the least. A new spin on Bridget's diary entries in a way. But let's face it, combining a how-to-be-healthy-while-large manual with fiction so that they balance correctly is a monumental task, and not all readers will find the proportions the author chose was right for them.  Some may want more story and less number crunching and healthy eating and weight loss tips, and others vice versa. 



             "Fat Chance" certainly deserves a chance if you enjoy chick lit, but if you can't stomach the idea of watching the heroine go on a diet you may want to give it a pass.


Warning: there are some coarse words, weight loss, and brief discussions of eating disorders.


If you liked "Fat Chance" you might also enjoy "Love at Large", "The Way It Is", "Waking Beauty", "The Fat Friend", "All of Me", "The High Price of a Good Man", "Good in Bed", "Jemima J.", "Sisterhood Situation", "Etta Mae's Little Theory", or the "Odelia Grey" series.

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