Fifteen-year-old Virginia Shreves has a larger-than-average body and a plus-size inferiority complex, especially when she compares herself to her slim, brilliant, picture-perfect family. But that’s before a shocking phone call – and a horrifying allegation – about her rugby-star brother changes everything. With irreverent humor and surprising gravity, Carolyn Mackler creates an endearingly blunt heroine who speaks to every teen who struggles with family expectations, and proves that the most impressive achievement is to be true to yourself.
Review: I thoroughly enjoyed The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things having previously read it in 2014. I have no idea what happened to that copy so I’m happy to get the UK edition for my collection.
While reading The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things there were a lot of emotions for me. There was sympathy, heartache, joy, rage, hope, etc. but the overriding feeling was that of pride for Virginia as a character.
At the beginning Virginia’s parents fail (spectacularly) but there is character growth for them (be it small steps) and Virginia does have positive adult influences, Dr Love for example and her teacher.
Weight, self-confidence, body-image all these things are tied together in complicated and often toxic knots which are difficult to balance effectively in a story. I thought that Carolyn Mackler handled this well. In The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things Virginia achieves a positive ending through what she does, who she is – not because of some guy or changing how she looks. I really liked that message.
Carolyn Mackler is the acclaimed author of the YA novels The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things (a Michael L. Printz Honor Book), Infinite in Between, Tangled, Guyaholic, Vegan Virgin Valentine, and Love and Other Four-Letter Words, as well as the co-author of The Future of Us. She also wrote the middle-grade novel Best Friend Next Door. Carolyn lives in New York City with her husband and two sons.