Diary of a Mad Fat Girl by Stephanie McAfee

September 30, 2013

mad fat girl Plot summary (from the publisher): 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.

With a sharp and distinctive voice, Stephanie McAfee delivers a hilarious and fast-paced tale about Ace Jones and her two best friends-thick as thieves and tough as nails-navigating Southern small-town politics and prejudices, finding love, and standing up for each other all the way.

Warning: Spoilers below!

Liked:

  • There were some funny lines along the way. I laughed out loud several times at things Ace or Lilly said or did.
  • McAfee’s descriptions of Buster Loo were great! I could clearly picture everything she said about the dog, and found myself wanting a little chiweenie for myself after reading this.
  • The book was a light, quick read that was very easy to get through.

Disliked:

  • What did “fat” have to do with anything? The title made me think this book would be primarily about Graciela facing discrimination/bullying/teasing about her weight, but other than a couple of mentions, her size didn’t figure into the plot at all.
  • How convenient that the rich old woman (I’ve already forgotten her name) had state-of-the-art surveillance equipment in her home and was wired into all of Bugtussle’s security cameras so she would have the proof required to back up Ace and Lilly whenever they needed it.
  • The school principal Catherine was so mean and evil as to be a caricature more than a believable character. Of course she was a complete bitch and of course she had skeletons in her closet, which Ace (and the old lady) conveniently uncovered.
  • I didn’t like the Tommy (Memphis biker dude) subplot because as much as time as the author devoted to Mason McKenzie, you knew there was no way Ace would end up with anyone but him.
  • Few of the plot developments were the least bit realistic — even in the loosest sense of the word as applied to fiction. I simply did not buy into any of the situations or actions the girls took to get what they wanted.

Rating:

Diary of a Mad Fat Girl had a likable enough protagonist and was mildly entertaining, but never quite lives up to its potential. It could have been so much better if the author had done something unexpected instead of reaching for cliches to fill out the plot and secondary characters. As it is, I give the book 2 stars out of 5.

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