Book Review - Moose: A Memoir of Fat Camp by Stephanie Klein
If you grew up as the "chubby" or "fat" kid on the block, you'll understand and relate immediately to Moose: A Memoir of Fat Camp by Stephanie Klein. I could definitely relate...
Part 1: Baby Fat
Part 2: Weigh of Life; Sabotaje; Sloppy Seconds; Bay of Pigs; Your Worth In Weight; Blame It On the Rain; Shrinkwrapped; Mamma Mia; When Even "Misfit" Misfits; American Pie; Hurts So Good; Are You There, God? It's Me, Pound Cake; Caught; Inside Out; Tall Takes and Heroes
Part 3: Moose; To Fat and Back; The Hate Diet; Father Figurative; The Mother Load
This is an actual "memoir" of the author and the five years she spent at various fat camps. She was overweight as a child, and struggled (like we all do) with acceptance and self-worth issues. Her parents sent her to the camps to learn better eating habits and to get more exercise. The style is somewhat unique, in that she blends all the camps, friends, counselors, and enemies into a single fictional camp over one summer. As she states up front, names and some details have been combined and modified to protect the innocent, but everything in the book actually did happen. Things like falling in and out of love numerous times, sneaking out of camp with friends to have a food binge, and learning how to make oneself vomit in order to get rid of the food gorging that just took place. Throughout the book, you get a peek into the mind of an overweight child who desperately wants to be accepted for who she is, but is constantly judged by how much weight she carries. Her obsession with weight continues on to this day, manifesting in issues such as not wanting to gain any weight while pregnant for fear she'll once again be fat. Part 3 of the book does get more into her adult attitudes and issues, but you realize they're still tied back to that overweight child being shipped off to fat camp. No matter how thin she gets, in her mind she's destined to always be "fat".
Having been that fat kid myself, I could identify and relate to many of her experiences. Unlike her, I'm still fighting my weight problem on the upper end of the scale. But that self-image of the short fat kid is always there, and will probably never go away. Moose is well-written and worth reading. If you've never grown up with weight issues, you'll begin to understand what those of us who did went through. And if you *were* the fat kid, this may be a way for you to step back and realize that those times are gone and you've grown up.