Level III - Third Place - April Mohler, Lamoni High School
Fat Chance by Leslea Newman
Dear Ms. Newman,
How could you possibly
know so perfectly the feelings so many of us girls are going
through right now? Were you once experiencing the same
feelings? How could you know the right words to express
those hard truths with such clarity and sensitivity?
Your book, Fat
Chance, really hit a raw nerve with me, and I'm sure that
other girls who read this book would experience some of the same
emotions that I felt. Judi's diary was full of honest
language and feelings that most people can't even admit to
themselves. I drew many parallels between Judi's life and
my life throughout the book.
I've never acted out my
negative emotions in such a profound way as Judi did, but I
completely connected to so many of her reasons for doing
things. When I'm stressed out, I go into a carb craze
and stuff my face with food until I don't feel anything
anymore. That's kind of how Judi dealt with some of her
problems in the beginning of the book. Then her
negative self image caused her to develop the eating disorder of
bulimia. I really relate to Judi's self image issues,
and from what I hear, many of my friends would as well.
I, too, got the large bone structure from my dad's side of the
family. But, that wasn't all I got from my gene
pool. I also got Mom's low center of gravity
(ie: thighs, hips and butt).
Judi's eating disorder
started out as a diet. She'd fail
her diet and become increasingly frustrated with
herself. I've thought about starting a diet.
Occasionally I have made the effort to improve my
eating. Usually, however, the effort only lasts half a
day as I get a carb craze every afternoon after a stressful day
at school. I don't beat myself up as much over it as
Judy. In fact, ever the pessimist, I never fully expect
that I'll succeed for any length of time.
I have friends that are
skinny like Judi's friend Monica in Fat Chance, and I
admit I sometimes compare myself to them. I've always been
the one to tell them they look great and to stop complaining
while I'm wishing I was as skinny as them. I don't tend to
complain to my friends as much about my weight as Judi, but I
often feel the urge to vent it.
I also feel a connection
to Judi's skinny friend, Monica. She's a music freak
like I am, although she specializes in one instrument and I just
play them all. Music definitely cuts into my time for
friends and adds to my stress, but I couldn't live without it.
Judi's weight loss was
spurred on by the thought that boys would like her better if she
was skinnier. Many girls, including myself, think about
how they should change to make boys like them better.
Many think, like Judi, that being skinnier will make them more
attractive to boys. Others, like myself, think of
different improvements to make. I thought that dancing
would be attractive. Unfortunately, dancing is as hard
as losing weight for me. I just don't have enough
confidence to do it.
vocalizes the unrealistic expectations set for girls and the
expectations girls set for themselves with brutal honesty.
I'm not the type of person who likes to analyze herself, but this
book really made me think about my self-perception. Not
only is your book an excellent book, it could help many
conflicted teenagers, like me, understand and live with their
problems. Thank you for your valuable words of wisdom.