Marcy Lewis, a girl with a poor self-image and a slight weight problem hates gym class, so she gives her teacher some bizarre and untrue excuses why she can't particpate in the class activities. This book's title is just one of those excuses. Then, along comes Ms. Finney, a new English teacher who does not believe in saluting the flag and teaches her classes using controversial methods that make the more conservative members of the community - including Mr. Stone, the school principal - feel uncomfortable. Marcy's father is also opposed to the methods used by Ms. Finney. The thing is, Ms. Finney not only teaches good English and makes her classes interesting, she also teaches good commuication skills, thinking outside the box, and gives the students a new-found confidence in themselves.
The concept is good, the writing decent, but the humor falls flat all too often, so I'm downgrading the rating of this book to just three stars because I don't feel the story has the impact it could possibly have. Of the suporting cast of characters, Marcy's mother could be a little more aware that she's probably a big part of her daugher's weight problem by serving ice cream whenever Marcy comes home after a bad day at school - of which there are far too many... Mother, of course does realize her contribution to Marcy's excess weight but is rather slow to do anything about it; nor does Marcy herself ever seem to realize what she is doing to herself.
And then there's the little brother, Stuart. He loves Marcy with the innocence that only very young children seem to have, but he's far too cute and is not just a scene stealer but a complete show-stealer. Too much focus is on little brother. More focus should be on Marcy, since she is the main character and little Stuart only part of a large supporting cast.
Recommended for Paula Danziger fans... and might be usable as a discussion book in junior highschool English classes.