Insecure, shy, and way overweight, Colby hates the limelight as much as her pageant-pretty mom and sisters love it. It's her life: Dad's a superstar, running for office on a family values platform. Then suddenly, he ditches his marriage for a younger woman and gets caught stealing money from the campaign. Everyone hates Colby for finding out and blowing the whistle on him. From a mansion, they end up in a poor relative's trailer, where her mom's contempt swells right along with Colby's supersized jeans. Then, a cruel video of Colby half-dressed, made by her cousin Ryan, finds its way onto the internet. Colby plans her own death. A tragic family accident intervenes, and Colby's role in it seems to paint her as a hero, but she's only a fraud. Finally, threatened with exposure, Colby must face facts about her selfish mother and her own shame. Harrowing and hopeful, proof that the truth that saves us can come with a fierce and terrible price, Big Fat Disaster is that rare thing, a story that is authentically new.
Big Fat DisasterFeatured
What worked: The first chapter had me feel like a fly on the wall witnessing the careful facade of a conservative political candidate's family being rip off with the ugly truth. The hypocrisy is something that has been in the news lately with a number of political candidates. Fehlbaum does an excellent job showing this.
I liked Colby who doesn't fit the mold of being the daughter of a former Miss Texas and takes more after her stocky political father. The emotions and struggles she goes through and how she deals with them by overeating is portrayed in a very realistic way. I liked Colby and felt her shame and anger especially after her father deserts the family after a scandalous reveal.
I especially loved how body issues are handled. It had me remember my own struggles as a teen to stay thin to the point of passing out. Or stress eating and not realizing, until too late, how much I put away. Colby's struggles, guilt, and self-hatred rang very true to me.
Though I did like how Fehlbaum handles such issues as abuse and overeating, I did feel that there were so many throw at us at once that sometimes it veered toward the unbelievable. I know personally how stress and not feeling 'perfect' can lead to self-destructive behavior. I did that myself as a young adult. I also totally believe the hypocrisy behind so-called conservative groups. Seen that in my own life too. I had a hard time though with one plot point later in the book. How Colby deals with it makes her almost unlikeable. But that's just my opinion.
The writing though is powerful, raw and doesn't hold back. SHE'S COME UNDONE meets a Texan teen who must rely on her inner strength to overcome harsh odds.
Big Fat Disaster reminds us that--yes, there are lots of cruel people out there. But there are lots of good ones, too.