Somehow Fat Cat had been almost entirely off of my radar, which is a shame because this book is pretty damn awesome. It’s one of those books very driven by narrative voice, and I happen to love Cat’s voice. Brande tackles some sensitive issues, like weight and diet, thoughtfully and with an eye towards making healthy choices, not to conforming to society.
Fat Cat is one of those books where the fat heroine does lose a lot of the weight by the end, so if that’s not what you want be warned. However, I do think it happens in a really great way. Cat doesn’t lose the weight through a crash diet or anything and she does so for herself with lifestyle changes. I love that at the end it’s stressed that Cat lost the weight for herself and not so that people will think of her differently. She also really considers the behavior of people towards her, and looks askance at those that only liked her after she lost the weight. Brande definitely does not come across as fat-shaming Cat, which I think is the most important thing.
Cat’s got a really great voice. She’s funny and a little judgmental. She’s also inquisitive and set in her ways. She has a lot of trouble looking past her own viewpoint, which is completely accurate. Fat Cat is Cat’s emotional journey to self-awareness and self-acceptance. One of the things she learns, that I also learned and continue to learn even at 26, is that a lot of beauty lies in confidence. If you feel ugly and uncomfortable, you project that and people are more likely to perceive you that way. Looking back at my high school photos, all of my smiles look pained, because, though I’d gotten cuter than in middle school, I still felt ugly and unwanted; in my middle school photos, I mostly just glowered. If you hate yourself, it shows and makes other people more tempted to do the same. That’s hackneyed, but it also happens to be true. Brande really stresses the fact that it’s your opinion of yourself that matters more than any other.
In addition to Cat, I love Amanda, and their friendship. She and Amanda are very different people in a lot of ways, but they have one of the best YA friendships. Amanda and Cat support each other, even if it’s sometimes inconvenient. Cat agrees to give dating a try because Amanda thinks it might be good for her. She also agrees to help Amanda keep a restaurant going. In turn, Amanda’s fully supportive of Cat’s project to live like a hominin, despite believing the project to be overambitious. What’s great is that they don’t always agree but they do help out as much as they can; they express dissenting opinions but agree on a course of action together and have each other’s back all through the process.
The romance was really well done too, with Cat getting to date a couple of different guys before hooking up with the ship, who I totally called by the way and, yes, I ship it. I love the YA novels where the heroine doesn’t HEA with the first guy she ever dates. Even better, Cat very clearly has difficult handling emotions and figuring out whether she’s interested in a particular guy. Then there’s the divide between emotional and physical attraction; I loved the way she was carried away by lust with Nick, despite herself. Such things do not happen enough in YA novels.
What Left Me Wanting More:
The one aspect I didn’t super love was the science fair thing. First of all, this school sounded ridiculous to me, because it’s public but has all of these classes I don’t think most public schools offer, like this advanced science course all geared towards the science fair or sign language. There were a few more, but they escape me at the moment. Anyway, the science fair projects that both she and Matt do don’t really seem particularly original, which would be fine if Cat didn’t make them out to be the best teen scientists to ever happen. The ending helped with this a bit, but I got bored of this aspect really quickly.
The Final Verdict:
Fat Cat made me laugh and smile many times. It’s a fluffy, heart-warming book full of humor and great attitudes. This is a book that I think needs a whole lot more buzz. I’ll definitely be looking for more Robin Brande, because this was fabulous.
NARRATOR: Kirsten Potter
SYNOPSIS: Catherine (Cat) Locke has been overweight for a good portion of her life. Every diet she tries, she is somewhat successful, but then rewards herself with a pint of ice cream, or some brownies. This year, though, she is taking this incredibly hard science class with Mr. Fizer, where the science project is determined by a random picture pulled out of a box, and she is required to enter it into the Science Fair. Cat is determined to do very well, not only because she wants the letter of recommendation and scholarship money that could result from a good project, but winning would also mean beating her once best friend no enemy, Matt McKinney. The picture Cat pulls, early humans fighting over meat, changes not only her life, but the way she views life, as she goes on a journey of reverting back to a time before there were fast food restaurants and preservatives and additives in food, as well as computers and cell phones.
REVIEW: Fat Cat, is a hilarious and compelling story about food, friends, and…boys. Cat is great. Her personality is consistent throughout the book, even when she starts getting skinny and hot, she still thinks of herself as fat and unattractive. Even through one boyfriend and one…really hot dance…she has a hard time believing the new her is really her. She is such a believable character, I’m sure I went to school with her. She has normal fears and thoughts, no so smart she’s dumb, just the perfect kind of rightness for this book. The absolute best character of this entire story, though, is Cat’s best friend, Amanda. I found myself laughing out loud at her and some of the comments she makes more than once. Her relationship with Jordan was a little tiresome though. Yeah, they were the perfect couple, but I got tired of the “Hi Sweetie!” I, personally, don’t know very many guys who like to be called sweetie.
During her junior year of high school, the year that she is determined to win the local science fair and beat her former best friend, current rival, Matt, Cat is thrown a huge curve ball. Cat pulls a picture of prehistoric man, during the random drawing in her advance science class. Instead of completing a project in her comfort zone, she must devise something new and cleverer. She decides to go prehistoric. To the best of her ability she will shun the use of modern conveniences. No cell phone, no car, and no processed foods. As the project progresses, the newly introduced exercise and healthier eating habits reshape Cat physically and mentally. She in turn adds them into her project. The big question becomes, will the head turning results be enough to wow the science fair judges and trounce Matt once and for all?
Let me start off by saying, WOW! This book was simply amazing. Robin Brande succeeds yet again. Cat, while overweight, is a really bright, sweet person. But because of sizist prejudices, she is only allowed to be the smart girl. She is not popular or well liked outside of the tight circle of her best friend and her best friends boyfriend. It is interesting and societally accurate to watch the secondary characters change the way they see Cat, the more weight that she loses. Fat Cat deals with so many issues, the most important of which is self perception. Cat learns over the course of the story that the most important observation she can make is to love herself, regardless of her size. The author takes you on a fantastic ride through Cats experiences. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to read a great story, with great characters. (I read it through the library, but I will be purchasing a copy for my personal library.) I would also recommend Robin Brandes other book Evolution, Me & Other Freaks of Nature another awesome story!
Its been quite some time since Ive given a book anything higher than the 3 stars range so believe me when I say that I enjoyed Fat Car tremendouslythat is to say that not everyone will love this book coughSharoncough.
It seems to me that Im the hopeless romantic person, always thinking that the childhood friend should be the one with you forever. What I appreciated the most was the fact that there was path to figuring that Matt was the one. It wasnt just shy glances between the two; there were sweat, tears, blood (not real blood just metaphorically), and an actual disconnection then reconnection before it all made sense. It only took one really odd diet, one disgusting boyfriend, one hormone-crazed/kind of hot yet completely geeked out boy, and a sweat drenching science project.
Cat goes through a metamorphosis through eating nutritiously. It might have came off as preaching as some would say, but to those who considered themselves meaterians it sheds some light. Also the fact that the book included fun vegetarian dishes was a plus in my book. I always thought I could never survive by salads alone but maybe it is possiblejust not for me, I love meat too much. There are other ways.
Overall: Authors and readers youve found my weakest. I enjoy clichÃ©s with a twist.
By: Robin Brande
Release Date: October 13, 2009
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Reading Level and Genre: Young Adult / Fiction
What's her secret? A no-holds-barred science experiment... with Cat as the guinea pig. Can her combination of brains and bravery help Cat avenge herself against the guy who broke her heart-and maybe even turn him into an experiment of her own?
Fresh, funny, and full of wisdom, Fat Cat is a journey of change, inside and out... and of justice, revenge, and maybe even forgiveness.
Rating: 4.5 stars
This was a great book, I read straight through in 2.5 hours. I couldn't put it down.
Brande's writing really took you into Cat's world, and kept you there.
I haven't read any of Robin Brande's other books, but I thought this was a great book with a unique idea. So many chick-lit books are the same thing over and over, but this had an interesting new twist on it.
The main character, Cat goes through a very interesting experiment for her science class. With this experiment she puts on herself, she finds some very drastic changes, mostly postitive but some negative.
In Fat Cat, Cat really analyzes herself and is a great example of what would be great if so many girls could do. So much negative image is placed on girls that aren't the perfect size and shape. I really liked the message Brande was sending through her book.
The character were written to seem very realistic and all had depth beyond the writing. Cat for example had the thoughts the average teenager would have, and nothing went perfect for her. She had her moments of doubt and such. Cat's best friend was the one who was always there for her and just brought so much more to the story through her compassion and kindness.
I must say, just by reading the back of the book, this probably wouldn't have been a book I would've picked up. But after reading it, it was just great. It was different than the usual books I read, and I discovered a great new book. :)
At the tender age of 8, Catherine Locke realizes that she is overweight. But her best friend, Matt, has always been there for her. When seventh grade arrives and Cat overhears a conversation between Matt and a different classmate, shes changed forever. How could she be friends with someone who thinks of her that way? Four years later, Catherine is still trying to get over Matt. She has a different best friend now! Cat doesnt need Matt anymore. Being a Science geek, Catherine decides that her Science experiment will be life-changing. Maybe she can lose a few pounds along the way. After losing a drastic amount of weight, all she needs is a boyfriend. But what if the person she is in love is the one she has been avoiding for four years?
Fat Cat is another weight loss book, the theme that is a little over used nowadays. Its hard for a book like that to seem unique, but with the eye-catching cover and the writing of perfection, I have a feeling this one will make it far in the Readers World. Catherine is a likable main character (something every book needs) and the challenges she faces arent all due to being overweight, which I find is a nice twist. To make it more interesting, Cats logic is completely the opposite of mine so whatever she does or says is surprising for me. I think the author could have done a better job with adding Cats relationship with her younger brother into the chapters shes with her friends and such but, overall, I enjoyed this book. I am sure others will too!
Publication date: October 13th, 2009
- inappropriate touching (which is portrayed as wrong)
- some crude humor