A well-crafted coming of age story that intimates an homage to J.D. Salinger's Franny and Zooey.
The story opens with the protagonist, Troy, an obese teenager, considering a suicide attempt on the subway tracks. He is interrupted by Curt, a legend at their high school, a homeless drop-out & punk rock guitar fiend in the local scene. They're friendship, such as it is, initiates significant changes in both of their lives. A typical sounding summary but a really well delivered story: realistically rendered urban setting; genuine relationships; true to life dialog; awkward moments; engaging & often funny narrator; a truly unlikely hero for today's culture; and an unlikely savior in the form of punk rock music.
I loved watching the gradual, passionate, changes Troy makes over the course of this story. HIs newly discovered confidence and skill. His deep compassion that extends to his new friend & changes how he see his own family. His self-possession. His truth-telling.
I don't usually read young adult fiction, but my toddler happened to be strolling that aisle of the library & this book caught my eye. Another book on the same shelf was about a transgender teen... and I wonder if hip, well-written novels engaging difficult issues for teens is a new trend or just one I've overlooked. In Fat Kid Rules the World Going gracefully manages big issues & a big character, in slender, easy to read, well-paced book. I'm curious to see what her other books in this genre are like.
Going, K.L. Fat Kid Rules the World. New York: Puffin Books. 2003
Bright Dark Madonna
Waiting for God