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Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes (1993)

de Chris Crutcher

MembrosResenhasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaMenções
1,5447111,737 (4.1)33
The daily class discussions about the nature of man, the existence of God, abortion, organized religion, suicide and other contemporary issues serve as a backdrop for a high-school senior's attempt to answer a friend's dramatic cry for help.
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Mostrando 1-5 de 71 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
This book touched on a lot of different topics from bullying, religion, social acceptance, social issues, child abuse, etc. It also showed that no matter what a person looks like on the outside, the inside is where the scars and beauty are hidden. ( )
  SRQlover | Jul 18, 2023 |
Don't let the weird cover scare you away-this was great.
I'd never read anything by this author before now, and I'm glad to see he's written several books. It was surprising to find out this one was written in 2003. It doesn't feel dated at all except for the absence of cell phones. And maybe the curiously derogatory word "adjusto"-I don't remember that ever being a thing. Otherwise, the kids could be from a book written this year.
I always like a YA book where the adults are more than just props, and there are some swell ones here-parents, teachers, and other cool grown-ups. They're not all great, which is the heart of this book's problem. The book deals with several hard issues, but the author does a fine job of navigating them. I loved that the characters changed over the course of the book. I loved that enemies could become friends, or at least friendly. Moby's voice was great. Despite the difficult subject matter, this was a quick, enjoyable read. ( )
  Harks | Dec 17, 2022 |
Eric's only friend in middle school was Sarah Byrnes, a girl with an acerbic sense of humor and severe burns on her face and hands. She and Eric, the fattest boy in school, made up a sort of club of rejects, banding together to use their wits against their tormentors. Now, in high school, Eric has discovered swimming and has made at least one other friend, but Sarah Byrnes is still one of the most important people in his life. And she's in a mental hospital, in a catatonic state. Eric visits her regularly, wondering all the time: what happened to make her check out like this? Is there any way he can help her find her way back?

I thought I had read this as a teenager, but if I did, a whole lot of it went right over my head! I suspect that I remember seeing the title on the library shelves, but that I never checked it out. I have such mixed feelings about this title. First off, parts of it are extremely dated. I can't really hold that against the book; in its time, I'm sure they added a lot. It's just that teens now are going to struggle with that aspect and miss out on a lot of the humor. Other parts, including some of the class discussions from Eric's Critical American Thought class, are starkly relevant. Certain plot elements are extremely predictable, like the Inspirational Teacher vs. Uptight Administration storyline, and the way Jody's story plays out (I'm being intentionally vague to avoid spoilers) -- again, they might have seemed fresher in 1993. All of the adult antagonists are pretty one-dimensional, though a kid bully gets some more nuance. All in all, I can see this book being taught in a YA literature course, as it's a strong example of a 1990s realistic teen novel, but I'm not sure I'd hand it to teens today, at least not without some additional context. ( )
  foggidawn | Jul 11, 2022 |
I tried to read this book when I was twelve and I remember just not getting it. The only thing I understood was that I was too young to read it. Now I'm an adult and I point out quickly that I wasn't the intended audience. I've lived in Seattle all my life. I grew up in a hockey family, and my older brother traveled frequently to Spokane for youth hockey training. Wenatchee, Spokane, Okanagan, all over Easten Washington generally. Pierce County to play big games. Bigger games and serious training were in Canada. It genuinely surprised me at first that this book mentioned zero hockey and was all about swimming, beating people up, heavy emphasis on being fat, scarred, or in a mental hospital...and it was mind-numbingly boring. It was also first published twenty-six years ago and was groundbreaking. These topics are still very relevant, especially in a place like Spokane. The author jammed in and skated over tons of these topics. I was irritated but impressed considering the political climate when it came out.

It's couched in a boring YA slice of life story. Mark is a huge jerk, there are tons of cardboard antagonists, but I liked the support the good adults offered the protagonist. I did like the coach. This book might have been more interesting from Sarah's perspective despite her catatonic state, or the author's feeble attempts at writing it. The book was reprinted recently and honestly? The town is known for its meth problem. It's complicated and sad, and I feel like a jackass for thinking this, but...slip in references as a way to update the story and add a touch of realism. The story read like it was set in any generic small town ever. Swapping out the beatings with meth problems and swimming with hockey would have been way more convincing. I'm a bit cranky about it, and wish the town of Spokane had more support. I live in a Seattle neighborhood known for its drug problems and low-income residents--I am low-income. I'm not trying to judge. Just--cranky. I'm glad this book had the impact it did. ( )
  iszevthere | Jun 23, 2022 |
Read it out loud to the class and would often stumble on awkward syntax. Probably wouldn't have noticed it if I did a speed-read. Topic and issues still relevant but way too many pop-culture references that are dated so students couldn't get the humor. ( )
  Reyesk9 | Sep 23, 2019 |
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For all those who finally stand up for themselves
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My dad left when I still had a month to go in the darkroom, and historically when people have tried to figure me out (as in, "What went wrong?"), they usually conclude that Mom spoiled me; gave me everything I wanted because I had no pappy.
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I think most of us tell ourselves we don't want what we think we can't have just to make life bearable.
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It's a scary thing, moving on. Part of me wishes life were more predictable and part of me is excited that it's not. I think it's impossible to tell the good things from the bad things while they're happening.
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'Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes' was also published under the less meaningful title 'Secrets of Sarah Byrnes'
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The daily class discussions about the nature of man, the existence of God, abortion, organized religion, suicide and other contemporary issues serve as a backdrop for a high-school senior's attempt to answer a friend's dramatic cry for help.

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