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Under the Radar Books: Massive by Julia Bell

August 28, 2007

Can you inherit an eating disorder from a parent? Along with her good looks fourteen year old Carmen has inherited her mother Maria’s insecurities. After her parents split up and a move to Maria’s hometown, Carmen grows up quickly. Carmen wants to return to her old life with her father, but is forced into growing up for the sake of her mother.

Maria is always on a diet although she is rail thin. To Maria appearance is everything. Maria is absorbed in herself and what she wants and goes full speed ahead toward her goals not considering those around her. In the past Maria has be hospitalized for her eating disorder, yet she refuses to acknowledge her problem. Instead of fighting her own demons and accepting responsibility for her decisions in life, she plays the blame game with everyone around her including her daughter, her parents, her sister, and her husband.

Maria’s jabs at Carmen’s weight and eating habits are abusive and readers will no doubt resent her. I felt a mixture of pity and revulsion toward Maria. Although Maria is a repulsive character, I couldn’t help but get drawn into the story to find out whether or not Carmen saves her mother or is sucked into the vacuum of her psychosis. Massive is a realistic read with the trappings of real problems and appended with methods for seeking help for eating disorders. If you desire quality literature with an uncanny verisimilitude definitely read Massive by Julia Bell.

Today’s Radar Book Schedule:

Big A, little a: Ingo by Helen Dunmore

Bildungsroman: Girl in the Box by Ouida Sebestyen

Bookshelves of Doom: The Olivia Kidney series by Ellen Potter

A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy: A discussion of author Ellen Emerson White

Chicken Spaghetti: Natural History of Uncas Metcalf by Betsy Osborne

Finding Wonderland: A Door Near Here by Heather Quarles

A Fuse #8 Production: The Winged Girl of Knossos by Erick Berry

Jen Robinson’s Book Page: The Changeling and The Velvet Room, both by Zilpha Keatley Snyder

Miss Erin: Girl With a Pen and Princess of Orange by Elisabeth Kyle

Writing and Ruminating: Jazz ABC by Wynton Marsalis;

The YA YA YAs: Massive by Julia Bell.


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