this one goes out to all the ladies.

well, not really.  but sort of.  bear with me while i explain.  my good lady friends nandi and little K and i met early this morning for a crisp and sunny run that featured one terrible hill and some delicious coffee at the end, and now i am on cloud eleven (better than cloud nine).  these are the days when it feels great to exercise!  i have renewed hope in fitness, which is something that i’ve really needed after a semi-disheartening half marathon about a month ago.  (picture it: applefest 2010.  93-degree heat.  uphill from miles nine on.  suffice to say, a summer’s worth of hard training yielded less than i’d hoped.  waaah.)  SO!  all this to say that today is the first day i’ve felt good about running in a VERY long time.

and therefore, in the name of the happiness that healthiness can sometimes bring, here she is– my girl cat locke.

Brande, R. (2009). Fat cat. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.

Cat Locke is a quick-witted high school junior with a penchant for science—and candy bars.  But when Cat becomes her own guinea pig for a research project, she makes some serious lifestyle changes, giving up cars, phones, TV, computers, and processed foods in her determination to win the science fair and exact revenge on her greatest rival, Matt McKinney.  Cat’s experiment yields impressive results, as she sheds some unwanted pounds and comes to terms with the issues of boys and body image.

As someone who grapples with the daily challenges of leading a healthy lifestyle (and loves a good makeover story), Fat Cat was right up my alley.  But you don’t have to be interested in nutrition to enjoy this book.  Fat Cat is written in the conversational first-person voice of Cat, a person you’d want to know and be friends with, and her story unfolds with a natural ease.  Information about health, exercise, and vegetarianism emerges in the text, but I didn’t think it sounded pedagogical; Cat follows a path of self-improvement and, in the process, builds her self-esteem (and, as a bonus, attracts the attention of several different guys).  Fat Cat seems to be geared toward a younger YA audience, as Cat innocently (and almost naively) experiences many “firsts” during the course of the story, including her first date, kiss, and boyfriend.  Throughout the story, Brande alludes to an incident that had occurred between Cat and Matt several years prior, but when the mystery is finally revealed, it seems simplistic and anticlimactic.  Because this situation was one of the defining moments in Cat’s teenaged life, its relative innocuousness strikes me as both disappointing and puzzling.  On the whole, though, this book succeeds with a strong and likable main character and a light and fun, yet informative plot.

 

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