This Book is a Fucking Disaster: Big Fat Disaster by Beth Fehlbaum

Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this via Netgalley it did not change my view of the book.

First thing first, if you’re triggered easy by rape, suicide, or body shaming this is NOT the book for you.  I actually don’t think it’s a book for anyone, but people who are easily triggered really need to stay the hell away from this one because God….

Yeah, it put me into a mood.  To be honest, the only reason I finished this one was I had to see just how much more off putting it got.

To say the least, the whole thing was a hot mess. I almost turned into the Book Hulk over this.  Alas, since I’m not a comic book character this did not happen.

The Book Hulk does in fact exist.

Where do I even start…you know what, I feel like I’m just going to list the things wrong with this one so let’s start shall we:

1) Body Shaming: I get that there are going to be a few characters that insult our plus size MC, but almost every character in the book hated Colby because she was overweight.  It was ridiculous.  Especially given the fact that a large percent of the population, in general, is overweight.   Plus, the fact that there was a huge deal about how difficult it was to find clothes that fit Colby on a budget because she was apparently soooooo big made me angry.  I can just imagine a girl Colby’s size reading this and hating herself after closing the book and that is so, so, wrong.

2) Colby being told that bulimia is a-okay: Are you fucking serious?  I get it was only one character’s opinion, the mother’s, but just having an adult figure with authority saying that sticking your finger in your throat to throw up is okay.  Is so wrong on so many levels.  Bulimia can cause serious damage to your teeth, esophagus,stomach, etc.  It is not okay.  People can die from eating disorders.  I get that the mother was depicted in a unrealistic manner as a narcissistic bitch, but come on.

3) Abuse Victim Shaming: Seriously, Colby’s family blames their aunt for leaving her husband when he beat the shit out of her.  Apparently, it’s in bad taste to leave your abuser because he’s sooooo nice to your family that he could never hit you behind closed doors.  Yeah, this is the sort of message we’re getting in the books.  As well as, oh you shouldn’t report a girl getting raped if she’s drunk.  Because she might’ve said yes if she wasn’t drunk and the rapist is a huge football star….

I’m calmed down now to be a little logical.  WTF?!?!?!?!?!?!  Do you see why this book turned me into the Book Hulk now?

Seriously, I wondered what these characters were smoking throughout the book to come up with this logic.  Plus,  I really had a difficult time believing that the MAJORITY of characters would think that either of these were okay in a contemporary book.  And yeah, I get that this book took place in Texas and that the state is conservative.  But come on, despite the fact that the state makes some dumb ass decisions, there are lots of good people who don’t think domestic abuse or sexual abuse is ever proper and they wouldn’t practically isolate the whistleblower in town.

But, what do I know?

Nothing according to this book because if I’m ever beaten or raped I just need to suck it up for propriety sake.

Fuck you, book.

4) All Conservatives are Assholes: This goes with number three.  While I am not (or probably ever will be) a conservative, I know lots of conservatives who are rational people.  I hate the fact that this book stereotyped them as being extremist assholes.  Seriously.

5) The way Suicide is Handled: Suicide is a very sensitive subject.  I just thought the way the book handled it was almost flippant in some regards.  It’s a complex and delicate subject and I just thought that it was almost muddled by the whole cousin subplot.  Actually, that subplot made me angry.  I thought it  almost shamed Colby for what she did.  Plus, was it really necessary to kill off that asshole like that.  It just sort of made me hate Colby and I shouldn’t hate Colby because she’s the character that’s getting constantly shitted on by this horrible cast of characters that you deem as realistic people, but aren’t.  Also, the “help” that Colby gets towards the end of the story just isn’t enough.  This girl should seriously be institutionalized for a period of time for her own safety-two suicide attempts in the matter of weeks isn’t out patient therapy.  Or at the very least, she be prescribed anti-depressants.  But a couple of sessions with Dr. Matt and quitting her job at the bakery seems to be enough for this girl.

I’m going to be openly honest here, depression is present in my family.  I never really dealt with it, but I have had relatives who had attempted to take their own lives.  It’s not fixed with one magic therapy session.  It’s an ongoing process that involves being on the right meds and seeing a shrink sometimes multiple times a week.  How, Colby was magically cured really pressed a lot of buttons.

6) Characterization My Ass:  All of these characters felt fake.  And I think that was a contributing factor why everything else sucked.  If you can’t have decent characters then the rest of the book is going to fall a part.  As I mentioned before, all the characters in this book seemed to be have shit come out of their mouth whenever it concerned sensitive subject issues.  Even so called “good” characters, like Ryan, were horrible.  I mean, how can someone be coined a sweetheart that takes a video of his cousin getting dressed and makes fun of her because of her size.  That is NOT okay.  So not okay.  Just like the whole mother character telling Colby she’s not worth anything because she’s overweight and everyone hating Colby because she’s fat.  Seriously.

I  could continue, but at this point I’m not.  I’ve already have ranted over a thousand words on this piece of shit and it’s not worth a thousand words.  It’s not even worth five.  I do not recommend this book to anyone.  Not even my worst enemy.  You’ll feel horrible after reading it.  It makes you hate humanity.  For this first read of 2014, I’m giving this book fucking no stars (F).

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13 thoughts on “This Book is a Fucking Disaster: Big Fat Disaster by Beth Fehlbaum

  1. I actually marked this book as DNF, because I just couldn’t really handle it anymore. I just felt so frustrated by reading this book. Really frustrated. And I read your rage, and I am happy I didn’t continue, because some parts I didn’t know that would happen (rape etc.) I stopped at 22% or so.

    (I must admit that I do really like the cover, really)

    • I almost, almost marked it DNF myself. I think I just read on for the sheer curiosity after awhile. As you can see, the last half was even worst than the half. Like you, I did like the cover. I think it’s one of the few covers I’ve seen where the heroine is real size where they actually use a real size model. Though that cupcake did look a bit depressing, might be because the cupcake shop I go to won Cupcake Wars.

  2. Pingback: Big Fat Disaster by Beth Fehlbaum - Review | Never Too Fond of BooksNever Too Fond of Books

  3. I only wish I had seen your review before requesting this book on NetGalley. I ended up DNFing it at 19% after the mother (if you can call her that) called her own daughter a big fat disaster to her other child. The fat shaming, victim blaming and all the other repugnant behavior was too much for me. I had to save my own sanity on this one, else the book hulk would be coming out in me too. Ugh. I don’t usually write reviews on books I DNF, but there’s a pretty good chance I will be making an exception for this one. I was actually slated to participate in a promo blitz for this but I just emailed the company that organized it because I cannot, in good faith, promote this book on my blog. I’ve never done that before. That’s how angry this book made me.

  4. Love this review!! Being someone that has dealt with weight (even though I’m not overweight), my mother being a narcissist, and major depression issues I reward you for speaking up and against this type of book. You’re totally right you cannot just take two therapy sessions and be A Ok! I’m a pretty happy gal after four years of working on myself and two of those years on antidepressants and there are STILL days when I wake up and just do not want to get out of bed and cannot find any happiness in life. It’s hard and it sucks. I’m not overweight but I’ve struggled with my weight and I also hate when authors treat it like it is some kind of annoyance that can easily be fixed if only we would stop shoving Twinkies in our mouths, or started shoving fingers down our throats. I ache for our children’s future with this kind of literature out there…

    Fabulous review! Love your attitude and willingness to speak up for something you don’t like. I need to learn that! Definitely a new follower 😀

    • Thanks. I’m sorry you had to go through all that. I actually saw this book the other day when I was at Barnes and Noble’s I couldn’t help but cringe. You know a book left a bad impression when you’re still cringing at it almost a half a year later from when you actually read it.

      • All that made me who I am today! The depression is the worst part of it but I work through that daily. It helps that I have a hubby who understands!! Oh yeah… still cringe worthy definitely equals bad news! Horrible but at the same time hilarious.

  5. Pingback: Motion to Forget: Winterspell by Claire Legrand | Howdy YAL!

  6. Pingback: Bookish Highlights of the Year: Where I go Over a Year in Books | Howdy YAL!

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