Friday, January 4, 2013

Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes by Chris Crutcher

From goodreads: Sarah Byrnes and Eric have been friends for years. When they were children, his fat and her terrible scars made them both outcasts. Later, although swimming slimmed Eric, she stayed his closest friend. Now Sarah Byrnes -- the smartest, toughest person Eric has ever known -- sits silent in a hospital. Eric must uncover the terrible secret she's hiding, before its dark currents pull them both under.
I was assigned this book in my YA Lit class last year. It isn't one I would have picked up on my own based on the title or cover. But it surprised me! This story was heart-wrenching and gripping. It was very reminiscent of high school and included themes of friendship, loyalty, abuse, self-esteem, and religion. I liked how Sarah Byrnes and Eric first became friends because they were both left out and made fun of. But even when Eric loses weight and makes more friends, he is admirable in the way he stayed loyal to Sarah Byrnes. He said, “I made it my life’s resolution to refuse any invitation that excluded Sarah Byrnes. Even though she rarely agreed to go anywhere with me, when I brought her name up, if one nose crinkled, I uninvited myself on the spot. That’s how I stay fat for her now.” This story is packed with statements to ponder.
All of us have insecurities about ourselves, and sometimes wish to put on a front to impress others. I loved when Eric said, “There is still a scared little fat boy inside me who is terrified of being seen. And I think if you’re going to be with somebody, you owe it to them to show yourself.” I think you owe it to yourself and to others to show the real you. You’ll end up in happier relationships if you’re true to yourself.
                A final quote I loved was “The point is, if you go around making things look different than what they are—and what everyone knows they are—nobody’s going to want to get close to you because they know you don’t tell the truth. You just have to tell the truth in a way people recognize.” I loved how Crutcher combined his work as a therapist and a writer to produce such a powerful story. This book really made me think twice about how I treat people. The point Crutcher made is that we're all dealing with heavy issues...some are just more visible than others, and we just need to accept and help one another get through life.

Rating: 4
Published: 3.2003
Content: Some language,  characters discuss topics of sex and abortion in a class


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