Published: April 19th, 2016 (first published 2007)
by: St. Martin’s Griffin
Genres: YA, Non Fiction, Memoir, Mental Health
My Rating: 4 Stars
It’s 1989 and Rae Earl is a fat, boy-mad 17-year-old girl, living in Stamford, Lincolnshire with her mum and their deaf white cat in a council house with a mint green bathroom and a refrigerator Rae can’t keep away from. She’s also just been released from a psychiatric ward. My Mad Fat Diary is the hilarious, harrowing and touching real-life diary Rae kept during that fateful year and the basis of the hit British television series of the same name now coming to HULU. Surrounded by people like her constantly dieting mum, her beautiful frenemy Bethany, her mates from the private school up the road (called “Haddock”, “Battered Sausage” and “Fig”) and the handsome, unattainable boys Rae pines after (who sometimes end up with Bethany…), My Mad Fat Diary is the story of an overweight young woman just hoping to be loved at a time when slim pop singers ruled the charts. Rae’s chronicle of her world will strike a chord with anyone who’s ever been a confused, lonely teenager clashing with her parents, sometimes overeating, hating her body, always taking herself VERY seriously, never knowing how positively brilliant she is and keeping a diary to record it all. My Mad Fat Diary – 365 days with one of the wisest and funniest girls in England.
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher, for review consideration. All opinions are my own.*
Whenever I read nonfiction, I always end up enjoying whatever it is I’m reading. I have to wonder why I don’t read a lot of it. I had no idea this book existed until it showed up in my mailbox. My Mad Fat Diary is a little sad and a whole lot funny. It makes for an entertaining read.
In this diary/memoir, Rae Earl chronicles her life at a time when she wanted to be loved and lose weight. It starts out just as she’s gotten released from a psychiatric ward, and we get to step in her shoes through the pages. I empathized with her throughout, and I also laughed a lot. She spends her days pining for a boyfriend, and hanging with her friend at the local pub. There’s not an actual plot since this is a diary, but there’s a lot to cover as Rae struggles with her weight and insecurities.
At the beginning of this book, Rae explains a lot of words and phrases for readers who don’t understand British slang. Very helpful, because I laughed at the appropriate time, when I otherwise would have been confused. Her mom is really something. No judgement here, she’s just an interesting woman. Her love/hate relationship with Bethany brought back memories of my school days. We all know 2 girls who are frenemies, and one of them always tries to outdo the other.
I enjoyed this, and I really want to get my Hulu on to watch the show. This is nonfiction, but lovers of mental health, body image, and social themes would love this. Definitely recommend!