“ Genre: Fiction / Author: Liza Palmer / Paperback / 304 Pages / Book is published 2006-04-24 by Hodder Paperbacks „
Maggie and Olivia have been best friends forever and have one major thing in common: they're both fat. That is until Olivia decides to have surgery and ends up a size 2 and with everything she's ever wanted. Maggie on the other hand remains unfulfilled. She works in a coffeeshop, with a monster boss and has never shifted the weight. Now with Olivia's wedding on the horizon the tension between the pair is strained. Can they stay best friends or is it the end of the road for the pair?
After reading the synopsis I thought the book was going to be written in the third-person, from both girls' point of view, so I was surprised to find it was actually written in the first person and is from Maggie's point of view. The first paragraph draws you right into Maggie's world and it's a very easy read after that.
Maggie makes a brilliant fat heroine. It's so nice to read of a heroine who is genuinely fat rather than a heroine who just thinks she's fat. I loved that we finally get a book about a fat girl as the main focus rather than as the best friend. I loved seeing it all from Maggie's eyes. It really showed how skinny people see fat people and it was really true to life. That IS how skinny peole see fat people. I hate to get on a pedestal of any kind but I hate the fat/skinny divide. (I'm not speaking as a skinny or a fat person, either.)
I thought Olivia's treatment of Maggie was terrible and again it showcases how it happens in real life. It seems that Olivia only wanted Maggie as maid-of-honour to make herself feel thinner than she already was. With friends like her, who needs enemies? What Maggie did in the end was truly justified. Olivia needed bringing down a peg or two and running up to the end of the book I hoped that Maggie would see Olivia for what she really was.
The other plot line seems to be Maggie's issues with herself as a fat girl. Not neccessarily because she's fat but more because she's not happy with herself period. She gets walked over for much of the book and I found it really great when she eventually stood up to all the mean people. Just because she might be fat doesn't mean she deserves to be treated like a doormat. I do admit though, I found the way Maggie constatly let herself get walked over irritating but I can see that Liza wrote that purposefully because that is just the way Maggie was; she didn't think she was worthy of being treated any better, I could see that. Reading about Maggie's decision to change her life was great. She didn't want to do anything drastic like Olivia did but she made a conscious decision to change her life and the way she was living it. Maggie knew she was living half a life as she was and eventually realised she had to change if she stood any chance of realising her dreams.
One thing I didn't like through-out the book was Maggie and Domenic's "relationship". It was neither here nor there through-out. I would have liked Domenic to be a bit more forward, because while their friendship developed more, I would have liked to also see their relationship itself evolve. It would have added another aspect to the story. I liked their interaction most of the time, don't get me wrong, I just didn't like how slow it all was.
I found Maggie's family life to be quite sweet. I loved the way everyone in her family rallied round her to support her and help her out. I thought the mother/daughter relationship worked really well and enjoyed the interaction between the two. My favourite character of Maggie's family was her sister Kate. She called a spade a spade and I loved how protective she was of Maggie, also. I also really liked Peregrine, who Maggie works with, she was like Kate in the way she told it like it was.
The ending, for me, was the best part because it finally clicked for Maggie just how much Olivia had changed. She'd gone from being a sweet, fat girl into a complete skinny cow and was just unlikeable. No best friend should treat a person the way Olivia treated Maggie. The thing that kept me hooked through-out the book was the writing. Liza's writing is superb and really kept me reading. There were a few times I wanted to strangle Maggie and give up entirely but Liza's writing kept me hooked and I realised that Maggie was a wonderful character. I was planning on giving the book a 3/5 because I though Maggie was like Marmite. I loved her dearly but I also truly hated her and I can't explain why, but the last half of the book really picked up for me and it's a well deserved 4. Conversations With The Fat Girl was a truly wonderful read and any fat person will undoubtedly see theirself in Maggie. I also have another of Liza's books on my shelf and look forward to reading it.