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The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things

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Overview

An overweight teen is sure that she’s the weakest link in her high-powered family - until her handsome, athletic, star-student brother has a shocking fall from grace.

Fifteen-year-old Virginia Shreves has a larger-than-average body and a plus-size inferiority complex. She lives on the Web, snarfs junk food, and follows the "Fat Girl Code of Conduct." Her stuttering best friend has just moved to Walla Walla (of all places). Her new companion, Froggy Welsh the Fourth (real name), ...

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The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things

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Overview

An overweight teen is sure that she’s the weakest link in her high-powered family - until her handsome, athletic, star-student brother has a shocking fall from grace.

Fifteen-year-old Virginia Shreves has a larger-than-average body and a plus-size inferiority complex. She lives on the Web, snarfs junk food, and follows the "Fat Girl Code of Conduct." Her stuttering best friend has just moved to Walla Walla (of all places). Her new companion, Froggy Welsh the Fourth (real name), has just succeeded in getting his hand up her shirt, and she lives in fear that he’ll look underneath. Then there are the other Shreves: Mom, the successful psychologist and exercise fiend; Dad, a top executive who ogles thin women on TV; and older siblings Anaïs and rugby god Byron, both of them slim and brilliant. Delete Virginia, and the Shreves would be a picture-perfect family. Or so she’s convinced. And then a shocking phone call changes everything.

With irreverent humor, insight, and surprising gravity, Carolyn Mackler creates an endearingly blunt heroine whose story will speak to every teen who struggles with family expectations - and serve as a welcome reminder that the most impressive achievement is to be true to yourself.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A "chubby" New York City teen faces pressures from her family to get thin, and her brother is suspended from college on charges of date rape. "The heroine's transformation into someone who finds her own style and speaks her own mind is believable-and worthy of applause," according to PW. Ages 14-up. (July) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781419303067
  • Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC
  • Publication date: 8/17/2004
  • Series: The Enola Holmes Series
  • Format: Cassette
  • Edition description: Unabridged
  • Age range: 14 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Carolyn Mackler is the author of the acclaimed young adult novel LOVE AND OTHER FOUR-LETTER WORDS, which was an American Library Association Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers and an International Reading Association Young Adult Choice. Her fiction and nonfiction have appeared in numerous publications, including SEVENTEEN, GIRLS' LIFE, TEEN PEOPLE, and GLAMOUR. Of THE EARTH, MY BUTT, AND OTHER BIG ROUND THINGS, she says, "So many of us feel like we don’t quite fit in with the rest of the world, that we’re inferior to others in some way. But things happen. Bad things happen. And many of us end up learning the difficult but important lesson that the people we idolize may not be all they’re cracked up to be. And guess what? We’re not so bad after all!"

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Read an Excerpt

From THE EARTH, MY BUTT, AND OTHER BIG ROUND THINGS

Sunday morning. My parents return from Connecticut early because Dad has to leave for a business trip to Chicago this afternoon. I’m sitting on the couch, watching TV and chewing my fat-free nails. They say hi to me and then Mom goes into the kitchen to make a smoothie.

A moment later she appears in the living room again.

"Virginia, I’m so proud of you," she says.

I mute the volume. It’s not every day I hear "Virginia" and "proud" in the same sentence.

"Why?"

"I just saw those pictures you stuck on the fridge."

Mom, meet the Food Police.

Mom continues. "You want to hear something funny?"

I nod.

"Back when I was . . ." - Mom pauses - ". . . a teenager, I put images of models on my family’s fridge, to keep me from eating too much."

"Really?"

Mom nods. "Like mother, like daughter."

As she heads back into the kitchen, I pump the volume on the TV again.

Since when did Mom become Ms. Observant Parent? A few weeks ago, I got an A+ on a language arts paper about ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF SOLITUDE by Gabriel García Márquez. I even managed to include two mentions of "ostracism" and three of "oppression," so my teacher gobbled it up. I stuck it to the fridge with a few magnets, hoping Mom - a big Márquez fan - would say something, but she never seemed to notice.

So how is it that she’s in the apartment seven minutes and already spots the Food Police?

Oh well. I should probably look on the bright side of things.

Mom has never said like mother, like daughter to me before.

And that in itself is worth one hundred years of hunger.
__________________

THE EARTH, MY BUTT, AND OTHER BIG ROUND THINGS by Carolyn Mackler. Copyright (c) 2003 by Carolyn Mackler. Published by Candlewick Press, Inc., Cambridge, MA.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 220 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(157)

4 Star

(40)

3 Star

(13)

2 Star

(3)

1 Star

(7)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 220 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 20, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    AMAZING!!! READ!!!!

    This book is wonderful. It keeps you interested and you never know what will happen next. Throughout the book it shows the struggles that an overwieght teenager overcomes. She has to deal with mean classmates, family drama, and her mother stressing her about her wieght. This book is not really for anyone below the age of 12 years old. It has some interesting parts in it that are not appropriate. I love this book because i can relate to it. The Earth My Butt and Other Round Things really caught my eye, by the name of course. I was so glad that i picked it up. At times i couldnt put the book down. I really reccomend you to read this. It is an amazing book.

    15 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 19, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    You have to read this!!!!

    I was at my school library and I picked this up because the cover was pink and grey and I am the type of person that picks up a book if it has a pretty color. I really wasn't planning on reading this book but one day I had no choice because if we didn't take something out to read we were going to get in trouble so I started reading this and I didn't put it back down! No one had ever read the book, I was the first one and so I had like 2 other girls asking me to lend them this book when I was finished! This book was really popular among girls in my 6th grade year!

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2012

    Great read

    I love this biok i can realy relate because i have a wieght problem my self ( and i have a big butt)

    5 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    The earth, My butt and Other big Round things

    The book, "the earth, my butt and other big round things was a captivating book that lures the reader in. An overweight girl named Ginny has some issues with finding herself during her sophomore year of high school. Ginny is forced to overcome many tough challenges involving her older brother, now a freshman in college, her weight issue, her sister out of the country and her absent parents constantly trying to push her to be something she is not. With her best friend in Washington, she feels like she is alone, so she resorts to her friend Froggy, who in his own ways makes her feel better every Monday. That soon ends, but her best friend has just invited her to go and spend thanksgiving with her family, Ginny's parents say no, but instead Ginny revolts and buys her ticket anyways. While with her best friend she goes on to die her hair purple and pierce her eyebrow, clearly revolting against her normal, typical life style. When returning home her mother reacts harshly, barely speaking to her, while in school she receives much praise for her new change. At the end of the book, Ginny finds herself and who she wants to be. This book is solely about one finding the courage to stand out and be different, even if you may be self-conscious. The book portrayed the life of a teenager going through the tough years of high school very well, with the rumors and the "popular group", but when at the end of the book, Ginny begins to stand out it happens quite fast and this seemed surreal. She all of a sudden had all this confidence when in reality she had been quiet and shy just a couple days before. Though the book was not as realistic as it could have been it was a great book and taught many valuable lessons about high school and finding you initial self, this book is a fascinating and entertaining book to read.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 10, 2009

    Living in a thick world?

    Imagine that your life is full of perfect people, people who dress proper, have million of friends, always have something interesting to say or are simply on top of the world day after day but yet you don't seem to fit in. That's the story of Virginia Shreves, a high school girl whose family is very successful considering her dad is an executive ogle who searches for thin woman on TV and her mom is a psychologist who is obsessed with weight. Her brother Byron and her sister Anais are both successful and fit but she feels like she is the fly in the soup or more like it, a fat cockroach. Virginia is thicker than most average high school girls. Although she is quiet and very shy she has a secret crush on her friend Froggy Welsh the Fourth. They sneak around in her room sometimes after school but even after all that time she's always been terrified by the simple thought of him looking under her shirt. Virginia has a weight problem therefore she lives under the "Fat Girl Code of Conduct." She lives depress as she feels ostracized from everyone around keeping in mind that her best friend moved away to Walla Walla. It's obvious that no one has stopped and thought about her well being and everyone lives in their own world. Until one day something changed everything abruptly and the perfect family picture came crushing down. It was then when she realized that she don't have a weight problem, people have a problem with her weight.

    5 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2009

    YAY! I LOOOOOVE THIS BOOK!

    Virginia Shreves is a larger-than-average teenage girl who invented the "Fat Girl Code Of Conduct." Her best friend Shannon, one of her only friends, moves to Walla Walla, Washington and Virginia has to deal with lots of struggles while she is gone. In the book Virginia Shreves hates going to school because everybody in her school is super skinny, and she is bigger than the rest of them. Shannon, her best friend moves to Washington and buys Virginia a shirt. Froggy Welsh is one of her guy friends. He is a really big jock. All the girls like him, and Virginia and Froggy has things going on. Virginia is afraid that Froggy will get up her shirt. Virginia's mom is a very successful adolescent physiologist and her Dad is always jet-setting in Connecticut, so her parents are never home. Her parents are always driving her brother and her sister places and never has time for Virginia. The family was going great until Virginias brother called home and said he was kicked out of school. =]This book was really good, especially for teenagers because they might relate to this book. This book was so amazing! I loved it a lot. This book is really funny. It truly kept me hooked in the book and I don't like reading. It was hard to put the book down and stop reading. I've never done that with a book before.

    4 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 25, 2011

    Anonomous

    Awesome book!

    read this now!

    3 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 20, 2009

    The Earth My Butt and Other Big Round Things

    Have you ever read the book The Earth My Butt and Other Big Round Things? If not, this may be a book for you.
    The Earth My Butt and Other Big Round Things is about a girl who has weight, relationship, and family problems. When Virginia has her first serious relationship it all falls apart. When Virginia's brother goes to school he gets in trouble and has to go back home and live with his parent and sister. The goal is to teach teens about some of the problems they may face as a teenager.
    The Earth My Butt and Other Big Round Things is an awesome book I think you should take the chance and read it. When I read The Earth My Butt and Other Big Round Things I thought it was a very entertaining and humorous book, in fact I read it in two days!

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 11, 2008

    Great Connecting Story

    This book is a brilliant way of connecting real life with stories. A story about a teen that is struggling with her weight and social life it tells about how everybody struggles and ways of getting through it are everywhere you just need to look. Some of her problems I think a lot of teens can connect to the problem with communication with family really relatable. I was not a fan of the ending in this book. It kind of just left me hanging and waiting for this great ending to a great book but that just didn¿t happen.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2014

    I LOVE THIS BOOK

    Don't be turned off by the first chapter or two. The story starts off with Virginia fooling around with a boy she hardly knows, however that is not at all what this story is about! I absolutely loved this book and literally could not put it down. I read it all in one night! I recommend this book to any teenage girls (probably 13+ because of the relationship part of it). This story is very easy to relate to for girls with low self esteem or family lives that don't seem ideal. This book is an absolute must read, I would read it again in a heartbeat!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 10, 2012

    I do not see why this is banned

    I have read an interview with the author, and she seemed quite upset. In our world where society forces girls into thinking they are ugly and fat, this book is a refreshing read about a girl who is happy in her own skin. Screw the people that banned this, it is perfect.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 10, 2013

    WOW

    I would reccomend this book for 13-and up. It's funny and interesting,2 things that I love in books!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 13, 2012

    This book is about Virginia Shreeves, a freshman in highschool w

    This book is about Virginia Shreeves, a freshman in highschool who deals with everyday things. Boys, Homework, and Mean Girls. Something else she has to deal with though? Her weight. Her family is no help either considering both of her older siblings are some of the most well-known people at her school when they attended, and her mom and dad expect the same thing from her. Also, her bestfriend and only bestfriend just moved to Walla Walla, Washington! You learn about what she has to deal with for her freshman year and how she gets through it all. I loved this book! I like the story line behind it and how the author wrote it. Every chapter ended well and it kept on making you want to read on and on. I would recommend this book to anyone over the age of 13 because some parts get really graphic and aren’t appropriate for kids under the age of 13!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 17, 2010

    Great book!

    I loved this book. It's a funny girly book. I think every girl with any sort of sell esteem issue should take the time to read this book< I found it to be a real eye opener.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    go Virginia!

    I'll confess. I bought this book because of it's amusing title. But I'd read and enjoyed a couple of Mackler's other books so I pretty much knew what to expect. I was not disappointed.

    The heroine of this story, 15 year old Virginia Shreves, is overweight and has major self confidence issues. She doesn't fit in with the rest of her family, who are slim and popular over-achievers. Everything changes for Virginia when she learns that her older brother, who she worships, is suspended from Columbia University for doing something pretty horrible. Virginia's earth shatters but she learns a great deal about her family and herself.

    This book really comes from the heart. Virginia is a character a girl could really sympathize with. Publisher's Weekly says, "The heroine's transformation into someone who finds her own style and speaks her own mind is believable - and worthy of applause." When I read this it was just what I was in the mood for. A nice quick read with a happy ending.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2008

    An outstanding book

    Hannah Gilbert Mrs. Maxon 4th hour Have you ever felt fat? Like fit into a pair of jeans one day and the next day not fit? Well this is how Virginia Shreves feels all the time. She eats lunch in the bathroom, her best friend is a teacher now that her best friend has moved to Washington. Throughout the The Earth, my Butt, and Other Big Round Things Virginia struggles with losing weight, breaking up and getting back together with her boyfriend, and one startling call about her brother. I absolutely fell in love with this book! From the first page until the last, I was walking in Virginia's shoes and going through everything she was going through. I was so sad when the book ended and wish there were a sequel. I guaranty you will love this amazing book about love, friendship, pain and courage. I know I did!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 25, 2006

    you gotta read this amazing book!

    Do you ever feel like an outcast? Fifteen year old Virginia Shreves has a larger than average body. Her mom is an exercise fiend and her dad is always busy playing in golf championships or jet- setting. What's more is that her brother and sister are perfect and slim. Virginia feels that her family would be perfect without her. Her mom is always pressuring her to lose weight. Her anxiety leads her to minor acts of self-mutilation. She lives by the 'Fat girl code of conduct.' This code basically tells her that she's worthless. A call from his brother's school changes everything. Bryon is suspended from college and Virginia starts to see her and her family in different light. This book is really realistic and talks about how Virginia lives her life without any friends. Everything happens so fast. Some problems in this book are very common in the everyday life. I think that this is a really good book of most teens I was hooked from the very beginning because there isn't a big intro. It just gets right into the book and starts off with her and her boyfriend kissing. It's a book for all teenage girls to read and realize that everyone is different in all sorts of ways and to just accept it. This work of teen fiction is different then most because it talks about Virginia who has a larger than average body. I would recommend this to girls from the ages of ten and up. Go right to your nearest book store and buy this book now!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 30, 2006

    Must read for teen girls

    I often read my daughter's books, and am sometimes pleasantly surprised - this book was one such time. I was pleased with the honesty that Carolyn Mackler approached Virginia's feelings about her weight, and her attempt to deal with the real life problems she and her family faced. Hopefully teens walk away from reading the book knowing that it is never a good thing to idealize peers and even parents to the point of not seeing their faults, and learn to recognize that everyone must deal with adversity at some point in life, and how one deals with problems when they occur will shape and define one's character.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2006

    AWESOME BOOK

    this book portrays virginia, a 'fat' newyork girl trying to live up to her family's standard....in the biginning. but what i like about this book is the way she learns to be herself even if it disappoints her mom. she gives overweight girls like me every where new insight on how to get over our insecurities.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2006

    i loved this book!

    ¿ The Earth, My But, And Other Big Round Things,¿ is a very well written book that explains some of the troubles that a teenage girl goes through. Carolyn Mackler wrote about main character, Virginia Shreeves, who is over-weight and has deal with ridicule throughout her life. She¿s not accepted by the kids at school, her brother is rude to her, her mom wants a perfect family, her dad never pays attention to her, her sister is never around much, and her best friend Shannon moved away. On top of that, she has to deal with sneaking around her parents so she can be with a boy named Froggy every Monday after school. Eventually Virginia breads free of her struggles when she goes to visit Shannon in Walla Walla, Washington where she gets her eyebrow pierced. It makes her feel independent and more self-confident. Through this, Virginia overcomes some of her biggest insecurities and learns to accept herself. Virginia writes what she calls that ¿Fat-Girl¿ code of conduct. This basically excludes her from anything such as nice clothes, and a social life. When her friend Shannon invites up her up to Washington her mom refuses to let her go. Virginia gets very mad and eventually buys the non-refundable plane tickets with her own money so she can up to see Shannon. Her mom is furious. Virginia decided on her trip with Shannon that she was going to break free of the Shreeves family ¿reputation¿ of having a perfect life by piercing her eyebrow, while Shannon pierces her tongue. Once Virginia comes back, her mom sees her eyebrow and is extremely mad. Virginia however, refuses to take it out. ¿I¿ll tell you what¿s ¿ fun in my life.¿ (Mackler 184) Virginia refuses because she really wants to have fun being her own person even if her mom can¿t approve. At this point, Virginia finally learns to accept herself just the way she is. Another violation of Virginia¿s fat girl code of conduct is to never talk to a popular girl. Once Virginia gets her eyebrow pierced, and goes back to school, the popular girls finally start talking to her. ¿People who I never thought¿been happening at all.¿ (Mackler 181-182) Suddenly Virginia has new friends who can accept her for who she is and not what she looks like. Popular people finally will talk to her as well as Froggy, who now talks to her in public. Virginia feels so self-confident that she makes her own web page called ¿Earth Quack.¿ This is a web page where students can express how they feel on any subject. In the end, everything works out for Virginia, and Froggy finally notices her. This book teaches you to become comfortable with the way you are. I really enjoyed this book because it teaches you to accept yourself and not care so much about what other people thin of you. You should try to be your own independent person, and not goes go with the crowd. We all have things about ourselves that we don¿t especially like, but if we learn to accept them, like Virginia did, then you can become comfortable with who you are.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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