Losing It

( 2 )

Overview

Bennett Robinson loves baseball, especially watching Dodgers games with his dad while munching on burgers and fries - the perfect “game food.” Baseball even helped Bennett and his dad cope with his mom’s death from cancer. But there’s no way Bennett could ever play baseball. Bennett is fat, the kind of fat that gives you belly button sweat stains and makes it tough to get off a sagging couch. But on one perfect, baseball-watching day, everything changes. Bennett’s dad is taken away on a stretcher, and Bennett ...

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Overview

Bennett Robinson loves baseball, especially watching Dodgers games with his dad while munching on burgers and fries - the perfect “game food.” Baseball even helped Bennett and his dad cope with his mom’s death from cancer. But there’s no way Bennett could ever play baseball. Bennett is fat, the kind of fat that gives you belly button sweat stains and makes it tough to get off a sagging couch. But on one perfect, baseball-watching day, everything changes. Bennett’s dad is taken away on a stretcher, and Bennett doesn’t know if he will live or die. Now Bennett has to move in with know-it-all Aunt Laura, who’s making it her personal mission to Get Bennett Healthy - and take over his life. It’s time for Bennett to step up to the plate. Because maybe there are some things he can do . . . like talk to a girl, run a mile, and maybe even save his own life. Erin Fry explores the issue of obesity with heart, depth, and humor in this unforgettable debut novel.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In her first middle-grade novel, Fry, a PW contributor, pens a straightforward but heartfelt novel about an obese boy who joins his school's cross-country team. Since Bennett's mother died, he has lived alone with his similarly overweight father in a loving, but junk food–filled household. When Bennett's father has a stroke, the 13-year-old tells him, "you and me have some changes to make." Bennett goes to live with a nagging aunt, who puts him on a healthier diet and forces him to walk each morning, but Bennett's own desire to change motivates him to take action. Some characterizations are reductive—such as a bully who calls Bennett "Fat Boy," but has his own painful home life—and the story's trajectory has its predictable elements. Even so, readers will grasp the intensity of Bennett's fear about trying something so outside his comfort zone ("What if I try—I mean give it absolutely everything I have—and still fail?") and appreciate his tenacity as he does the hard work to get himself on track. Ages 10–up. Agent: Jill Corcoran, Herman Agency. (Sept.)
VOYA - Lucy Schall
Five-foot-four, 250-pound, soon-to-be eighth-grader Bennett and his four-hundred-plus pound father bury their grief over the death of Bennett’s mother in food. During their traditional Saturday pig-out and Dodgers television viewing, Bennett’s father suffers a near-fatal stroke. Bennett’s controlling and estranged aunt, Laura, takes over Bennett’s life during his father’s recovery. Surrounded with healthy food and exercise, Bennett begins a painful transformation that includes morning walks and runs with his uncle, healthy food, family bonding, confrontations with a school bully, and conflict with an overweight best friend who is threatened by Bennett’s change. Losing weight and gaining assertiveness, Bennett meets a girl and commits to the cross-country team. His own efforts encourage his father to recover. An unexpected cross-country race bonds him with his friend, team, and family. Bennett gradually takes responsibility for his feelings and problems. Aunt Laura pushes him to eat right and exercise, but he decides when to begin running, what food he will ultimately eat, how he will handle the school bully, and when and how he will commit to the team. Sometimes things fall together too smoothly and quickly in the plot, but the overall message is that small decisions lead to the resolution of problems we confront. Reminiscent of Lipsyte’s One Fat Summer (Harper & Row, 1977) and less gritty and exciting than Payback Time (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010/Voya December 2012) for older readers, it is a thoughtful choice for the obese or passive middle school reader. Ages 11 to 14.
Kirkus Reviews
Overweight eighth-grader Bennett receives a wake-up call when his obese father collapses with a stroke. Bennett doesn't deceive himself about the condition of his body. He knows he can't manage exercise and is addicted to junk food. But with his father hospitalized and emerging from a coma, he's taken in by his aunt and uncle. His uncle is a serious runner, and his aunt controls everything she can manage--and one of the things she's now decided to control is Bennett's obesity. Bennett, for himself and perhaps to model a healthier lifestyle for his father--though at first reluctantly--begins to cooperate with her overbearing management: initially a short walk, and then, ever so gradually, pushing himself to run. Readers will be rooting for this likable and determined teen as he bravely goes out for the track team, willing to suffer potential humiliation in order to rescue himself and his dad. He isn't helped in his efforts by his best friend, P.G., who views Bennett's new efforts as a betrayal of their friendship. Bennett's gradual weight loss and improving fitness don't come easily; his hard work is believably portrayed in his engagingly realistic voice. Fry's purposive debut is reminiscent of Chris Crutcher's works, but for a younger audience. An energizing and ultimately uplifting tale of the power to change. (Fiction. 10-15)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780761462200
  • Publisher: Amazon Childrens Publishing
  • Publication date: 9/4/2012
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 320,956
  • Age range: 10 - 14 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Erin Fry ran her first mile — gasping and barely shuffling — at age thirty-two. Since then she and her running shoes have become a dynamic duo, eventually conquering the L.A. Marathon together. When Erin’s not running, she’s often writing about running, coaching kids who like to run, or driving one of her three kids to cross-country practice. She is also a curriculum writer, book reviewer, kickboxing instructor, teacher, and proud founder of the Driving Divas car pool. Fat Boy is her first novel for middle-grade readers. She lives in Glendora, California, with her family.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 10, 2013

    Every once in a while you come across a book this good... Los

    Every once in a while you come across a book this good...

    Losing It is the story of a young boy who shares his dad's passion for baseball and junk food. But when his father suffers a stroke, Bennett is forced to move in with his aunt and her family. Bennett resents his situation almost as much as he resents his meddling aunt and her health-nut-tendencies. But he soon comes to realize that his poor eating habits, paired with his aversion to exercise, will not help him to live a happy and productive life.

    Genuine characters bring this story to life as young Bennett learns to find his inner strength along with the drive to succeed in ways he never dreamed were possible. You'll find yourself cheering for the "fat boy" as this unlikely hero conquers his weaknesses and fears and learns that sometimes it's OK to come in last.

    Author, Erin Fry, has succeeded in creating a truly magnificent work of youth fiction. Losing It is a triumph and a must-read for young audiences!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 31, 2013

    Losing It was fun and inspiring to read. My middle grader read i

    Losing It was fun and inspiring to read. My middle grader read it before me and absolutely loved it.

    Why kids will love it - Bennett is a great protagonist. He's a normal boy who has the same feelings and wishes that other kids do. What Bennett has to deal with is being overweight and not ending up like his dad. He also has to deal with friendship issues, girls and living with his aunt and her family and making some changes. All of these are situations many middle-graders also work through and they can be tough. Reading how Bennett survives the changes and readjusts to a new way of living is so inspiring. A very positive book!

    What I learned as a writer - Being honest and not sugar-coating situations is the way to go. Erin Fry really keeps things realistic and doesn't try to add too much to make the story sell. It feels very in touch with this age group.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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