Losing It

Losing It

5.0 2
by Erin Fry
     
 

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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

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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:
9781477816684
Publisher:
Amazon Childrens Publishing
Publication date:
09/30/2014
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
261
Sales rank:
1,337,448
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range:
10 - 12 Years

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