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by Stephanie Klein

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Stephanie Klein was an eighth grader with a weight problem. It was a problem at school, where the boys called her "Moose," and it was a problem at home, where her father reminded her, "No one likes fat girls." After many frustrating sessions with a nutritionist known as the fat doctor of Roslyn Heights, Long Island, Klein's parents enrolled her for a summer at fat

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Stephanie Klein was an eighth grader with a weight problem. It was a problem at school, where the boys called her "Moose," and it was a problem at home, where her father reminded her, "No one likes fat girls." After many frustrating sessions with a nutritionist known as the fat doctor of Roslyn Heights, Long Island, Klein's parents enrolled her for a summer at fat camp. Determined to return to school thin and popular, without her "lard arms" and "puckered ham," Stephanie embarked on a memorable journey that would shape more than just her body. It would shape her life.

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Chapter One

Baby fat

"you need to gain fifty pounds," Mimi said as she plotted my weight on her medical chart. Certainly, I'd heard the words "need" and "gain" cobbled together in a sentence about my weight before. Though they were usually words in my own head and were always assembled a bit differently: "You gain any more weight and you'll need to hire someone to help you find your vagina." Mimi's new arrangement of the verbs was far more distressing.

I was standing on a scale in the medical offices of the Texas Perinatal Group. It was one of many appointments with Mimi, my preventa­tive preterm labor specialist. My obstetrician had mandated these weekly visits upon learning I was pregnant with twins. Multiples tend to be in a hurry, he'd said as he scrawled Mimi's contact information on his prescription pad.

If I gained fifty pounds I'd weigh more than a Honda. And certainly more than my husband, which was worse.

"You're just not gaining enough," Mimi continued as she leafed through papers on her clipboard.

"Yeah, but I've got time," I said, shooing away her concern with my hand. "And I hear it all comes on in the last month anyway."

"Stephanie," she whispered, in an alarmingly real way that made my name sound like an object, "you're nearly six months pregnant. With twins. And you've only gained thirteen pounds."

I didn't know what to say. I didn't want to hurt my sweet babies, but I was frightened of getting any fatter. As it was, prepregnancy, I'd been twenty pounds heavier than my "happy weight"—that brilliant place where clothes shopping was enjoyable, reunion eventswere eagerly anticipated, and thin white pants seemed to be my most flattering choice. Medically speaking, before there were two pink lines, I'd been just seven pounds shy of being classified as overweight. And now I was being asked to play patty-cake with the idea of smearing on some excess plump.

Please. I might have been bordering overweight, but my dimpled ass was far from dumb. Pregnancy-brain hadn't rendered me completely useless. I'd done my research, relying on my proficient medical expert (ahem, Google), so I knew if a woman began her pregnancy overweight, as I nearly had, she should restrict her calories and gain little to no weight during pregnancy.

Despite this, I was being urged to pack on the pounds, and I was downright leery.

"Oh, yeah, sure. Eat all you want," Mimi would say now, and once I was accustomed to eating donut pudding for breakfast, I was sure she'd say, "Mmm, yeah, about that. You didn't think I was serious?"

"I'm trying," I said, stepping from the scale and returning to the chair where I'd set my clothes. With her back still turned, Mimi slid open the white drawers beside the chrome sink, peeking through each one. I faced a wall of baby announcements and hiked up my shorts. Ordinarily she left the room while I changed, but I wanted to save time and get the hell out.

When I turned around, she was still foraging. I yanked a thin shred of skin from my lip and felt calmer now that I tasted blood.

"Here it is," she said of a pamphlet outlining dietary guidelines for women carrying multiples.

"You gave it to me last week," I said, taking it anyway. "And I really am trying." Mimi glared at me as if to say the thirteen pounds I'd gained wasn't all placenta, amniotic fluid, and baby weight; it was thirteen pounds of bullshit.

"Is that what you think skim milk is? That's not trying. You need the extra calories from higher-fat dairy."

I hoped to be one of those chic pregnant women who could pull off cap sleeves and pencil skirts, ruched camisoles, or a tube dress. But my arms looked like tubers, and everything I wore made me look like a Mallomar. I figured the babies would take what they needed from my body, so the only one who'd suffer would be me. And I didn't care if my health was compromised if it meant my lard arms might make it out leaner. I refused to fall into that I can gorge now mind-set just because I was pregnant. "You're eating for three now" was a myth I wasn't about to choke down with my DHA and prenatal vitamins.

"It's not like I'm starving myself. I'm full all the time." I never skipped breakfast, drank far too many protein shakes, and layered my salads with white meat, low-fat pasteurized cheeses, and chopped egg whites. I ate healthier than I ever had on any diet.

"You have to force yourself to eat more."

"But I'm not hungry," I said, stretching open the nutritional accordion she'd handed me.

"It doesn't matter if you're hungry or not." I couldn't believe someone in the medical community was instructing me to ignore my body's signals and force myself to eat, even if I was full. "Are you exercising?" she asked as she watched me scoot into my sneakers.

"No, you'll be happy to know that I'm still a lazy piece of shit."

"Well, good. That's what I want to hear. The more rest the better."

I'd read articles warning women against gaining too much during pregnancy, how overindulging would make it harder to shed the excess weight after birth. Overweight mothers were at an increased risk for developing gestational diabetes and high blood pressure. Articles with titles like "Preparing for the Marathon of Labor" emphasized the importance of keeping fit. And here was Mimi emphasizing rest. Actual lying down, feet-elevated rest, not just taking it easy.

"Mimi, you have no idea how hard this is for me." I'm fat as it is, I was about to say aloud, but I knew she'd start in about my distorted body image. She couldn't understand. Instead, almost apologetically, I lamented, "I used to be fat."

"Well, to look at you no one would ever know it."

No, I thought, I will never forget it.

Moose. Copyright © by Stephanie Klein. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Meet the Author

Blogger and author Stephanie Klein was born and raised in New York. She now lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and children.

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Moose 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 24 reviews.
David_Bremmerton More than 1 year ago
I really liked this book. It is well written and very moving. I love memoirs and this one is a great one.
Shari4 More than 1 year ago
Moose is an excellent book about the pains of being an overweight adolescent. Rather than being a sanctuary, Fat Camp is just as full of backstabbing and failures as the "normal" world. An absolutely brilliant piece of writing. Five stars!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I couldn't put this book down. I was a fat kid too and the stories here in this book just really resonated with me. I felt what she felt. I highly recommend this book.
NicAwesomeOle More than 1 year ago
Being an adolescent girl is hard, being a fat adolescent girl is even harder. There are few things in life as embarassing as being the fat kid. Everyone sees the class pictures, the lonely lunches and the sweat stained t-shirts in gym class. However, though as zoftig as she may be at home, she's one of the hot girls at fat camp, dozens of pounds lighter than most of the other campers. But all is not well at fat camp. There are social and sexual fumblings, as well as firsthand, backstabbing and breakups, as well as a triumphant weight loss and rumor-laden return home. Fat camp and Klein's 'big' childhood are put into perspective as Klein, a now pregnant-with-twins-woman, is told by her doctor that she has to gain weight. Klein takes readers into the trenches of the weight battle with Moose: A Memoir of Fat Camp. Readers that have sometimes been fat and those who are always fat will find a champion in Klein, or at least those who want to get thinner.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Moose is a very honest book, and Klein doesn't hold back. Though, if you have never been fat, you probably won't be able to relate or fully see where she is coming from. I was a fat kid, so every sentence I was just like, "YUP!" It helped me to see that I'm not the only one who has been through the weight struggles my whole life, and though it's a true story, I found Stephanie to be such an interesting person/character. She has her issues, but she grows with them in the end. I also don't recommend this book for anyone under 18, or anyone with eating disorders. Otherwise, a very easy book to read (yet, the writing is brilliant), and I would definitely recommend!
PiccoultFan More than 1 year ago
Great book! Of course, it helps if you are able to relate to the struggles of being overweight. I found this book very light and easy to read. I enjoyed the author's style of writing and overall just really enjoyed reading it. If you grew up overweight, most likely you will identify with the same struggles as the author.
lucydavenny More than 1 year ago
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Stephanie Klein fills her text with the understanding of how teens and kids can really be. I related to every word written and her clever and classic humor really does add a little extra to her view and outspoken opinions. Klein's witty, yet still intelligent metaphors make you sure of her fun, horrible, painful, and even heartbreaking experiences. Her personality shows through the text and it makes you feel like you're having a conversation with a real person, as if her talent in writing comes totally natural.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really disappointed in this book. Rather than being the inspirational story it could be, Klein's telling of her life as an overweight adolescent left me thinking "yeah, so what, we've all lived through tough times". Kids are kids, mean kids are mean kids. We all learn to deal with it in our own way. I got really irritated with Klein as she continually threw her parents under the bus on several occasions, placing blame on them for her own poor choices. Even near the end, when telling the story from an adult viewpoint, she doesn't take responsibility. Her rants left me wondering if any of her family members are even still speaking to her. My advice -- skip this one.
JoyinHim More than 1 year ago
That is my immediate reaction to the title of this book. I can identify with the picture on the cover! I wanted to find out what this girl thought and did and felt. Her experience in life, with a mother who thought she had a weight problem and insisted she do something about it, and her summer sojourns at fat camp are certainly not mine, but what an interesting story she has to tell. Camp is camp, Kids are kids, and weight issues are weight issues. So the book is a slice of life in those settings, but with a slant. Enjoyable, but not something I would give to an adolescent or a prepubescent girl. Funny in parts, touching in parts but a bitingly fresh look at fat girls, fat camps and that age that we never want to go back to.
Anonymous 9 months ago
First book in years I could NOT finish! Wasn't worth wasting my time, when there are so many good books out there.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Pads with them
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Heads back
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She nods. "We need to head back. I bet their hungry." She lifts the other side of the moose onto her back as rhey walk back
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
DaniDee327 More than 1 year ago
Fun, easy read. Really enjoyed it. An honest memoir of a girl and her life long struggle with how she views herself.
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RhondaVA More than 1 year ago
I thoroughly enjoyed this book! Highly recommend!
BooknutJD More than 1 year ago
One of the best books I've read in a long time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book was touching sensitive issues of growing up (and out). Some how body awareness becomes more mental than physical.