One Fat Summer

( 39 )

Overview

For Bobby Marks, summer does not equal fun.

While most people are happy to take off their heavy jackets and long pants, Bobby can't even button his jeans or reach over his belly to touch his toes. Spending the summer at Rumson Lake is sheer torture.

This particular summer promises to be worse than usual. His parents can't stop fighting. His best friend, Joanie, goes home to New York City and won't tell him why. Dr. Kahn, a rich, stingy estate ...

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One Fat Summer

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Overview

For Bobby Marks, summer does not equal fun.

While most people are happy to take off their heavy jackets and long pants, Bobby can't even button his jeans or reach over his belly to touch his toes. Spending the summer at Rumson Lake is sheer torture.

This particular summer promises to be worse than usual. His parents can't stop fighting. His best friend, Joanie, goes home to New York City and won't tell him why. Dr. Kahn, a rich, stingy estate owner who hires him to manage an enormous lawn, is working him to death. And to top it off, a local bully won't stop torturing him.

Bobby is about to find out just how terrifying and exhilarating one fat summer can be.

An overweight fourteen-year-old boy experiences a turningpoint summer in which he learns to stand up for himself.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
This story of one boy's struggles in the summer of 1955 is a snapshot of 1950s culture. The boy must deal with low self-esteem and family relationships, in addition to racial prejudice. At age 14, Bobby weighs over 200 pounds. His best friend, Joanie, has a long crooked nose, and the two of them are very good at pretending that they do not hear the cutting remarks of their peers. Since Joanie has to be away for a large part of the summer, Bobby decides to get a job to keep him busy and to avoid the embarrassing swimming activities at day camp on Rumson Lake. While his lean, athletic father rides him about his weight and his mother coddles and protects him from everything, Bobbie dreams of being a writer. The book he is writing in his head will be called, The Secret Summer. His careful descriptions of his surroundings as he narrates the story reflect his talent: "The lawn spread out before him like a velvet green ocean it was so large." From the descriptions of his daydreams, his way of dealing with the extreme heat and exhaustion of the new job, to his real life encounters with bullies, this is a tale about being scared, doing the right thing, and doing something for oneself. Although his father shows confidence in Bobby's ability to lose weight, his father's anger over his mother's job outside the home is misdirected toward Bobby. He keeps his job a secret so that he doesn't have to hear his parents' constant worries. His older sister keeps his secret in exchange for his silence about her visits with her boyfriend. Bobby's perseverance in the face of continuous teasing by year-round roughnecks sets a good example for children striving to overcome feeling like a misfit. 1991 (orig.1977), HarperTrophy/HarperCollins, Ages 12 up.
—Rosemary A. Chase <%ISBN%>0064470733 <%ISBN%>0553143069 <%ISBN%>0553255916
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780064470735
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 8/28/2004
  • Edition description: REV
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 162,080
  • Age range: 13 - 17 Years
  • Lexile: 670L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 4.21 (w) x 6.90 (h) x 0.67 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert Lipsyte

Robert Lipsyte was an award-winning sportswriter for the New York Times and the Emmy-winning host of the nightly public affairs show The Eleventh Hour. He is the author of twelve acclaimed novels for young adults and is the recipient of the Margaret A. Edwards Award honoring his lifetime contribution in that genre. He lives in Manhattan and on Shelter Island, New York, with his wife, Lois, and his dog, Milo.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

I always hated summertime. When people take off their clothes. In winter you can hide yourself. Long coats, heavy jackets, thick sweaters. Nobody can tell how fat you really are. But in the summertime they can see your thick legs and your wobbly backside and your big belly and your soft arms. And they laugh.

I never would have gone to the Rumson Lake Community Association Carnival on the Fourth of July if it hadn't been cool enough that night to wear a long-sleeved knit shirt outside my pants. At the start of that summer, my fourteenth, I couldn't button the waist of any of my pants without getting a stomachache. I weighed more than 200 pounds on July 4th. I don't know exactly how much more because I jumped off the bathroom scale when the number 200 rolled up. The numbers were still climbing past the pointer when I bailed out.

I was tall for my age and I had large, heavy bones, so I didnt look like a circus freak. Just like a very fat boy. When my pants weren't strangling my belly, and if there were no scales or mirrors around, I could forget for a while that I was fat. But sooner or later there'd be someone around to remind me. The wise guys started up as soon as we got to the carnival, at Marino's Beach Club and Snack Bar.

"Hey, it's the Crisco Kid," yelled one of the older teenagers hanging around the snack bar.

"Why do you call him the Crisco Kid?" It sounded like a comedy routine. I knew what was coming.

"Because he's fat in the can."

They all laughed. My face got hot, but I pretended I hadn't heard. Rule number one:never let people know they can get to you or they'll never stop trying. Joanie pretended she hadn't heard, either.

"Look at that girl he's with. The nose knows."

"She's the one who blew the wind in."

I felt embarrassed for Joanie. Someday I'd wake up thin, I believed that. But poor Joanie was stuck with that nose for her whole life. It was long and crooked. The rest of her face was pretty, but who ever looked at the rest of her face?

"Hey, let's go to the booths," she said. "I feel lucky, tonight." Joanie was a terrific pretender, too.

It was early, there was still light in the sky and the crowds hadn't arrived yet. Strings of colored bulbs danced in the breeze off the lake. The jukebox was playing "Little White Cloud That Cried."

"There's that dumb song again," I said.

"It's not so bad, when you're in the mood," said Joanie.

"I'm only in the mood when I've got an umbrella."

"That's a joke, son," said Joanie. "It was only funny the first twenty-seven times you said it."

"Then how come you never laughed?"

"Ha-ha. Okay?"

Then we both laughed.

I've known Joaniesince we were three years old. Our parents were best friends. In the city we lived in the same apartment house and we were always in the same classes in school. Somewhere there's a picture of us taking a bath together when we were four. It's cute. I wasn't so fat then, and her nose wasn't so huge. Joanie and I not only grew up together, we grew out together. That's my joke, but I've never told it to her.

A few years ago, when my parents bought a summer house on Rumson Lake, her parents bought one, too. And after that we were together summer and winter. She taught me to dance, but I never danced with anyone except her. We did our homework together. When her father took her mother on a business trip, Joanie stayed at my house.

Joanie and I talked about almost everything; she was a great talker, but only with me. Otherwise she was shy. The only things in the world we didn't talk about were her nose and my fat. When we were alone together I felt thin, and I think she felt pretty. I guess that's why we were such good friends.

"Step right up, ladies and gentlemen, the wheel of fortune is spinning, spinning, spinning. For one thin dime you can win a beautiful doll to call your own." It was Pete Marino himself, as usual dressed in nothing except a little bathing suit and a St. Christopher medal around his neck. He was pointing at us. "Now here's a couple of gamblers. Step right up, folks, you look lucky to me. "

"Let's go try the ringtoss," I said. Muscles like Pete Marino's gave me a stomachache. Cannonball muscles with big blue veins over them. I didn't have any muscles, and my veins were buried in fat.

Joanie slapped a dime on number fourteen.

"I thought six was your lucky number."

"Not anymore. My age is my lucky number now."

"Round and round it goes, where it stops nobody knows," chanted Pete Marino. He was waving his arms at the wheel and doing a little dance. He must have known how all the muscles on his back twitched and jumped under his smooth bronze skin.

"He's not conceited," I said. "He's convinced."

"C'mon, he's very nice," said Joanie. But then she looked at me. "He's not as smart as you, though."

"The wheel is slowing down, soon we'll have a winner. Who's it gonna be?" He turned around, grinning. He had big white teeth, like Chiclets, and curly golden hair. He looked like a movie star. "Who'll be the lucky one?"

One Fat Summer. Copyright © by Robert Lipsyte. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 39 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(25)

4 Star

(13)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 39 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 3, 2012

    read this book in junior high school so many years ago! it's 1 o

    read this book in junior high school so many years ago! it's 1 of my favorites

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 30, 2012

    One Fat Summer

    It was really good i think everyone should look at this author or read one of his books one fat summer is a amazing book

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 22, 2011

    Very Good Book...

    Upon reading this, I loved it! I read it in about a week and loved every page. It is very descriptive and I felt as if I was right along Bobby, the main character.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 30, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    I am a Sixth grade Studen in Glendale, Arizona

    The book titled One Fat Summer by Robert Lipsyte was one of the best books I have read this quarter. One of the main characters, Bobby, a protagonist, is quite a fluffy kid, but has a kind heart. Another main character is Dr. Kahn, the snooty, rich, estate owner. Lastly, we have Willie, the mega antagonist. Willie is the big jerk who tortures Bobby all summer. The plot consists of an over-weight American boy named Bobby who applies for a job mowing lawns for Dr. Kahn. However, Willie also goes for the job, and is seriously mad that Bobby gets the job instead. Thus, he assumes he now has the right to bully Bobby, and does some heinous things. In the end, it's a win for Bobby, and a deserving loss for Willie. The following weeks, Bobby and parents are out clothes shopping, and Bobby finds out that he lost a whole lot of weight! Maybe that terrible mowing job wasn't so bad after all.? The setting of One Fat Summer is in the season of summer, and in present day. Quite a bit of the story revolves around Rumson Lake and Dr. Kahn's lawn. The theme is something like, "Don't judge people by sight, get to know them beforehand." In my opinion, this story was amazingly well done. I think this because, of all the books I've read, this one, so far, is the only one that has ever been this close to real life. A chubby boy being tortured by some person who thinks they have the right to walk all over him. This story just, it captures the essence of bullying, but a litlt e to much. Let's hope there is never another man like Willie! A connection I've had to deal with is that I was a little chubby when I was around six or so (my grandma fed me too much cookies!), and so I was bullied. But the problem was ceased immediately by the teacher. Another connection is the bullying of the world, along with the wars. Pepole pick fights for no reason at school, and it just reminded me of the bbok, and how not everyone is as brave as Bobby. Related books to this wondorous story are Outcast by Christopher Golden and Thomas E. Sniegoski. Anothwe is Suddenly Supernatural by Elizabeth C. Kimmel. I chose these books because the both featured and "outcast" similar to Bobby, but for very different reasons.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 27, 2009

    One Big Fat Summer

    Book Review Outline
    Book title and author: One Big Fat Summer
    Title of review:
    Number of stars (1 to 5): 3

    Introduction
    A kid name Bob who's trying lose weight by mowing lawns as well as earning money so people would stop making fun of him.
    I think this would be a good story for teenagers that are overweight. The author is trying to say every body is different you don't have to be doing what other people do and don't let them get in your head by talking bad about you.

    Description and summary of main points
    Bob is a fourteen year old boy who wants' to try to be skinny and able to fit in with his peers. He mows lawns to earn money and to loose weight so he could fit in with others. He wants to make friends and become popular. He to be able to buy thing's that he wants' for him and his friend's. He meet's this old man who try's to help him out of his situation.
    Evaluation


    Conclusion


    Your final review

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2008

    Feel good story

    One Fat Summer, although somewhat dated in places, is a good story about the pressures one kid faces due to his obesity. Written in the 1st person, you get a good sense of what runs through Bobby's mind as he's being taunted and ridiculed by his peers. The ending was satisfying, although there seemed to be some unresolved issues with his parents and sister.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2008

    'One Fat Summer'

    Bobby hates the summer, because he weighs over 200 pounds. Instead of wearing short sleeves and shorts, he wears heavy jackets and long pants to cover his fat. Bobby has to spend his summer at Rumson Lake, which is sure to make his summer horrible. To make it even worse his parents won't stop fighting, and his best friend Joanie goes home to New York City without telling Bobby why. Bobby gets a job mowing Dr.Kahn's lawn, a rich, greedy man who only pays Bobby fifty cents an hour. If Bobby's summer isn't going to be bad enough, a local guy named Willie Rumson who worked at Dr.Kahn's last summer, wants to pay Bobby back for stealing his job. Bobby is not looking forward to this summer at all, but what he doesn't know is that this one fat summer is sure going to change him and his life forever.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 7, 2008

    One Fat Summer~ by Robert Lipsyte

    Robert Lipsyte has brought forth into public view yet another masterpiece. 'One Fat Summer' begins in a vacation spot about three hours away from New York City. This place is known as Rumson Lake and is where 200+ pound Robert 'Bobby' Marks is spending the black pit in his year- otherwise known as summer. Bobby has always hated summer, and continued to hate in the beginning, when he was a miserable overly self- concious 14 year old. Then things start to happen. Joanie Miller, Bobby's best friend, has gone back to the city and won't tell him why. Bobby has gotten a job mowing Dr. Kahn's lawn, but is overworked and payed an unfair wage. Michelle and Pete are secretly seeing eachother, and Bobby's parents are suddenly having endless arguements. Most of all, Bobby is being hunted down by a raging psychopath, Willie Rumson. Bobby is about to find out how fat one fat summer could really be.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2008

    One unforgettable summer

    The Unforgettable Summer The book One Fat Summer is about a guy that is around fourteen years old his name is Gary. He isn¿t really that cool nobody likes him except for his friend. Summer is right around the corner and his friend is leaving for two weeks on vocation. Gary is going to be lonely without his only friend. Gary finds a way to keep busy by getting a summer job. When his friend returns from her vocation she can¿t believe what¿s she¿s seeing. This book is ok in my opinion and I rate it four stars. I recommend this book to people around ages 13- 15 .

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2007

    Outsatanding

    This book is about a teenage boy named Bobby dealing with the troubles of summer.Now,Bobby is over weight and he only has one friend named Joanie.They won't be spending the summer together because Joanie is going to New York for an 'operation',but she won't tell Bobby what the operation is.Other characters include Michelle 'BObby's sister',Willie,Pete and Mr.and Mrs. Marks.I enjoyed this book it was a very enjoyable book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2007

    The Big Change

    There is this family that moves to Rumson Lake for the summer and they live in the city during the rest of the year. The main character is Bobby and he is a very big kid and he is about fifteen years old. His dad usually sends him to summer camp, but for once Bobby got out of it and he ends up getting a job. His older sister Michelle is the only one that knows about his job until the end of the book. Having the job helps Booby get more fit and it makes him a lot happier. While Bobby and his family are at Rumson Lake Bobby runs into a lot of trouble with his job and he almost gets killed. At the lake Bobby has a friend named Jonnie and she has something done to, but I am going to let it up to you to find out. At the end of the summer his sister is in love and going off to collage, and Bobbie¿s dad treats him with respect. The book had a lot of interesting things that got me all exited and nerves. One of the things I liked about the book was when Bobby had a gun pointing at because that part was full of excitement and nervousness. Another thing I liked was how bobby got himself a job to make some extra cash and how later on it makes his dad feel proud of him. The book itself was easy to understand what was going and that¿s anther positive. There were something¿s that I did not like about the book and that was when Bobby was called fat or big guy. I didn¿t like it when Bobby was left on an island with no clothes on and he had to sleep in a very dirt hut. I didn¿t like how the book ended either because it left you hang and wondering what is going to happen next. I recommend this book to people who like to read about summer time and who would like to learn more about bulling. This book is not part of a series. The book reminds me of the Bullying movies that we watch at school and what can happen if you do not tell an adult. This is my first book from this author. This is one of my first times I really got into a book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 2, 2007

    A reviewer

    I loved this book! This book had a lot of great lessons to be learned such as, to not bully someone just because they're different from you. In this book the main character Bobby Marks is bullied, mainly by Willie Rumson, because he is overweight. Bobby is bullied to the point where he is afraid to be seen without his shirt on. Bobby stands up to this bully and ends up winning the battle, I'm not going to give that away because you'll have to read the book! This novel is a great selection for anyone that wants to learn about the effects that bullying has on people. I loved this book and I hope that you will read and love it too!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 11, 2006

    Best Book EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    this was the best book ever even though i can't relate to the novel i can tell how hard it must have been for bobby. I loved how boby didn't like it when joanie changed her nosie because it showed that it really doesn't matter what you look like one the outsidde but it matters whats on the inside. I love how bobby finally stuck up for himself and how even thpought terrable things happened to himn that he still kept his job even thought that is what got him into all of that mess. he even showed his dad that he was more then just FAT because that is all his father ever thought he was and all he would be. With the help of his mother and his best friend Joanie he made it throught that summer with a smile on in the end. He also was more cofmorable with himself and he learned that it didn't matter what he lookde like. This was fabulous and i would deffinatlly read again.XOXOXOX READ IT XOXOXOX. It's great!!!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2005

    I CAN RELATE TO THIS BOOK!

    i am 13 5 feet tall and weigh 298 pounds. people dont understand what its like to be like me and Robert. u dont have to be fat to love this book! it will help u understand how har it is to be so overweight

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 20, 2005

    Wow...One Fat Summer is outstanding

    One Fat Summer is a book about a young boy named Bobby Marks and a girl Named Joanie... Mark and Joanie are the two main characters...they are boyfriend and girlfriend... I would reccomend this book to people who think they are over weight

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 17, 2005

    this book was a real pleaser!

    i really enjoyed this book...and for many reasons! the main character- Robert Marks a.k.a bob marks, big bad bob, etc. has a real personality that many people including myself can relate to. the author did a really good job of making people able to relate to him...and not just making him who people 'want' to be. during the book, he had many difficulties along the way (e.g. problems with his family, his best friend Joanie, his new job from Dr. Kahn, and the biggest problem of all - Willie Smith.) As this book goes on you start to notice changes throughout everyone- including a major one from Bob... I really recommend reading this book if you like realistic stories and ones that you will always remember!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2005

    From Fat To Slim Jim

    This book was amazing. If I had a choice to read this book again I would. It is about a kid named Robert (who is fat) and has to watch out for Wille Rumson because Robert took his job.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 14, 2004

    Kelly, a reviewer of 1 Phat Summa

    I think that this book is terrific. It talks about the true feelings and thoughts of a real teenager, who is facing a fact that makes him self-conscious, but gradually trying to overcome his obstacle. I really like the sense of humor in this book. I also love the last part when Bob loses all of his weight;)and starts to stand up for himself more often. Although I don't really get it when he is mad at his friend, Joanie, for fixing her long nose. After all, beauty is really important and she got to do what is best for her.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 1, 2003

    This is one of my favorite books!

    I thought that this book was great. I hope that I will be lucky enough to find another book just like it soon. Thanks a lot Robert Lipsyte for writing such a great book. I think that if you have access to this book then READ IT!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 14, 2003

    great book

    I thought it was a great book that really captures real life and that is why I like this book. I liked the end where he loses all that weight.

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