It's 1989 and Rae Earl is a fat, boy-mad 17-year-old girl, living in Stamford, Lincolnshire with her mum and their deaf white cat in a council house with a mint green bathroom and a refrigerator Rae can't keep away from. She’s also just been released from a psychiatric ward. My Mad Fat Diary is the hilarious, harrowing and touching real-life diary Rae kept during that fateful year and the basis of the hit British television series of the same name now coming to HULU. Surrounded by people like her constantly dieting mum, her beautiful frenemy Bethany, her mates from the private school up the road (called “Haddock”, “Battered Sausage” and “Fig”) and the handsome, unattainable boys Rae pines after (who sometimes end up with Bethany…), My Mad Fat Diary is the story of an overweight young woman just hoping to be loved at a time when slim pop singers ruled the charts. Rae's chronicle of her world will strike a chord with anyone who's ever been a confused, lonely teenager clashing with her parents, sometimes overeating, hating her body, always taking herself VERY seriously, never knowing how positively brilliant she is and keeping a diary to record it all. My Mad Fat Diary – 365 days with one of the wisest and funniest girls in England.
|Publisher:||St. Martin's Press|
|Product dimensions:||5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(d)|
About the Author
RAE EARL was born in Lincolnshire in 1971. She went to Hull University and following a brief stint at Parcel Force moved into broadcasting. She now writes full time from her shed in Hobart, Tasmania.
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My Mad Fat Diary
By Rae Earl
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2007 Rae Earl
All rights reserved.
I'VE GOT THIS REALLY MAD urge to start a diary up again. I don't know what it is but I think things are on the 'up and up' as it were. My last entry in the other diary was nearly two years ago. God, that was the biggest load of bullshit ever – it was CRAP! (in its rawest form). Actually, I think I am going to burn it. It is no longer entertaining or useful, so I'm reading it and then I'm binning it. So what's happened? Urmm ...
Record collection's pretty impressive. Over 1,000 singles because of the record sale every three months where the bloke sells off ex-jukebox records for 10p. Half of them are scratched – my copy of 'China in Your Hand' by T'Pau lasts less than a minute – but who cares?
Had 'diffy' illness. OK, I lost the plot. Ended up in psychiatric ward 4 of Edith Cavell Hospital for the weekend – jigsaws, mashed potato and group exercises. I had to get out so I lied to them that I felt better. I know some of the stuff I think and some of the stuff I do is wrong as hell but I will never make the mistake of telling anyone what's really in my head ever again. I don't want to be locked up in a brown room with a personal stereo that's run out of batteries and 58 copies of Reader's Digest – it was as bad as it gets.
I've still got 'women's problems' but they keep fobbing me off by saying it's my age. They say the same thing to my mum and she's going through the menopause. So I've only got another 30 years of this. Great.
Doing 4 A levels. English. Politics. History. And theatre arts.
Chloe is pregnant! Can you believe it? She has had to leave school and everything. She told me in the sixth-form toilets as she was sitting on a windowsill downing a Twix, like it was the most normal thing in the world.
I'm fat – really fat. I'm fatter than Chloe and she is up the duff.
The bloke out of Soft Cell has made a record with Gene Pitney!!! He's so old my bloody nan likes him!! It proves everything is going to shit.
I feel so weird! Perhaps I should wait for page 2. Oh, I want to be loved. Oh, it's SO CORNY, isn't it?! But I just want to be loved by a bloke that loves ME! I want to feel special, you know. I almost feel guilty for feeling it. Every night I dream about it. Just someone special. I'd still be the same but I am fat and ugly and I don't like pubs and parties where everyone gets pissed and throws up. I just long to be in bed with a bloke. It's not like me but it's how I feel! I want to do it. I want to be loved.
Just done bloody Paradise Lost rough plan for tomorrow. How I hate that book. Also had a massive argument with Mum about nothing as per normal. She plays 'The Logical Song' by Supertramp and sits there looking miserable. It's very difficult to concentrate on Milton's portrayal of Satan when Supertramp are wailing about being a vegetable and asking who they are.
Mum sits there looking pained like she is the one with problems. Her life is a piece of piss – just reading Woman's Realm and shouting at me. I know she was in a Barnardo's home as a kid, but come on – that was about 1952 when that happened.
Feel really nothing – confused, angry, peeved, but not depressed. I had planned loads of profound and emotive things to say, but as always when it comes to writing them it all goes to crap.
I don't want to write the next bit – I don't want to bugger up my diary on the second page, but I know what it's about and I will get my revenge on all the people who have brought me down and made me feel small. I have just watched Dirty Dancing again and just like Patrick Swayze says, 'No one puts Baby in the corner,' well, NO ONE will put Rae in the corner.
I will make the pretty girls pay.
I'VE JUST LOOKED AT YESTERDAY'S entry. I think it's pathetic already – what a brilliant start. Oh, today was pretty crap. Guess what English book I had to write about? Paradise Lost. I wrote crap. Didn't even understand one of the questions: 'Milton is a Christian apologist. Discuss.' Went for second question: 'Milton's language is like organ music. Discuss.' I bullshitted for four sides of A4. But all the school shit paled into insignificance today after all the Megan shit came to a head.
Megan has been making herself sick after food for ages. Now she has started to take laxatives. After scoffing two Mars bars today she went to the bog. I went to see if she was doing the fingers-down-the-throat job. Yes she was.
Dinnertime – I had a whopping great roast and Megan had a salad. After everyone else at the table had gone, me and Megan were talking. She goes, 'I feel full up,' and I say, 'I am surprised after you emptied your stomach at break.' Anyway, we went back to the form room and she burst into tears. I gave her a lecture, etc., etc. Oh, Mum is shouting me for tea – I'll come back later.
Sausage stew and a Supermousse is hardly enough – my brain needs more than that to do an essay on Cardinal Wolsey.
Anyway, Megan got to her English exam and walked out about five minutes in. She went home eventually. It's funny – I was going on about feeling fat and ugly and that's what Megan was on about today, yet I would KILL to look like her. Men still do primarily go for a pretty face and figure, etc. I'd like to lose weight but I don't want to get obsessive about it. When you watch things about African war and starvation and that, you think, 'I have got a decent bed, and food,' and you think, 'Stop moaning! They are real people, and how would I feel?'
But watching famine doesn't stop you wanting sex and fancying George Michael. If it did, I would have stopped thinking about shagging after Band Aid in 1984.
Off to hospital tomorrow to discuss lack-of-period situation.
Can't believe Kylie and Jason are still number one – bloody tragic. People are slagging it off at school but secretly I love that song. They reckon they are not romantically involved – yes they are. You can see the way they look at each other. I tell you what – if Kylie don't want Jason, I'll have him.
WENT TO HOSPITAL TODAY. THE specialist I usually see wasn't there. I'm pleased about this because it's somebody at school's dad. I know these people have signed a confidential oath or whatever it is but you are not telling me he wouldn't mention that he'd seen me when he got home. I don't want people to know I've got the womb of a middle-aged woman already.
Anyway, I saw this woman who basically said, 'Come back in four months.' And she was on time so I missed hardly any school, which was inconsiderate of her. She said I would really benefit from regular exercise, and did I do PE at school? Of course I don't – I do rounders every summer but the rest of the time I make up some crap and sit it out with the asthmatics. She also reminded me that Ponstan (this tablet that I have) was a painkiller and not a contraceptive ('for future reference'), and suggested I lose weight as I was 'quite badly overweight'.
Why do they always think that every girl under 19 is a raving hussy? I know a lot of people are, but it's bloody annoying when you are desperate for action and you are getting none and you'd love to be down Boots secretly buying condoms and pregnancy kits and pissing on sticks – BUT YOU ARE TOO FAT!!
STAMFORD HOSPITAL WAITING ROOM
Teas from the ladies at the Red Cross in china cups
Endless copies of The People's Friend
She tells me that I'm fat
She spent seven years at university to tell me that
Women comparing ovaries
Wishing mine had been troubled by any man
But the only action they've seen is an ultrasound scan
To see if the doctors had missed
Apparently Megan is going to see someone to help her realise she is not really fat and that it's all in her mind. I'm pleased she is being looked after but this is awful. I just bloody wish my fatness was in my mind. My marquee clothes and big rugby tops prove that it's not.
Tomorrow I am going to the cinema with Bethany. In fact at fag park (where Bethany always goes for a sneaky cigarette) I poured it all out to her. I told her I was sick of seeing people with boyfriends while I was always on my own and that I was sick of being fat and that I was TOTALLY sick of blokes seeing me as just a friend.
That opened the floodgates. The first thing she said to me was, 'Have you ever looked in a mirror when you eat? You eat like a pig!' Then she goes, 'Men don't like fat girls as it embarrasses them in front of their mates – it makes them stick out in a bad way.' She then suggested I eat less and do an aerobics class like bums and tums. I think she saw me welling up because she tried to make me feel better by saying, 'I'm just telling you the truth. You don't want me to lie to you, do you?'
Cried my eyes out when I got back to my bedroom. What makes people think it's OK to say that sort of stuff to me? Had a traffic-light cake from Chantrel's Bakery but kept thinking, 'I wonder what this looks like. I wonder if I do look like a pig.' Ate it in front of the mirror in the dining room. Yes. I do look like the world's fattest pig. Mum caught me doing it and asked me if I was so vain that I actually like to watch myself eat. Didn't tell her. Can't be bothered to explain. She couldn't say anything to make me feel better. No one could.
It's weird with Bethany, you know. I'm only mates with her because she used to be shy and she seemed like she needed friends. And her dad was the chairman of some enormous company and apparently didn't give her much attention. I felt sorry for her.
I don't now.
Went down the phone box (63401) and rang Mort – she said that Bethany was just a bitch, and why did I bother seeing her, and that she lives on cottage cheese and is a typical only child. I love Mort – I wish she lived nearer. I hate to say it but it is just typical of my life ... My best friend lives in a village 45 minutes away, with her own bathroom. I don't know if I've even got my own bloody towel.
Bethany has got a point, though – I do need to start exercising. I'll go for a long walk tomorrow by the fields near the Rainbow Superstore. I'm too knackered to write any more. More tomorrow, unless I get too pee-bored tonight, which is possible. I can't sleep at all at the moment. Having Horlicks and malted-milk biscuits by the ton, but that's not working either.
Friday 27.1.89 but technically it's Saturday 28.1.89
00.19 a.m. (only just got in)
THERE IS THE MOST RIDICULOUS rumour going round school. Apparently the Smiths are playing a secret gig in Peterborough on Sunday night. I said, 'Bollocks – everyone knows they all fell out over a year ago, and why on earth would they choose to play Peterborough anyway?' But people are saying they have picked it because no one would ever expect them to play the Fens, and it would keep the national music press 'guessing – and away'. We scoured through NME in the common room – not even a suggestion of it. It's bullshit. The only thing you will see in Peterborough this year is Aladdin at the Key Theatre. And there's more chance of Morrissey coming out of the lamp than the Smiths playing in Peterborough. Still – everyone reckons they are going.
I might have to beg Mum for £12 for the ticket.
Trip to the cinema cancelled. Instead – DID SOME EXERCISE!!!! I went for a walk. A couple of blokes on Cambridge Road in a Vauxhall Cherry papped their car horn, leant out the car window and shouted something, then pissed themselves. It was probably horrible, but the great thing about having Suzanne Vega full blast on your Walkman is you don't hear what tossers are shouting. Did about 20 minutes till the bloody machine chewed the tape, then came home. I didn't notice any difference to the way I looked, and my jeans didn't feel any looser. It's a start, though, and I love those fields – there is no one about to take the piss. Then Bethany and me went down the Vaults. She knows quite a few of the blokes from the boys' school, so yes, I am using her basically. Total revelation down there tonight – met some great people (who all talked about the Smiths gig WHICH WON'T HAPPEN) AND DIDN'T GET CALLED FAT ONCE. Brilliant!!
Borrowed Bethany's mum's Shape Up and Dance record with Peter Powell. It's old with really shit cover versions of songs, but I quite like Peter Powell. Well, I used to like him on Radio 1, but after doing this bloody aerobics record I'm not sure. It is sadistic!! During the can-can he starts going, 'Left kick, right kick, left kick, right kick,' too bloody fast, almost like a piss-take. It's bloody hard to do a dance in the front room and avoid Mum's crap ornaments. Even though I would be doing her a favour if I 'accidentally' knocked over one of her crap bloody china shire horses. I was jumping up and down like a loon so much I ended up making the record jump. There's a massive scratch in it. I'll just give it back and hope she doesn't notice.
Apparently the Shape Up and Dance by Lulu is much more sedate so I'll try that. It stands to reason – as Lulu is ancient and probably has rheumatism these days.
Going down the Vaults. I've nicked two quid off my brother's floor. It'll buy a pint of cider if I can get served – I still look like an oversized 12-year-old. Make-up would probably help but every time I put it on I end up looking like Coco the Clown.
EXERCISE. BUGGER IT.
I did get served!! Though the landlord asked me my age twice. Ordered a half of cider to be on the safe side. Mum would be furious if she knew – she shat herself when I had a Babycham at a wedding once.
Last night I can tell you – this is why I love Bethany – she knows so many blokes it is unbelievable. They swarm round her. For all her being a cow, she is the best way to meet men ever. Spent most of the night with Harry and Luke, who in turn introduced me to loads of other men from the boys' school. Harry is cute and posh and shy. And, crucially, laughs at most things I say. I can't decide if it's nerves or if he finds me really hilarious. Luke is skinny as a rat and sarcy as fuck. Bethany got walked home by Luke (just as mates – he has a girlfriend). No one offered to walk me home so I just disappeared and came home via Broad Street chippy. Asked for chips with extra scraps. Yes, they are just minute pieces of fried batter, but sod it. I've done more exercise in the past week than I have done in years.
Everyone was wearing The Queen Is Dead T-shirts and there are a whole load of people going to the Smiths gig (WHICH WON'T HAPPEN). Mum refused to give me £12, just in case it is true, which shows she knows nothing about music and doesn't care about me. I've never been to see a real concert. Wham! 'The Final' – not allowed. Howard Jones – too young. I even missed out on Live Aid because we had to fly to Morocco to see her husband the next day. She still says, 'Well, at least you saw Wayne Sleep the ballet dancer on the plane, and he said it was a fabulous day.' Like seeing Wayne Sleep makes up for missing the biggest line-up in the history of music.
If everyone comes into school tomorrow holding flowers and talking about the night the Smiths reformed, I am bloody running away.
HA! HA! TOLD YOU!!! This is priceless. Everyone went off to see the Smiths last night. Everyone paid £12. And, yes, the Smiths did play. THE FAMILY Smith – they are a folk/country band!!!! I asked Daisy at what point did everyone realise the Smiths were not coming on. She said when they did a cover of 'All Around My Hat' by Steeleye Span. People didn't think they'd have a support band that played that. Then someone looked at the name and put two and two together. And to add insult to injury, the Family Smith said, 'It's good to see so many young faces in the place tonight'! I felt so smug it was unbelievable. Apparently there was nearly a riot. Not surprised. We all know most people who like folk music eat mushrooms, live in sheds and don't wash. I bet the place stank!!
Took this diary to school today and Bethany announced to everyone in the common room that I had it with me. She then grabbed it out of my folder and it got tossed about like a netball till I retrieved it. She was saying stuff like, 'I bet there's not a lot of stuff that happens in it ... no action ... Who do you dream about, Rae?' Everyone pissed themselves at this. Bunch of cows. I know my life is dull and manless compared to theirs. Bethany is usually lovely when it's just us, but when we are out in public she takes the piss ALL the time. It's like I'm her comedy punchbag.
I'm SICK of it.
The trouble is, where do I keep this diary? It's not safe at home or in the locker at school. There's already shit in it that if anyone else saw I would die. Just going to have to put it under the mattress and hope. There's NO privacy – there's no place to go in the Fascist State of Mum. SHE still comes in while I'm in the bath and asks me if I have washed properly. Especially (and she always whispers this) 'my credentials'. She means my bits. JUST SAY IT, WOMAN!! She can't even call sanitary towels sanitary towels. She calls them BUNNIES!! It's like the 1950s in this house.
Excerpted from My Mad Fat Diary by Rae Earl. Copyright © 2007 Rae Earl. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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About the Author,