[DWJ] Bad Mothers (was HP)

Hallie O'Donovan hallieod at indigo.ie
Thu May 17 10:44:16 EDT 2007

Oops, Deborah said what I just posted, but much better:  (Except I 
must discuss The Perilous Gard example!)

>Can you never make a fat character lose weight any young adult
>novel without showing weight loss as an essential part of
>character development and perforce showing fatness as a character
>flaw which must be rejected? It's hard to say. Of course it makes
>sense that the kid in Hatchet loses weight; he's starving in the
>Canadian bush. Of course the boy in Staying Fat for Sara Byrnes
>ends up losing weight; he's a competitive swimmer, and he can
>barely keep the weight on at all even when he is trying to. But
>those books exist in a canon which also includes The Perilous
>Gard*, which includes the standard young woman coming of age
>trope that her fat at the book's beginning has transformed into
>breasts and hips by the book's end. In The Perilous Gard,
>therefore, we are reinscribing the unexplored notion that fat is
>equivalent with flawed & undeveloped characters, youth, and
>sexlessness; character development brings maturity, sexual
>identity, and lost weight.

I wasn't convinced by your last mention of The Perilous Gard this way 
and still don't buy it!  How can you fit Alicia's saying about Kate's 
physical change 'But you know how *bony* and how stiff in the back 
you always used to be?' with her having been fat before the 
transformation?  (Italics-equivalents mine.) Obviously physical 
maturation has happened with the breast and hip/waist change, but I 
can't see describing it as an overall change from fat to feminine 


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