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Diary of a Mad Fat Girl: A Fun Read

March 7, 2012

Diary of a Mad Fat Girl
Stephanie McAfee
Penguin $15.00 356 pages

A few pages into the story of Graciela “Ace” Jones and her antics in the tiny town of Bugtussle, Mississippi (isn’t that a  great name?) I was well and truly hooked. And I knew that I should be on my guard before talking to people, after I read more than three chapters in one sitting. Because I could hear her Southern rhythms so well as I read, I was afraid I was going to develop a drawl of my own.

Ace Jones’s first person Southern drawl works perfectly to describe the escapades she gets up to in Bugtussle. But if I started picking up her accent: awkward!

Between the Southern setting, Ace’s misadventures, and a strong, core cast of women friends supporting each other in some pretty ridiculous adventures, this book reminded me of some of the bits I liked best about Fried Green Tomatoes At the Whistlestop Cafe (note, I definitely mean the book, which I’ve read more times than I’ve seen the movie), and Steel Magnolias. Except, there’s nothing here in The Diary of a Mad Fat Girl to make you cry. Thank goodness.

Mostly, this is a story of Ace and her friends banding together- trying to save Lilly’s job, and help Chloe get the courage to leave her abusive husband.  Although I’m impressed that Ace’s romantic obstacles played out in a way that made it clear that any difficulties were really her creation… her romance wasn’t as central to the fun I had reading this. The women’s friendships and goofy adventures were.

Ace’s mishaps made me laugh. (the flower pot! the rented dresses! I can say no more!) I giggled at the antics of her chiweenie, Buster Loo. I had to look up what a chiweenie, a cross between a chihuahua and a dachshund, looked like, because I mostly pictured a French Bulldog as I read.  The sort of fairy-godmother figure of wealthy eccentric Gloria Peacock might have pushed the bounds of plausible plot devices, but added great fun.

Disclaimer: I wrote this book review for the Blog Her Book Club. I am being compensated for giving my honest opinion.

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