FOOD, GIRLS, AND OTHER THINGS I CAN’T HAVE by Allen Zadoff

FOOD, GIRLS, AND OTHER THINGS I CAN’T HAVE

Age Range: 14 & up

KIRKUS REVIEW

Warm, witty prose chronicles a fat teenager finding himself while the text sacrifices other demographic groups. Fifteen-year-old Andy, at 306 pounds, justifiably resents that people “don’t see Andrew. They see big.” Upset by the divorce of his cold dad and smothering mom, Andy glumly pursues Model UN with geek pal Eytan. Then a school football star rescues Andy from a beating and brings him to football tryouts. Andy’s trajectory from social nobody to popular football player is fast and deceptive. The first-person, present-tense narration capably conveys Andy’s pattern of thinking only in the present. The funniest moments are the quirkiest, as when Andy and an opposing player find themselves “talking postwar poets” on the field during the game. Unfortunately, Zadoff bizarrely dehumanizes Asian girls. Classmate Nancy Yee is “not really a girl. More of a stick figure with an accent,” Andy calls April, his Korean-American crush, “The Girl of My Dreams: Asian Edition,” and Eytan categorizes that crush as “yellow fever,” with no textual questioning of the term. Is it worth humanizing one oft-slammed group—fat teens—at another group’s expense? (Fiction. YA)

Pub Date: Sept. 8th, 2009
ISBN: 978-1-60684-004-7
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Egmont USA
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 2009




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