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BIG MOUTH by Deborah Halverson


by Deborah Halverson

Pub Date: June 10th, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-385-73394-6
Publisher: Delacorte

This comic romp about eating disorders provides more bodily functions than functional solutions. Fourteen-year-old Shermie Thuff aims to become a world-famous competitive eater with the slogan, “Are YOU Thuff Enuff?” The problem is, he can only eat (at most) 18 hot dogs—and not quickly enough—and he always vomits afterwards, an event Halverson describes graphically. A friend suggests that Shermie lose his “Belt of Fat,” so he hires wrestler Gardo as his weight-loss coach. Together, the two starve and drastically dehydrate themselves, Shermie balking only when Gardo spits into a cup all day long to expel fluids. School-sponsor Del Heiny Ketchup permits only “ketchup-dunkable” foods in the cafeteria; a campy guerrilla counter-campaign for mustard keeps the tone casual, but the bingeing and purging are severe. Shermie’s desire to eat competitively never quite rings true, while Halverson’s facile solutions for eating disorders are oversimplified. This puke-focused foodie offering will please mostly the gross-out crowd. (author’s note) (Fiction. 11-14)