"Thirteen pounds. That’s all I need to lose." Or California Diaries #8

http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=areyoutheyoui-20&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=0590023837&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifrI read this book a while ago.  Then I sat on it, not reviewing it.  Why you ask?  Because it’s not very interesting.  So far, this is the crappiest of all the CD books.  I wish Lerangis had written it, Jeanne Betancourt wasn’t able to do much with the material.  In a nutshell, Maggie doesn’t eat.  Maggie’s mother drinks too much.  Maggie’s dad is an asshole. Maggie’s brother, Zeke, is an awesome kid, almost on the Jeff Schafer and Byron Pike level of awesomeness.  That’s it.

Oh what? You want more detail from me?  Fine.  But trust me, it’s not pretty.

At the beginning of the book, Maggie’s a whopping 103 1/2 pounds (fatass) and is working toward a goal of 90 pounds.  Because that’s reasonable.  She’s working at her dad’s office and he’s trying to push her into script writing.  In case you can’t remember, Maggie’s producer dad is seriously pushing her into ‘the business.’  And by “The Business,” I mean Show Business of course!  Maggie wants to be a vet which is some kind of embarrassment to dad for whatever reason.

Maggie goes to Vanish rehearsal and thinks she sucks.  But she won’t if she loses five pounds.  Because that’s entirely reasonable.  Then at a second rehearsal, she has a headache.  But the good thing is Justin asks her out on a date!

Then Maggie is helping her mom with this animal shelter fund raiser thing.  Of course Maggie has all these great ideas and mom is too drunk to really plan the thing, so Maggie ends up doing all the work.  And of course when Maggie goes to the animal shelter to get some photos of the dogs that need adoption, the director of the shelter just happens to mention they need an intern. And Maggie just happens to take it without asking her dad if she can quit working at his office.  And of course the director is thrilled to have a thirteen year old on staff.  All her problems are solved!

Dad gets pissed, but whatever.  Maggie doesn’t care.  Her diary is all over the place, which I guess is supposed to represent the mind of a real anorexic girl.

Zeke gets shipped off to tennis camp, which he really doesn’t want to go to.  But he emails Maggie a lot (which is a huge deal in 1998) and she takes care of his pet turtles for him.

People start to realize Maggie isn’t eating.  Pilar, the housekeeper/cook, the boss at the animal shelter, Justin when they’re on a date, Amalia, Dawn, and finally dad realizes it.  Maggie doesn’t care.  She feels clean and in control of her body. 

She gets in a lot of pissy moods and is sleeping an awful lot.  Then mom gets crazy wasted at the benefit and all hell breaks loose.  Maggie’s dad confronts them both at the same time and Maggie kind of realizes her being anorexic is kind of like her mom being an alcoholic.  Or something, I can’t really remember that well.  Then at the very end, Maggie has a really sweet conversation with Zeke, who feels responsible for shit falling apart because he wasn’t there to help out.  And holy shit, I suddenly want a fanfic where Byron, Jeff and Zeke are all best buds.  Best 10 and 11 years olds in the entire series, those three. 

  • Sorry for the shit post.  But this book was…..meh.  And, like I said, I read it about a month ago and have read a good ten other books since this.  So I’m going on my really messy, really sparse notes. 
  • I don’t care for most anorexia books.  Because I don’t fucking get it.  Not that I’m a fatass, or even really a foodie.  But oh my god do I love doughnuts.  I’m also not a Type-A control freak.  So these things make no sense to me. 
  • A really good anorexia book is Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson.  I still didn’t understand the why of anorexia after reading it, but damn can that woman write! 
  • Justin gets way too pissed that Maggie only orders a salad at dinner.  I mean, before he knew she was anorexic.  But really, you may be sixteen and she’s only thirteen (THIRTEEN!) but let her order what the fuck she wants.  
  • There’s some sad stuff about a kitten dying.  I can’t quite remember what it was, but my copious notes says “7/23 – Kitten died.”  Wow, that must have made quite an impression on me, right?
  • Um, yeah.  I’m off to sleep now.  Again.  Good Night. 

About nikkihb

Wife. Mother. Reader. Blogger.
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15 Responses to "Thirteen pounds. That’s all I need to lose." Or California Diaries #8

  1. Kevin Andrew says:

    I'm sold. Now to figure out that damned amazon thing?!?

  2. Amy says:

    Wintergirls absolutely is a fantastic book. Just finished reading/blogging about it. It puts almost every eating disorder book to total shame.The CD book kind of sounds like the SVH book where Robin gets anorexia for a day; ditto Full House and DJ.

  3. Boonsong says:

    Very enjoyable. Thanks.All the best, Boonsong

  4. Sada says:

    Is her anorexia magically cured, or does it crop up in the books that come later? I like how almost every California Diaries book is like a Very Special Episode of 90210. But with 13-year-olds. Oh, the '90s.

  5. nikki says:

    @Sada – It's not exactly magically cured. It's more just that she kind of admits her diet was out of control. She never really admits to being anorexic. I'm not sure what the third Maggie book will bring, I haven't read it yet.

  6. poor maggie. the girl's had a very stressful life, along with sunny and ducky. no wonder why i could relate to maggie in a lot of ways.by the way nikki, im surprised you didnt compare this book to book 62: jessi and the awful secret, where jessi's friend mary was dealing with anorexia and stacey was mentioning anorexia being a very common and serious problem.so yeah. great post by the way.

  7. Amber says:

    When I was a kid, I wanted to be a vet. But I never voiced that desire to my mother. I didn't want to put her through that.

  8. Michelle says:

    Poor Maggie. I never did read the California Diaries, but they sound so much… darker than the BSC. And now I know I can't read this one because a kitten dies. Crap!

  9. Jack Kung says:

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  10. Jen says:

    Man Jack Kung sounds pretty awesome! (kid)I also would like to second loving Wintergirls. Incredible book. I was always sort of obsessed with eating disorder books as a child, mostly because it felt so weird and foreign to me. Unfortunately most of them are really enabling and not at all helpful.

  11. Alison says:

    Are any of the CD kids well adjusted?I've been underweight before. And classified as borderline anorexic. I liked the control that food gave me. Even when you can't control your family or friendships or school or work, you can control what you eat. That little bit of control can make life tolerable. It's a sick satisfaction that fortunately does not outweigh my love for food. I don't know if that makes sense to those of you with healthy relationships with food, though.

  12. This book was meh for me, too. Love the BSC, not so much the CD. I third loving "Wintergirls"and glad you mentioned it.

  13. Anonymous says:

    I never read this book, but I have read Wintergirls, and yeah, such an awesome book. I've been interested in eating disorders and books on them, particularly anorexia, ever since I did a report on it in the fifth grade. And I kind of can get into the character's head and understand why a little bit, so that makes books like this more interesting for me.

  14. Juliette says:

    Well I had anorexia for three months so I can understand the mind frame but this book wasn’t accurate. I got pissed off when people wanted me to eat but I never remember acting as stupid as her and I did know myself when I was too thin am anorexic in my book doesn’t need help finding out

  15. Kate says:

    Is it a coincidence that the band Vanish has an anorexic lead singer … it’s like she’s disappearing. Bleh.

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