Posted by: ashburnreviews | September 17, 2009


moose A week or so ago I finished reading Moose – A Memoir of Fat Camp by Stephanie Klein. This book is autobiographical – you know I love those – and tells the story of Stephanie struggling with her weight and self image from the time she was a young 8-year-old to present day.

I liked most of this book.

I liked best when the author talked about being an 8-year-old and going to a nutritionist, and then later 4 summers of fat camp. I wasn’t a small kid myself, so much of what Stephanie describes (from her childhood) reminds me of similar experiences that happened in my life.

I too went to a nutritionist. Which by the way is an incredibly weird thing to do to a kid. I didn’t have any control as to what food was in my house or what food was bought for dinner.

Also like the author, one summer I went to fat camp as well. Which for me was just as weird and filled with mixed emotions as Stephanie explains it in her book. One part I specifically remember from my experiences there that almost paralleled hers was the weirdness about weight at fat camp. In some ways it was freeing because everyone was fat. But in other ways your aren’t cool enough for some people because you aren’t fat enough. (Really – people taunting “Are you here to gain weight?” really happened to me.) And then you aren’t cool enough for others because you aren’t thin enough. (Because the thinnest of the fat kids were somehow the bosses.) Kids – particularly ones that you restrict food from – will always find something to harp on. It is sad really.

In Stephanie’s book, I also liked the part where she talks about returning to fat camp as a counselor later in life (I did not do this BTW) but that she was not really in the right mind to help impressionable young kids. When I was at fat camp as a child, I wondered about that too – who were these large “adults” telling me what to eat and what not to? What did they know? I guess the answer is they were just people struggling too.

The part of the book that I wasn’t as crazy about was towards the end when Stephanie gets to talking about where she is now in life – having two new babies (twins) and wishing to not give them the wrong impressions about food or weight. I found the later (current) part of the book is kind of sad. Weight has always been a constant struggle for the author. Is doesn’t seem like she really ever learned to love herself or just be okay with the way she looks.

As a side note… (I’m not saying I have all the answers.) But for me I think I just realized one day that you can spend your time and energy worrying and fighting the way your body is naturally meant to me, or you can just not do that. And it is okay. People will still love you. And you will still function. You will still be able to find clothing and have a job and live your life. And if people laugh or are mean – then so be it. You cannot let it get to you. People with their own insecurities want to make other people feel bad about themselves. It is human nature. So you don’t live a life of constant sadness, you just need to let it roll of you.

But anyhow, overall I would say that the book was refreshingly honest and funny and I’m glad I read it.


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