Moose: A Memoir of Fat Camp
In chapter seven, when the girls are dressing up Daniel for the pageant, Stephanie admits, “I wanted his hips. Ironically, it’s what I thought of when I thought of feminine: narrow.” In fact, throughout the book, Stephanie describes fat in terms of both masculinity and femininity. She also correlates fat with sexuality and thin with “ladylike” manners. “Thin, petite, small, and narrow—all the things we were not—were feminine. Breasts that made blouses buckle were sexual.” Do you agree with her estimations? Do you think her opinion changed once she became a mother? How is female fat different from male fat? Do you believe fat is a feminist issue?
Why do you believe Stephanie titled chapter eleven American Pie? What elements of Don McLean’s epic song “American Pie” can you find within the text?
Reader guides: I don’t know if I’m for or against them. I think the beauty of art is taking from it what we need at the time. It definitely does become about us, even when it’s someone else’s story. Admittedly, a reader/book club guide gets you thinking about, and discussing, things you might otherwise have missed, but they also sometimes push you down a path, shaping how you feel about the book. And that’s fucking annoying. Not the end of the world I guess. It’s akin to the waiter approaching your table, before you’ve even tasted your food, and asking how everything is. Or worse, asking if you’d like fresh cracked pepper on your food, before you’ve even tasted it. How would I know? Give me a chance to form an opinion before you go willynilly flashing about town with an obelisk-like pepper shooter.
Sometimes if I’m reading a book with a reader’s guide in the back, I’ll peek at the questions, but I’ll read too far down and spoil some surprising plot twist for myself. I can’t help but chat a little. Sometimes I’ll then fan through the unread pages looking for names. Did this guy I’m reading about now make the damn cut? Is he going to be in the story later? Do I need this information, or can I skip ahead? For such a relaxing pastime, I’m quite the anxious little reader.