Sunday, May 6, 2012

Review: Diary of a Mad Fat Girl by Stephanie McAfee

Zany, kooky, madcap, eccentric. All of these words and then some describe Diary of a Mad Fat Girl by Stephanie McAfee. Not that a reader of light, entertaining southern fiction would expect any different, especially when faced with a main character called Ace (short for Graciela) and set in a town called Bugtussle, Mississippi. Just the blurb on the back of the book lets you know you are in for the girl version of slapstick humor. Larry, Curly, and Moe may not be funny to many women (me included) but Ace and her adventures sure were.

Opening with Ace's best friend and fellow high school teacher Lilly cancelling their annual spring break vacation to Panama City beach, things are going to go from bad to worse for the big mouthed, sassy Ace. She could really have used that vacation but she's too mad at Lilly to go on her own. Then Lilly loses her job for having an affair with a student and Ace and friend Chloe have to set out to prove Lilly's innocence, despite appearances and despite how piqued Ace still is at Lilly. As they are on this quest, Ace and Lilly discover that Chloe's superficially pleasant, but always a shade too cold, husband is really an abuser and he is using Chloe as his own personal punching bag while indulging himself in affairs hither, thither, and yon. Revenge on Richard the dirt-bag while saving Chloe becomes the newest goal of the day.

Solving both of these terrible states of affairs becomes Ace's driving ambition. Well, that and avoiding the presence of her long-time on-again, off-again currently ex-boyfriend Mason and the way that he can make Ace just melt and make her Chiweenie dog forsake her. On the quest to uncover the truth and expose those who need to be exposed, there are nutty road trips and questionably legal activity, a deviously wonderful new friend, and just possibly a change in how Ace views herself and her future.

The plot line is entertaining fun but the pace is a bit frantic, runaway freight train. And at every turn, without exception, hijinx ensue. Ace as a character is a bit conflicted, being equal parts insecure and full of over-the-top, brash bravado. The secondary characters are a tad one-dimensional but as foils to Ace, they work, highlighting her loyalty as well as her knee-jerk reactions (which govern so many of the roads down which her life has careened). There certainly are tough issues in this novel but they are handled fairly lightly. Readers who appreciate a larger than life heroine will find time spent with the lively and often riotous Ace well spent.

Thanks to Jessica at New American Library for sending me a copy of this book to review.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I have had to disable the anonymous comment option to cut down on the spam and I apologize to those of you for whom this makes commenting a chore. I hope you'll still opt to leave me your thoughts. I love to hear what you think, especially so I know I'm not just whistling into the wind here at my computer.

Popular Posts