Monday, July 16, 2018

[Book Review] The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things by Carolyn Mackler

Book photo of The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things by Carolyn Mackler

The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things by Carolyn Mackler is a frustrating but heartwarming story about a girl in high school that is struggling to get comfortable in her own skin while navigating the both the tricky world of high school and some very difficult family situations.

This was one of my favorite books in high school. In fact, when I finished reading this for the first time, I immediately put it in the hands of one of my classmates. I made such a fuss about this book, that it soon made the rounds through our high school. Granted, it was a small school, so making the rounds didn't take too long. I was just so excited to share it!

Finally, 10 years later... I've finally reread it and it was just as enjoyable the second time around!

Let's dive in!

The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things by Carolyn Mackler

Fifteen-year-old Virginia Shreves has a larger-than-average body and a plus-size inferiority complex, especially when she compares herself to her slim, brilliant, picture-perfect family. But that’s before a shocking phone call — and a horrifying allegation — about her rugby-star brother changes everything. With irreverent humor and surprising gravity, Carolyn Mackler creates an endearingly blunt heroine who speaks to every teen who struggles with family expectations, and proves that the most impressive achievement is to be true to yourself.

My thoughts: 
The very first sentence of this book is: Froggy Welsh the Forth is trying to get up my shirt. What a funny line to begin with; I love it!

I adore this book. It's one that I wish was on required reading lists, but I know that would never happen. It just covers so many really important and difficult topics such as struggles with body image, self harm, fat shaming, eating disorders, date rape, tricky family dynamics, and others. All things that high schoolers should be talking about rather than brushing aside or trying to cover up.

Many of the characters in the book are so lovely and so realistic! I absolutely love Virginia and I really enjoyed watching her transform into her true (and happy!) self. Froggy was also lovely, especially on the last page! And the scene of him trying to act out crawling under a bed during French class will always make me chuckle.

The relationship between Virginia and Froggy was also very realistic. I remember really pulling for them when I first read this book, and it was the same the second time around.

Shannon, Virginia's best friend, and her parents were a refreshingly fun family to read about, especially compared to what Virginia was dealing with back home. The chapters in Seattle are some of my favorites in the book!

Another couple of characters that need shoutouts are Dr. Love and Mrs Crowley.

I really liked that Dr. Love really drove home the health aspect of things, and how the way a body looks isn't everything. I was so sad when Virginia let her mother into the room after her exam, so I was very glad that she had another scene with the doctor alone later on.

Mrs Crowley was so good for Virginia and helped steer her in the right direction with her body image. I remember really appreciating her gentle methods when I first read this. She wasn't too pushy with trying to get Virginia comfortable with her body image, she let her get there on her own by simply sharing things about her own life. I wish Virginia had been more patient with Mrs Crowley, because I feel like there could have been more to learn from that relationship.

Was some of this book a bit harsh? Absolutely.

The way that "being fat" is brought up time and time again was more difficult for me to read this time around. However, I also remember so clearly the first time I read this, that rather than focusing in on the language, I focused in on the main point; how hard we all are on ourselves when it comes to body image.

We're absolutely rotten! Far too often we think of ourselves as too this, or too that. We obsess over losing weight, toning up, gaining weight, and so on, and so on. We're so obsessed with the way we look, that we let it affect other aspects of our lives...

My favorite passages:
It’s not like Froggy Welsh the Fourth is a huge catch. First of all, there’s his name. Not a nickname for Frank or Frederick or even Frog. I’m still shocked that his great-great-grandparents named a son Froggy. But what astounds me to no end is that three subsequent generations decided to follow suit.

It’s probably time to write a list. That’s what I do whenever I’m overwhelmed and confused. It’s not like I figure out any huge answers, but I always feel better after my thoughts are in writing.

I can spend an entire evening memorizing irregular verbs, but when I wake up the next morning, it’s like they’ve leaked out of my brain and onto my pillow.

If some people’s faces are open books, Mom’s is one of those leather-bound diaries with a lock in the front and a long-lost key.

She has the whitest teeth I have ever seen in my entire life, like a row of peppermint Chiclets.

My final thoughts:
An all around great read! I would highly recommend this one, especially to high schoolers. But of course I would also caution readers about the difficult topics it covers.

Thanks for reading!


  1. I loved this one when I first read it back in high school. So good! Glad it didn't age too much.

  2. I've never actually read this one - I wonder what you will think of the sequel? I do appreciate books that focus on tough topics but do it well.


  3. I love books you can reappreicare it when you get older

  4. I’m impressed that it held up during a reread. I have this one on my tbr list. I’ll have to move it up.

  5. I've never heard of this, but it does sound like a good book to read in high school!

    1. It's definitely perfect for that age group!!

  6. That's so cool that your enthusiasm was enough to get so many kids in your school to read this book. I hadn't heard of it before but it does sound like such a relevant book for that age group of kids.

    1. It's harsh, but so realistic!! I love it so much.

  7. I have never read this but I feel like I should have read it ages ago back when I was in school. Maybe someday. :)

  8. This book is SO good. I remember reading it some 10 years ago as well and I do hope to reread it :)