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!
My Thoughts on The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things by Carolyn Mackler
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 from The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things
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 on The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things
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.
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Thanks for reading!