I find it rather annoying when an author describes someone who is *SO* fat and then gives a weight that, in my experience, does not really match up with that level of fat. Since this entire book is about the self-proclaimed “Fat Kid” Troy Billings, I thought it would have made more sense to describe the kid blindly than to put a number on it, but the author repeatedly referenced that Troy was 6’1″ and nearly-300-pounds. (Seriously, I know a couple of people who are around 300 pounds and 6 feet tall, and they are not disgustingly fat. Just sayin’!) That, however, is my only complaint about this book. The rest of the book was great.
The story starts off with “Fat Kid” (Troy) standing on the subway platform and imagining his suicide by subway train. He thinks about how it will happen, what it will look like, and what possible newspaper headlines could result. (He tends to think about everything as it would appear in a newspaper headline.) All the while, he is being watched by a homeless guy named Curt MacCrae. As it turns out, Curt used to go to the same high school as Troy, and he is still a bit of a legend — for his talents as a punk rocker AND the fact that he simply walked out of class one day, never to return. When Curt insists that Troy needs to take him out to lunch (because he saved Troy’s life), a strange sort of friendship emerges.
There were a lot of reasons to love this book. I thought it was very interesting, for starters, how the author juxtaposed Troy and Curt. Troy is the naive, generous, fat kid from a good home; Curt is the disenchanted, manipulative, emaciated kid who lives on the street. While this could have been a cheesy plot device, it was done SO very well. We see how Troy views himself as unworthy of such a cool friend and how he allows Curt to get away with so much as a result. We also see how Curt is easily drawn to Troy’s genuine sweetness and caring demeanor. When Curt asks Troy to be in a band with him and to play drums, it’s like a dream come true. Friendship AND a chance to become cool? Bring it on!
It’s easy to see why this book has won a lot of teen choice awards and received the Printz Honor. I only wish I hadn’t taken so long to finally get to this book!