My Mad Fat Diary by Rae Earl

Genres: Young Adult, Memoir
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Publication Date: 2007


“I just don’t get men. Mind you, I don’t get me either.”

Rae Earl is fat and desperate to be loved. This journal chronicles her life in 1989. Boys, betrayal and a mother who’s always finding new ways to be irritating. The true diary of a fat, slightly mad teen girl.

A rare occasion where the book isn’t better.

The journal style definitely makes the book interesting, and while it can be appreciated that these are real journals that’s also the issue. Aside from being fat, Rae isn’t remarkable. In fact she’s sort of all the things adults fear teenagers becoming: selfish, lazy, superior. It’s easy to understand Rae; she feels very real, but it’s hard to feel sympathy for her.

Rae Earl’s diary is just that: a diary. Nothing extraordinary happens, in fact barely anything remotely exciting happens. It’s complicated to try and criticize this book because it is a diary and it feels like a diary; but normally published diaries are published because they are exciting. My Mad Fat Diary reads like most teenage diaries would so while authentic it’s not particularly interesting.I usually love diaries whether they’re real or fabricated but Earl’s was a miss for me.

Along with it’s uneventfulness Earl’s diary suffers from a lack of humour. Some of the poems were a bit funny but overall it was stale. Again this is a bit difficult to criticize as Earl was a teenager but I can’t fathom why this diary was chosen to be published over any other girl’s.

It’s frustrating to read about Rae complaining while she does nothing. She keeps a job for a week before quitting, she wants to lose weight but eats massive amounts everyday, she wants to find love but she’s rude whenever boys try to get close to her. Rae blames her problems on the world when (most) of them are things she could help herself with.

It’s a mildly funny but entirely uneventful read. An average year in the life of a teenage girl, aside from being fat Rae doesn’t really stand out from the crowd. It wasn’t unenjoyable but it lacked a lot to make it worthwhile.


Read this if you’re a fan of: Dumplin’


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