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AnneMarble
08-24-2011, 07:47 AM
Am I the only one who hasn't heard of this book?! I only heard about it because the author was interviewed on one of the morning shows -- because of the controversy about his children's book. It lives up (or down) to its title -- it's about an overweight teen-aged girl who goes on a diet (well actually learns better eating habits) and goes on to become a student athlete. They discussed the way people are calling for boycotts, etc. on Amazon. There's more about it here:
http://jezebel.com/5833529/maggie-goes-on-a-diet-author-was-amazed-by-backlash

I took one look at the cover and thought "Must be self-published." So I Googled the publisher, and sure enough, it was put out through a self-publishing company. In other words, all those protests are doing is giving more attention to a book that would have been ignored by almost everyone. :)

The book hasn't come out yet, but there are already eight threads about it on its page on Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/Maggie-Goes-Diet-Paul-Kramer/dp/0981974554/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1314154829&sr=8-1

As usual, the posts get repetitive. Also, despite the protests, there is room for food and fitness books for kids -- as long as those books are written by actual experts. Yes, I know, too many healthy kids (especially girls) are too obssessed about losing weight. But that doesn't mean someone can't write a children's book on healthier eating habits (gasp!) without causing the sky to fall down. (Although I do agree that this author may not be the right person for the job.) Anyway, if I hear one more person demanding that Amazon PULL a book that doesn't break any laws, I'm going to scream.

On the other hand, the book does not give me a warm and fuzzy feeling... That cover? Blah. Also, I don't think the author knows much about children's fiction. It's about a teen-aged girl losing weight, but according to its listing, the book is aimed at ages 4-8. What?! I'm hoping that's an error in the listing because that age group doesn't even make sense to begin with. 4 year olds are at the picture book stage, and generally, 8 year olds are just beyond chapter books. (Is it a picture book? A chapter book? A longer book?) On top of that, writing about a teen-aged character makes no sense for that age group. Yeah, when I was 4 years old, I was just clamoring for preachy picture books about teen-agers going on diets. :)

alleycat
08-24-2011, 08:00 AM
I just hope it's as good as Booger Bob by the same author, where the kids in school learn tolerance by finally accepting Bob for who he is. ;-)

AnneMarble
08-24-2011, 08:11 AM
I just hope it's as good as Booger Bob by the same author, where the kids in school learn tolerance by finally accepting Bob for who he is. ;-)
Now that one I would read! In fact, I think I went to school with Bob...
:ROFL:

alleycat
08-24-2011, 08:18 AM
There is always one kid in class who will eat the white paste.

alleycat
08-24-2011, 08:20 AM
Now that one I would read! In fact, I think I went to school with Bob...
:ROFL:

I love the graphics. Here is Bob being tormented by Mr. Finger.

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51MKKuZBdsL._SL500_AA300_.jpg

Atlantis
08-24-2011, 10:03 AM
This is Go the Fuck to Sleep all over again. This book will probably sell alot of copies now because so many people are outraged and curious about it.

I don't think Maggie Goes on a Diet is a terrible concept. From what I've read the book is about a girl who suffers from emotional over eating. That is a real bad habit. I used to do it as a kid and became an overweight adult.

I think the thing that is really making people angry is the whole fat = ugly thin = beautiful idea. And that it includes the word "diet" which alot of people hate (including me. Diets are stupid). It probably would've been better if he'd titled the book "Maggie Learns to Be Active" or "Maggie learns how to eat heathy" because encouraging childern to diet is bad. Diets are not good for the body. It is better (in my opinion) to eat in moderation instead of going on stupid diets that restrict your food intake. I have lost 14kg since last november and that has not been through dieting. I just exercise for 30 mins every couple of days and watch my sugar and fat intake. But I do not deny myself anything. That is dieting and it only makes people miserable.

gothicangel
08-24-2011, 11:45 AM
I took one look at the cover and thought "Must be self-published." So I Googled the publisher, and sure enough, it was put out through a self-publishing company. In other words, all those protests are doing is giving more attention to a book that would have been ignored by almost everyone. :)

Not all self-published books are bad, having not read it, it could be possible this is a good one. As for the illustrations I don't think they are bad at all, actually reminds me of the one's in the books when I was little.




The book hasn't come out yet, but there are already eight threads about it on its page on Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/Maggie-Goes-Diet-Paul-Kramer/dp/0981974554/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1314154829&sr=8-1

:)

Smart [self-published] author. Good on her.

AnneMarble
08-24-2011, 04:19 PM
This is Go the Fuck to Sleep all over again. This book will probably sell alot of copies now because so many people are outraged and curious about it.

I don't think Maggie Goes on a Diet is a terrible concept. From what I've read the book is about a girl who suffers from emotional over eating. That is a real bad habit. I used to do it as a kid and became an overweight adult.

He probably could have gotten a better title from that. "Don't Eat When You're Angry" or something like that.


I think the thing that is really making people angry is the whole fat = ugly thin = beautiful idea. And that it includes the word "diet" which alot of people hate (including me. Diets are stupid). It probably would've been better if he'd titled the book "Maggie Learns to Be Active" or "Maggie learns how to eat heathy" because encouraging childern to diet is bad...

On the TV interview, he was asked why not call the book "Maggie Eats Healthy" because that's really what she learned to do. He explained that he thought people would ignore that book on the bookshelf. But I don't think he expected that the D-word would get the reaction it did.


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Not all self-published books are bad, having not read it, it could be possible this is a good one. As for the illustrations I don't think they are bad at all, actually reminds me of the one's in the books when I was little.

[FONT=Times New Roman]

I know that there are some great self-published books out there, but the idea of diet and health information being self-published gives me a bad vibe. There has to be some kind of vetting for that sort of book. Even professionally published diet and health books have contained bad advice, sometimes through misprints. But there is less of an editing process for self-pubbbed books.

The cover reminds me too much of certain "second tier" publishers that used to put out overly preachy books. :) Also, if he is aiming this at teens rather than at younger girls, then that cover won't work.


[SIZE=2]Smart [self-published] author. Good on her.

However, the author is a guy. That has freaked some of the commenters out. They may be reading too much into that. ("Eww, why is a man so concerned with the bodies of little girls?!" Do they freak out when Dr. Phil or Sanjay Gupta address issues of overweight children and teens?...)

Anyway, I don't think he did this on purpose. I'm sure he was as shocked as anyone when people jumped all over that title. I wonder if he is wishing he had chosen "Maggie Eats Healthy" after all?... Or maybe he'll decide he likes the publicity.

Anyway, it would help if the people harping on the book had actually, you know, read it?! ;)

Marian Perera
08-24-2011, 04:28 PM
I didn't know Amazon had so many vitriolic tags.



eating disorders for beginners
if you hate your daughter
your 12-year-old isn't sexy enough
talentless hack writer
why self-publishing exists

skylark
08-24-2011, 04:43 PM
What throws me is the target age compared to the age of the protagonist.

I wouldn't have wanted my 4 year old reading a book about a 14 year old's lifestyle choices regardless whether they were dieting unwisely, developing a positive body image, or wanting to be fit enough to get on a soccer team. They're too little. They shouldn't be worrying about sporting success or their own health, not yet.

And the cover is just odd. Pigtails? On a 14 year old?

gothicangel
08-24-2011, 04:59 PM
I wouldn't have wanted my 4 year old reading a book about a 14 year old's lifestyle choices regardless whether they were dieting unwisely, developing a positive body image, or wanting to be fit enough to get on a soccer team. They're too little. They shouldn't be worrying about sporting success or their own health, not yet.

The reality is that they do. 4 year olds are growing up in a world that is obsessed by body image [programmes lik X-Factor.] I think it was bad enough in the 90's, I'm certain it's worse now.

I work in McDonald's and its heartbreaking to see obese 4 year olds.

Mr Flibble
08-24-2011, 05:11 PM
I didn't know Amazon had so many vitriolic tags.



eating disorders for beginners
if you hate your daughter
your 12-year-old isn't sexy enough
talentless hack writer
why self-publishing exists




The more normal tags (healthy eating etc) have minus numbers. How the heck do you get minus tags?

scarletpeaches
08-24-2011, 05:17 PM
Encouraging kids to diet is bad?

Um, no. I would have thought allowing them to overeat until they got fat was worse. If a kid's overweight, yes, they should be on a diet. How else are they supposed to lose weight and get fit again?

ChaosTitan
08-24-2011, 05:38 PM
Encouraging kids to diet is bad?

Um, no. I would have thought allowing them to overeat until they got fat was worse. If a kid's overweight, yes, they should be on a diet. How else are they supposed to lose weight and get fit again?

The idea of getting fit isn't the issue. It's the word DIET. Here in the US, at least, there is a certain stigma attached to the word.

"Why aren't you on a diet?" "I just started another diet." "I've been dieting for five years."

The problem with most diets, especially fad diets, is that they're more about what you deny yourself than actually changing your eating habits for the better. They don't teach you a balanced, healthy eating lifestyle, they teach you how to avoid certain foods--usually foods your body needs (in moderation, as in all things).

Diets also don't fix the emotional problems that come with being overweight, especially for those of us who were teased about it as children. Those things stay with us into adulthood.

It also gets tricky, because young kids don't understand nutrition. If something tastes good, they want to eat it. And they only know something tastes good because parents let them eat it. My niece is two and a half, and you know her favorite foods? Fruit and yogurt. And cheese. Because that's what her mom feeds her--not cookies or snack cakes or sugary cereal.

Do we need books aimed at kids that can help teach them a healthy, active lifestyle? Hell, yes.

Does it need to be a diet book? No, not as we currently think of diet books today, which are about denial and avoidance of food.

quicklime
08-24-2011, 05:45 PM
hadn't read the book, but this seems like much ado about nothing.

as far as reading too much into this, that ALSO seems like much ado.

On a side note, when my son started Cub Scouts it was with some deep reservations on my part--I wanted no part of Scouts over their stance on gays, but wasn't willing to make my son the poster-boy for my causes. So he went, and we got our first assignment: read pages 9-15 or whatever with your kid and discuss.


We read half of it. It was supposed to be a well-meaning "look out for child molesters" thing, but it went from mildly creepy on downhill, with early scenarios being things like "what do you do if a stranger offers you a ride home" and later ones being things like "your grandpa invites you to sit on his lap while he is naked...." after awhile it just got way too creepy Freudian, and all I could think of was this being the scoutmaster version of the Marine dad in American Beauty.....THAT struck me as having some odd subtext

quicklime
08-24-2011, 05:55 PM
Do we need books aimed at kids that can help teach them a healthy, active lifestyle? Hell, yes.

Does it need to be a diet book? No, not as we currently think of diet books today, which are about denial and avoidance of food.


isn't that an issue of completely mis-branding the word, and letting negative associations rule in an entirely prejudicial fashion?

Again, I haven't read the book, and "Maggie couldn't get felt up, not with her fat ass and beady pig-eyes, and no boy would like the fatty girl in class" is worlds different from "Maggie felt tired and sad, but learning to eat better helped", but this seems like a lot of gut-reaction about a single word. Diet means what you eat, it has already been co-opted to mean controlling what you eat, and now that's further co-opted in some minds to "a draconian and unrealistic system of restriction and self-flagellation".

I just don't believe many words, including "diet", are positive or negative, a lot is in how they are used or misused, but it doesn't seem any of the complainers have any idea HOW it is being used yet.

The whole thing seems a bit like measuring the hanging rope, THEN having a fair trial....

ChaosTitan
08-24-2011, 06:02 PM
isn't that an issue of completely mis-branding the word, and letting negative associations rule in an entirely prejudicial fashion?

Again, I haven't read the book, and "Maggie couldn't get felt up, not with her fat ass and beady pig-eyes, and no boy would like the fatty girl in class" is worlds different from "Maggie felt tired and sad, but learning to eat better helped", but this seems like a lot of gut-reaction about a single word. I just don't believe many words, including "diet", are positive or negative, a lot is in how they are used or misuesed, but it doesn't seem any of the complainers have any idea HOW it is being used yet.

I definitely agree with your points. People seem to be getting up in arms over a title and cover, without ever having read the content (not that this should surprise us, since it happens quite frequently).

Diet is definitely a word that has been misused a lot and given a very negative connotation. A lot of people, especially those of us who've struggled with our weight (in past or present) have knee-jerk reactions to the word. And it's often a painful knee-jerk. I was eleven the first time someone told me I should go on a diet.

But given the constant rise in obesity in the US, and not being able to flip the channel on TV without seeing an ad for the next weight-loss wonder-drug, it's going to be hard to reclaim that word for the better.

Susan Littlefield
08-24-2011, 06:08 PM
Encouraging kids to diet is bad?

Um, no. I would have thought allowing them to overeat until they got fat was worse. If a kid's overweight, yes, they should be on a diet. How else are they supposed to lose weight and get fit again?

Neither encouraging a kid to diet nor allowing them to overeat is a good thing. The only good thing is teaching kids how to eat good, healthy foods and to exercise. When I was a child, I was maybe one of five fat people in my school. Now, you look around and more kids are fat.

Why? When I was a kid, people didn't eat a lot of junk food, they played outside all the time, we have physical education classes at school. Now, a lot of kids eat crap and don't exercise enough, and they sit in front of TV or game console or whatever. I happened to sit in front of the refrigerator a lot to compensate for what was going on inside of me.

I tried to diet when I was a kid and it did no good for me. In fact, when I in my late teens and early twenties, I had a good old fashioned eating disorder. I did eventually lose weight, but it was because I chose not to be unhealthy anymore. I didn't diet, and I don't diet to this day. I changed my eating habits and started running. That did it for me.

Parents needs to be the examples in healthy eating habits too.

scarletpeaches
08-24-2011, 06:10 PM
Everyone is on a diet. 'Diet' just means what you eat.

If you eat less food and get more exercise, you'll lose weight. Simple physics. Use up more energy than you put in.

And yes, I'm saying that as a citizen of one of the unhealthiest, most overweight countries in the world. We rule on heart disease, cancers and strokes! Go Scotland!

quicklime
08-24-2011, 06:18 PM
didn't you forget "alcoholism" and "silly menswear"?

Alpha Echo
08-24-2011, 06:21 PM
Yeah, I think that using the word "diet" in the title is what troubles people. As posted before me, in America, we prefer to say to our daughters, "Lead a healthy lifestyle" rather than "Go on a diet."

There's a difference between the MC in this book - a young girl who overeats for emotional reasons - and people like my stepdaughter.

She's 7, fit and healthy, tall and very thin. She recently insisted to me that her biomom is fat. (she's maybe size 6).

Finally, I asked her where she got that idea because she was very serious that her mother is fat. She said that her mom says she is.

Her mother is putting it into her head that a size 6 is fat.

Not cool.

And kind of derailing a bit...

Back to the OP - I think the concept of the book is a good one. Children need to learn what consitutes healthy eating and living because unfortunately, they don't necessarily learn that through their parents' examples.

The title should have been different, though.

And all those reviews will guarantee everyone and their daughter reads is.

quicklime
08-24-2011, 06:28 PM
And all those reviews will guarantee everyone and their daughter reads is.



This.


I've often thought that if I ever really gave up on the writing thing, I could cheat and write a story about a gay, profane Christ. It wouldn't even have to be a well-written story, but the extremely devout would trample one another to get to the bookshelves so they could make me rich while sharing in their collective moral outrage.....

gotta love folks who buy something just so they can be mad about it, instead of walking the fuck by....

Rhoda Nightingale
08-24-2011, 06:34 PM
Everyone is on a diet. 'Diet' just means what you eat.

If you eat less food and get more exercise, you'll lose weight. Simple physics. Use up more energy than you put in.

To the first part, yes, that's what the word means, but it does have a decidedly negative connotation here in the US. People see it and freak the hell out--as evidenced by the reactions to this book--and even with the word "diet" attached, people are very very VERY tetchy about weight issues here.

As to the second part, yeeeah, it's really not that simple for a lot of people. And that attitude that it's as simple as eating less and exercising more is one of the reasons WHY they're so tetchy. (I'm looking for a link that goes into a much deeper discussion about that, but I'm not having much luck here. It was a response to some long diatribe elsewhere on the internet of some girl saying, "Why are you so fat? It's so simple to not be fat! And you look disgusting!" or something to that effect. Hang on...)

skylark
08-24-2011, 08:59 PM
The reality is that they do. 4 year olds are growing up in a world that is obsessed by body image [programmes lik X-Factor.] I think it was bad enough in the 90's, I'm certain it's worse now.

I work in McDonald's and its heartbreaking to see obese 4 year olds.

But even if this is so...why isn't this book about a 4-8 year old dealing with her body image problems? Why is there this massive gap between the target agegroup and the protagonist?

My son's only 12, and it was a problem when he was four finding books which were at his reading level and dealt with issues he understood. Sure he played football (soccer)...but books about 9-12 year olds devastated about not getting in the school team still went way over his head socially.

Susan Littlefield
08-25-2011, 05:24 AM
Everyone is on a diet. 'Diet' just means what you eat.

Here in America, when someone is on a diet, they are usually trying to lose weight.


If you eat less food and get more exercise, you'll lose weight. Simple physics. Use up more energy than you put in.Absolutely correct. However, a lot of people don't get this concept.

Shadow_Ferret
08-25-2011, 05:35 AM
Am I the only one who hasn't heard of this book?!

No. Until I read your post just now I'd never heard of it either.

OneWriter
08-25-2011, 05:50 AM
The idea of getting fit isn't the issue. It's the word DIET. Here in the US, at least, there is a certain stigma attached to the word.

This has to change.

The stigma should shift to the word "overweight" instead.
Am I the only one who's looking around and all I see is overfed kids who can't do the monkey bars at the park because they're too used to sitting on a couch and playing videogames?

I have a friend who works on a youth obesity study. The numbers are overwhelming! And these kids have no clue what kind of health risks they carry! They have no clue on what a healthy diet is, they have no clue on how and when to exercise. She works in one of the poor areas of the country, where often TV and videogames are the only available babysitter, and microwavable dinners are the only available meal. She tells me it's devastating and the damage is far worse when bad diet (yes, I said diet!), obesity and a sedentary life happen this early in life. So, do we want to have to cure increasing numbers of diabetics and vascular disease cases or do we want to prevent the overload on health costs for the next decades?

I'm outraged that people are outraged at this book.
If they're disgusted by the word diet they should change dictionary.

backslashbaby
08-25-2011, 06:44 AM
Getting people to focus on scales won't make for healthier eating, though. If we could keep the language on health and healthy foods and exercise, that covers all the bases. Granted, you can be overweight by eating too many avocados or nuts, but that's usually not the problem. Even then, you just tack on a bit about portion size.

If someone is eating too little, whether it's because they are on a diet or not, that can't qualify as healthy, either. I like that about it. Then stupid crash diets wouldn't be acceptable, and that could stave off eating disorders (including overeating).

The title does bug me, although the contents might not. 'Going on a diet' implies going off a diet at some point and that makes no sense if it's about health.

DancingMaenid
08-25-2011, 07:30 AM
I think "diet" has a stigma because it makes people think of trendy weight-loss diets that are designed for the short-term and have little or no emphasis on actual healthy eating.

"Going on a diet" has a different connotation than "eating a healthy diet" does. The former does not make me think of healthy eating.

Victoria
08-25-2011, 07:49 AM
It's more than just the word 'diet.' It's the concept that if you get thin, you will be popular. The desire to be liked, and the belief that being thin is the answer, is why eating disorders among children are on a dramatic rise. Where does this idea originate?

gothicangel
08-25-2011, 11:17 AM
It's more than just the word 'diet.' It's the concept that if you get thin, you will be popular. The desire to be liked, and the belief that being thin is the answer, is why eating disorders among children are on a dramatic rise. Where does this idea originate?

The media that we bombard our kids with, the same media that we revel in too.

scarletpeaches
08-25-2011, 11:42 AM
If everyone's anorexic because of these evil books, how come the population is becoming more and more overweight?

quicklime
08-25-2011, 04:21 PM
If everyone's anorexic because of these evil books, how come the population is becoming more and more overweight?



fewer and fewer readers?



seriously, if peoplel are up in arms about the book because they have a knee-jerk reaction to "diet" as a word, I think that's a problem. If they are up in arms because they assume this tiny drop in a monumental bucket is gonna give kids body issues, they aren't looking around very carefully. The entire world bombards kids, and yes one more piece is arguably still bad, but christ, how many extra copies did the complainers SELL for this fucking guy.

Stupidity can be the best marketing tool of all.

NeuroFizz
08-25-2011, 04:41 PM
Does the book address a realistic situation? Do some girls of this age resort to diets to change their body shape and/or body image? If so, why get all PC on the word diet? In reality, children get on these kicks more from the actions and teachings of their parents than from books like this, and certanily more from advertising, television, movies, and magazine articles. There are girls (and boys) of this age who are unhappy with their bodies, so what should the author do? Sanitize one or more approaches that are actually being used by youngsters in this age group because people object to the various connotations of the d-word?

The whole body-image, healthy eating, healthy living thing starts in the home, with the parents, and centers there. In a well-adjusted home, a book like this can serve as a nucleating agent for discussion of things like healthy eating, the dangers of fad diets, the influence of advertising on the body-image issue, and other important issues.

It seems to me that, more and more, parents are looking for others to do their parenting, or at least to look somewhere other than in the mirror for excuses when their kids get into trouble on issues like this.

Yeah. Like, maybe if we take the word "diet" out of books like this, it will keep the parents from actually having to talk to their kids about important life and health issues. I find this a symptom of lazy parenting.

skylark
08-25-2011, 04:57 PM
There are girls (and boys) of this age who are unhappy with their bodies, so what should the author do? Sanitize one or more approaches that are actually being used by youngsters in this age group because people object to the various connotations of the d-word?

For a start, I think they should write a book where the protagonist dealing with the issues is in this age group.

I've been thinking about what it is that bothers me about this book. It's actually the same thing that bothers me about Twilight. The author's taken a much older girl, given her behaviour and feelings which are common for the younger target audience but which you'd hope they'd grow out of, and told them that such feelings are normal for the older agegroup - i.e. what they should be aspiring to.

So in Twilight we get the 17-18 year old who wants an older boyfriend to protect her and make her decisions for her (i.e. a fairly standard insecure 12 year old), and here we appear to have the cute pigtailed 14 year old who wants to diet so she can get in the pretty pink dress (i.e. a fairly standard overweight 4 year old).

He's in effect telling a 4 year old with body issues that she should expect to still have them at 14.

Victoria
08-25-2011, 06:38 PM
If everyone's anorexic because of these evil books, how come the population is becoming more and more overweight?

Because healthy food is expensive as hell. A bag of apples: $6, a bad of knock-off Doritos: $2. Lazy parenting is a huge contributor, as well. And no one is saying these messages are making everyone anorexic, but they are reinforcing the ideas that drive some to develop eating disorders. But, all media does that, targeting young women especially.

Alpha Echo
08-25-2011, 06:43 PM
Because healthy food is expensive as hell.

So, so true. I don't care what anyone says. We buy as much as we can from local farmers, and that's very cheap. But we can't get everything there, and we spend more money on fresh produce than on our sources of protein. We go through it faster too. It's most of what we eat.

Cyia
08-25-2011, 07:09 PM
Everyone is on a diet. 'Diet' just means what you eat.

If you eat less food and get more exercise, you'll lose weight. Simple physics. Use up more energy than you put in.

This was exactly my thought as well. Being a "dietitian" is a solid career path, one that helps people who are overweight, underweight, in need of special or altered diets, etc. No one complains about the "diet" in that context.

And there's nothing wrong with the idea that an unhappy, unhealthy fourteen-year-old girl realizes something's wrong and takes healthy steps to make herself healthier. She's eating good food and exercising, not puking into the toilet, and it's very plausible that a kid who was too heavy to participate in sports will find out that they've got talent in those same sports when their body is physically able to compete at a higher level.

Whether people want to admit it or not, there is a happiness factor involved in losing weight. Part is the sense of accomplishment, part is the endorphin release with exercise, and part is the increasing lack of social stigma the person feels, whether that stigma is real or imagined. There's nothing wrong with a girl taking proper, healthy steps to weight loss, achieving her goal, and making friends with her teammates. The problem, IMO, is people who don't want to face the idea that their kids are overweight and that the extra pounds are potentially harmful.

Bubastes
08-25-2011, 07:15 PM
The problem, IMO, is people who don't want to face the idea that their kids are overweight and that the extra pounds are potentially harmful.

Maybe it's because they are overweight themselves and don't want to make changes in their own lives. Incorporating healthy habits is simple, but not always easy. I've personally noticed people tend to get caught up in the minutae (Should I count calories or carbs or fat or points or .... ? What time of day should I exercise? What's the best exercise?) instead of executing the simple, but crucial changes (eat real food/not too much/mostly plants and move more). Sometimes I wonder whether focusing on the minutae is an avoidance tactic.

leon66a
08-25-2011, 07:22 PM
For a start, I think they should write a book where the protagonist dealing with the issues is in this age group.

I've been thinking about what it is that bothers me about this book. It's actually the same thing that bothers me about Twilight. The author's taken a much older girl, given her behaviour and feelings which are common for the younger target audience but which you'd hope they'd grow out of, and told them that such feelings are normal for the older agegroup - i.e. what they should be aspiring to.

So in Twilight we get the 17-18 year old who wants an older boyfriend to protect her and make her decisions for her (i.e. a fairly standard insecure 12 year old), and here we appear to have the cute pigtailed 14 year old who wants to diet so she can get in the pretty pink dress (i.e. a fairly standard overweight 4 year old).

He's in effect telling a 4 year old with body issues that she should expect to still have them at 14.

I think this is a bit of a reach. The problem with your analysis is equating feelings being normal for a particular age group with what kids should aspire to in that age group. It may normal for an overweight 4 year old to want to lose weight to get into a pretty dress, but it's also normal for a 14 year old and, for that matter, my 44 year old wife. Or me, before that 20 year high school reunion. Even though it's not something to aspire to, it's certainly a normal part of life for a lot of people.

There is a question of whether the most effective way to convey the message to a 4-8 year old is to have a 4-8 year old or a 14 year old work through those problems. I don't write kiddie lit so I don't know, but I don't think the choice is inherently unreasonable.

backslashbaby
08-25-2011, 08:10 PM
One of the biggest problems with this subject, but maybe not the book, is that kids have a hard time figuring out if they are 'fat'. It's easy enough with a lot of kids, sure.

But a lot of kids get called fat as just an insult (especially girls), or they are trying to figure out what is considered fat and point to any soft spot on their body. Parents (especially moms) can be awful in this, too: 'I'm so fat!' from the mom who wants to lose 3 pounds.

The problem with getting kids on diets, etc, instead of just healthy eating is that diets backfire and regain is huge, or they take hold in an abnormal way and an eating disorder is formed.

How many 'fat' kids do you know who have never been on a diet? Maybe it's changed now, but every one I knew was dieting on and off (the really restrictive dieting that backfires).

Scribhneoir
08-25-2011, 10:34 PM
The whole body-image, healthy eathing, healthy living thing starts in the home, with the parents, and centers there.

This.

The problem is that many parents don't know anything about healthy eating, either. I know a lot of people who don't cook from scratch. They don't know how.

Busy, tired and unskilled in the kitchen, they feed themselves and their kids high fat, high calorie, high sodium, low nutrition convenience foods. It doesn't help that these foods are cheaper than fresh meat and produce.

I grew up with a mom who cooked well-balanced meals from scratch every night even though she worked outside the home. Good food, sensible portions. That's how I learned to eat. But how are kids to learn healthy eating habits from parents who use the drive-thru as a substitute for cooking?

Lillie
08-26-2011, 03:35 AM
I've often thought that if I ever really gave up on the writing thing, I could cheat and write a story about a gay, profane Christ. It wouldn't even have to be a well-written story, but the extremely devout would trample one another to get to the bookshelves so they could make me rich while sharing in their collective moral outrage.....


Not necessarily.

I've got a book about a profane, drug dealing Christ.
The best bit is when he gets his disciples in a public toilet, gives them each a syringe and a wrap of smack and says 'Do this in remembrance of me'.

As far as I know I'm the only person in the world who has ever read this book.
No one else seems to have heard of it. The moral majority certainly isn't burning it in the streets.

DancingMaenid
08-26-2011, 04:04 AM
I think this is a bit of a reach. The problem with your analysis is equating feelings being normal for a particular age group with what kids should aspire to in that age group. It may normal for an overweight 4 year old to want to lose weight to get into a pretty dress, but it's also normal for a 14 year old and, for that matter, my 44 year old wife. Or me, before that 20 year high school reunion. Even though it's not something to aspire to, it's certainly a normal part of life for a lot of people.


Concerns about weight are almost universal, but what constitutes a realistic concern or goal can vary somewhat depending on age. I'm not a doctor a nutritionist, but I'd be surprised if advice for adults would be appropriate for teens or kids, or that advice for teens would necessarily be right for younger kids. Bodies change, and what's normal at one age may not be normal at another.

quicklime
08-26-2011, 05:17 AM
Not necessarily.

I've got a book about a profane, drug dealing Christ.
The best bit is when he gets his disciples in a public toilet, gives them each a syringe and a wrap of smack and says 'Do this in remembrance of me'.

As far as I know I'm the only person in the world who has ever read this book.
No one else seems to have heard of it. The moral majority certainly isn't burning it in the streets.



it seems a bad bit of marketing perhaps, for a very interesting book. The way things go viral now, I suspect your book, had it gotten to the wrong folks (or right) very quickly, could have become a huge bestseller based only on angry people looking to get angrier.

"Brokeback Gethsemane" plus a few rants by someone like Glenn Beck would leave the write literally buried in cash as well as hate mail, methinks

Polenth
08-26-2011, 05:28 AM
How many 'fat' kids do you know who have never been on a diet? Maybe it's changed now, but every one I knew was dieting on and off (the really restrictive dieting that backfires).

Probably depends a bit on where you live. Most of the overweight children I knew at school had diets given to them at the doctors, rather than the latest fad diet. The doctors would attempt to educate the parents about healthy eating and the goal wasn't a supermodel figure.

Fad diets were mainly done by people who weren't overweight.

This changed if the teens were still overweight when they hit adulthood. Then they became fad diet consumers too.

Lillie
08-26-2011, 05:48 AM
it seems a bad bit of marketing perhaps, for a very interesting book. The way things go viral now, I suspect your book, had it gotten to the wrong folks (or right) very quickly, could have become a huge bestseller based only on angry people looking to get angrier.

"Brokeback Gethsemane" plus a few rants by someone like Glenn Beck would leave the write literally buried in cash as well as hate mail, methinks

Brokeback Gethsemane. :)
You have to write it!

The one I was on about is called 'The Last Days' and it's by Andrew Masterson.
It's great good fun.

How about 'Gay Jesus tells Maggie she has to diet or she'll go to fu*king hell'?
Do you think that will get plenty of attention?

R.S. Dean
08-26-2011, 06:29 AM
I don't really see why people would be so up in arms about this. It's a book for 4--8 year olds, right? If parents don't think it sends a good message to their kids, they shouldn't let their kids read it. Simple as that. It's not like the preschoolers are going to swipe Mom's credit card and order it on the sly.

ladybritches
08-26-2011, 09:41 AM
I don't really see why people would be so up in arms about this. It's a book for 4--8 year olds, right? If parents don't think it sends a good message to their kids, they shouldn't let their kids read it. Simple as that. It's not like the preschoolers are going to swipe Mom's credit card and order it on the sly.

Don't underestimate those preschoolers. They are tricksy. :D

I haven't read the book, and don't intend to, so won't be taking part in any book burning or author flogging today. But I do have to wonder, as a general rule, if telling a child she is fat will in any way help her.

crunchyblanket
08-26-2011, 02:20 PM
Eh. Some of the kids we get in Paediatric Medicine are so fat they need adult blood pressure cuffs. They're going to be dead before they're forty. It's terrifying, and worse, the parents are loading them with crisps and chocolate during visiting hours.

So yeah. Honestly, I think a book like this might help kids, depending on the way it's constructed. Going down the "fat = ugly" route is clearly a ridiculous idea, but going down the "eating a fuckton of Quavers will make you seriously unhealthy" route makes perfect sense.

quicklime
08-26-2011, 06:01 PM
How about 'Gay Jesus tells Maggie she has to diet or she'll go to fu*king hell'?
Do you think that will get plenty of attention?


Or

"Jesus loves the little children--except the fat ones"