It's 1989 and Rae Earl is a fat, boy-mad 17-year-old girl, living in Stamford, Lincolnshire with her mum and their deaf white cat in a council house with a mint green bathroom and a refrigerator Rae can't keep away from. She’s also just been released from a psychiatric ward. My Mad Fat Diary is the hilarious, harrowing and touching real-life diary Rae kept during that fateful year and the basis of the hit British television series of the same name now coming to HULU. Surrounded by people like her constantly dieting mum, her beautiful frenemy Bethany, her mates from the private school up the road (called “Haddock”, “Battered Sausage” and “Fig”) and the handsome, unattainable boys Rae pines after (who sometimes end up with Bethany…), My Mad Fat Diary is the story of an overweight young woman just hoping to be loved at a time when slim pop singers ruled the charts. Rae's chronicle of her world will strike a chord with anyone who's ever been a confused, lonely teenager clashing with her parents, sometimes overeating, hating her body, always taking herself VERY seriously, never knowing how positively brilliant she is and keeping a diary to record it all. My Mad Fat Diary – 365 days with one of the wisest and funniest girls in England.
Publication date: April 19th 2016 by St. Martin's Griffin
Available: Amazon | The Book Depository (affiliate links)
This diary will definitely resonate with teens who are always very critical and unsure of themselves. Rae has different struggles than those at her age and time period; she secretly deals with OCD while very publicly having to wade through the world as a bigger girl whose appearance every seems to feel free to comment on. Since this is Rae's real diary, we come to have a sort of intimacy with her that we may not have with a fictionalized account.
It seems as though every time something seems to be about to turn itself around and be right and okay, something else happens that destroys it and sends Rae into another emotional tailspin. This is mainly due to her, perfectly age-appropriate, problem of caring too much what others think of her and of desperately wanting to be in a relationship. Although the relationships of the kids around her are not necessarily amazing or healthy, she still yearns to have what they have and feels that her size is what is keeping her from it. This misconception causes her to make several big mistakes with others.
As a girl who also grew up dealing with OCD and feeling bigger than everyone else, this seemed to really hit home with some of the younger journals I kept, though my sense of morality and family is slightly different.
Young Adult Notes: sexual references, language, triggering overeating, references to abortion, mental illness struggles
Source: I received a copy of this titled from the publisher in exchange for a fair review.