Me and Fat Glenda by Lila Perl

fatThis is the second of my Lizzie Skurnick books.  And this is another one that apparently I hadn’t actually read when I was a kid.  The title was so familiar to me, but nothing in the story rang a bell.  With an original publication date of 1974 there were many things that seemed dated to me, including simply the way Sara, the main character, talked about Glenda being fat.

Sara’s California family is unconventional-you can tell because they live in California, her dad is a junk sculpture artist, her mom wears leotards, they eschew furniture or cooked food, and Sara calls them by their first names.  When they move across country to Long Island for a new college teaching job for her dad the culture shock is greater for the adults than for Sara, who longs for a more conventional lifestyle. Still, she recognizes the importance of creativity and individuality and I loved it when she stuck up for her parents, called out Glenda on racism, and spoke up at other times, too.

There’s a funny tone to this book because the story really isn’t about how much they stick out in this town-it’s about Glenda and whether or not she can be trusted.  Glenda instantly befriends Sara and then tries to manipulate her so that she doesn’t make friends with anyone else. Meanwhile other kids are telling Sara to watch out for Glenda because she’s sneaky and not to be trusted.  So who’s to be trusted? Who’s telling the truth? It seems like there’s going to be a huge revelation on Halloween, but it felt a bit anticlimactic to me.  And the ending seemed too easy and simple, and given the previous events I still didn’t trust anyone!  I see that there’s a sequel and I might have to find it because I’m curious to know what happens to them all.

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