Note: I was compensated for this BlogHer Book Club review, but all opinions expressed are my own.
I’m going to be perfectly honest with you. Ninety-five percent of the time, I did not like Ace Jones, protagonist and narrator of Stephanie McAfee’s Diary of a Mad Fat Girl.
Who is Ace Jones? How do I begin to explain Ace Jones…(Cue the Mean Girls-esque montage of people describing her.) Except instead of a slew of compliments, it would probably sound something like this:
Ace Jones is deeply flawed.
She has too many cut-off shorts and only one dress she likes to wear.
I hear she didn’t even wash her hair today.
I hear she took art classes…in Europe.
Her favorite breed of dog is a chiweenie.
One time she met Mason McKenzie at school – and he told her she was pretty.
One time she punched her friend’s abusive husband in the face…it was awesome.
As you’ve probably guessed, Ace Jones is the mad fat girl. Except aside from a few (self-made) references to full-ish thighs and one guy calling her fat, Ace’s weight doesn’t really seem all that important to the plot line.
The “mad” part, however, comes in to play quite a bit. And it may also be a large part of why I didn’t like Ace Jones.
Ace spends a lot of her life running from things. She runs from pursuing her dream of owning an art studio and painting professionally. She runs from her dream relationship with the guy she has been in love with her entire life. She runs from her friends at the slightest sign of trouble.
I can understand someone running from big life issues, but my issue with Ace is that she seems to run from things when there isn’t even a real reason to do it. She makes her life more complicated for no reason.
Anyone who has spent any amount of time talking to me knows that people like that really frustrate me. I just can’t understand self-saboteurs — why would you want to make life harder on yourself? Ergo, Ace frustrates me. But you could also make the argument that she was a fairly realistic character for that reason.
Unfortunately, I’m not sure I would say the rest of the book matches up in terms of realism. Everyone is a little too perfectly intertwined, and, without giving away the ending, there seem to be a lot of characters who swoop in and save the day using fairly unrealistic means. Basically, the book has a lot of fairy godmothers — with limitless budgets. Pretty convenient, if you ask me.
To sum up: It’s a quick, fairly vacuous read, but it would be great for a little beach reading. If you tend to get overly invested in characters like I do, be prepared to want to throttle a few of them in this book.
Has anyone else read this book? Did you also find yourself rolling your eyes a bit? Share your opinion in the comments!
Want to get involved in some deeper discussions? Join us at the BlogHer Book Club!