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July 29, 2008

Fat Kid Rules the World

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Fat Kid Rules the World

Author: K. L. Going           

Page Length: 185

Reading Level: 5

Genre: Fiction        

PLOT SUMMARY: Troy is a 17 year old, 300 pound miserable young man who is about to take his life by stepping off a subway platform, when he is stopped by Curt MacCrae, a homeless, dropout guitar expert. The two begin to exchange conversation, and the next morning Troy awakes in his room with Curt in his house. 

Curt is a punk guitarist and invites Troy, the fat kid, to be the drummer in his band.  The only experience Troy has as a drummer is from when he was in band in junior high.  Since Troy has no friends, and Curt has potential to be famous, Troy decides to be the drummer.  Curt convinces him to miss school for practice, but often does not show for their scheduled meetings. He also gets money from Troy for needed food.

All is not detrimental, however, because Curt helps Troy realize that everyone does not stare at him all the time, just because he is fat.  Troy gets to experience attention from females for the first time, because he is a friend of the admired guitarist.  Curt arranges for Troy to have drum lessons from the drummer of “Smack Metal Puppets”, Troy’s favorite band.

The bond continues to build between Curt and Troy, while Troy must convince his father and brother that he really wants to pursue his drumming abilities.

REVIEW: K. L. Going writes a book, which pairs an unlikely twosome together.  Troy, the obese narrator, and Curt, the homeless, druggie, guitar genius, form a bond which helps both of them overcome their own self-esteem problems. 

Troy’s father is an essential character in the book, which says little, but when he does, everyone listens.  He earns the respect of Curt, who shows no respect to anything in the rest of the world. He understands Troy’s needs, and although it is hard, he lets him experience the growing pains of becoming independent.

The book is a mix of life in the punk rock world and the feelings of a suicidal obese teen.  It is funny; yet heart wrenching to read of Troy’s self-esteem issues.

Although the language is rough, I don’t think it is anything the high school teen hasn’t heard.  It is appropriate as it is used in the “punk life” in the setting of the story.

AREAS FOR TEACHING: Character, Compare and Contrast

TOUCHY AREAS-PAGES: drug use, strong language

RELATED BOOKS: Fat Boy Swim, Jake Reinvented, The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things


REVIEWED BY: Shirley Wagner


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