Fat Hoochie Prom Queen by Nico Medina
IQ "Maybe she thinks that a life of overexercise, denying yourself happiness and decent sustenance, and tracking the development of wrinkle lines more than, say, the state of current affairs is what I want for myself. But it's not what I want." Madge pg. 60-61
Fat Hoochie Prom Queen is an entertaining "I'm fat and I'm proud" book which is so needed. Margarita "Madge" Diaz is big and she couldn't care less. As you can see in the above IQ quote, she knows that there are more important things in life than starving yourself. Madge is fat yes, but she's also really popular. Her former friend-turned nemesis, Bridget Benson challenges her to run against her for prom queen. It's the cliche (skinny, blond hair, blue eyes, white actress) vs. the original (fat Latina) and it gets ugly. It also gets funny and crazy unpredictable.
The actions of Madge and her friends are crazy. They party almost every weekend, drink constantly (including Liquid Cocaine and no you won't die from trying it, haha), get high and are completely unapologetic about it. A problem I had with this novel was it could be a bit unrealistic at times. The novel doesn't mention the repercussions that come with drinking and doing drugs. Madge and her best friend Lucas have a car-service (Lucas is rich and his mom supports his drinking habit) and that's responsible since they don't drink and drive. But it's not very realistic either. It was nice seeing how the other side lives, but I think the book should have more explicitly stated that if you don't have a car service and you drink and drive you could get hurt or kill someone (or yourself), etc. But Madge and Lucas look out for each other while drinking and doing drugs so it does become clear that you should always have someone looking out for you. Also, it seems like Madge is never home. We learn that she doesn't get along with her mom because her mom is always pressuring her to eat healthier, makes her feel bad about herself and disses Madge's older sister, Vanessa, who didn't go to college. So they have their issues and Madge's father is a workaholic. I would have liked to see Madge's parents become more developed characters, their transformation seemed rather rushed. I also thought it was totally unrealistic at how Madge was never home. Her parents cared about her so I didn't see how they could just let her go out and about, she had a lot of freedom and could go anywhere she wanted without questions being asked any questions. My parents ask me a ton of questions when I'm going out but maybe it's because she's a senior. In the beginning they were bad, in the end they see the error of their ways. That was too fast.
I really liked all the other characters in the novel. Madge is a breath of fresh air in this world, she could care less that she's fat, she embraces it and hams it up. She's carefree and loves to party but she's also really smart and does a good job of balancing her studies with her social life. Fat Hoochie Prom Queen is filled with positive self-esteem boosters, my weight gets me down (and I'm not even that big but I've starved myself before and looked at pro-anorexic sights) and Madge was inspiring because she's right, life is too short to become obsessed with your weight (I don't think I will completely change because of this book but it did get me to thinking). Lucas is hilarious and while he embodies some stereotypes of gay best friend, he has his original points. His romance woes are ones that anyone can relate to, should I take back someone who has wronged me? Lucas has some crazy scenes, especially with Jade/Trixie (I don't want to spoil so all I'm going to say is that this involves a 'redneck' and school bus driving). Absolutely hilarious! The relationship between Madge and Bridget is authentic and we get to know Bridget really well, her growth was wholly realistic. Madge's crush, Redneck Randy, sounds adorable and he also provides some funny scenes (if you don't like jokes about rednecks or white trailer trash you may not want to read this book)
I was pleased that while this book discussed self-esteem and friendship and lessons are learned, it's never in a condescending or preachy manner. I do think the ending was a bit predictable (it was one of those that tried not to be though so maybe it's just me) but there are some other twists in the book that you won't see coming. The author does a good job of describing Florida as well. I liked getting to know the party/club scene of Florida.
Disclosure: From the library.