Review | The Earth, My Butt and Other Big Round Things – Carolyn Mackler

The Earth, My Butt and Other Big Round Things is an older book that got a modern makeover on its 15th anniversary. I ended up reading this, because I requested The Universe is Expanding and so Am I on Netgalley way too long ago, haha. I didn’t realize it was the sequel when I did.

So I decided to listen to the first book on Storytel, so I can finally tackle one of the overdue ARCs on Netgalley. Keep on reading to find out what I thought of The Earth, My Butt and Other Big Round Things.

Carolyn Mackler’s Printz Honor book–starring the unforgettably funny, body-conscious Virginia Shreves–returns in this 15th anniversary edition featuring a new cover, text updates, and never-before-seen material from the author.

Fifteen-year-old Virginia feels like a plus-sized black sheep in her family, especially next to her perfect big brother Byron. Not to mention her best friend has moved, leaving Virginia to navigate an awkward relationship with a boy alone. He might like her now . . . but what if he ever looks under all her layers of clothes?

In order to survive, Virginia decides to follow a “Fat Girl Code of Conduct,” which works, until the unthinkable causes her family’s façade to crumble. As her world spins out of orbit, she realizes that being true to herself might be the only way back.

Told in a perfect blend of humor and heart, this acclaimed, Printz Honor winner resonates as much today as it did fifteen years ago, now featuring a new cover, author foreword, text updates, and other never-before-seen back matter.


“Does “doing exactly what I want” mean not thinking about other people’s feelings? Because that’s just not the kind of person I am.

Maybe it can mean whatever I want it to mean, like taking care of myself and not letting people walk over me”

The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things is a book I still don’t what to think about and it’s been over a week since I finished it. This book has a lot of good things about it, but there are also some things I find really problematic.

I’ll start out with the problematic sides of this story, so I can hopefully end this review on a higher not than when starting it. Virginia’s parents are just awful! Her mother is an adolescent psychologist, but the way she treats her daughter seems like she really has no clue what she’s doing. Her weight is the only important thing. Virginia gets praised for hanging skinny models on the fridge, but not for the amazing grades she gets at school. Her father buys her a mirror when she decides to start dieting and makes a lot of remarks about her weight and body. Near the end Virginia starts standing up for herself, but it doesn’t feel like anything got resolved. That was just a big train wreck.

There is also mention of date rape in this story and nothing is really done about it. The family doesn’t want to speak about it and it’s not called what it should be. It’s also something with no consequences. He goes back to school at the end of the book like nothing happens (except him not being able to be on a debate team or going to Paris). I was really bothered by this!

Then there’s Virginia. In the beginning of the book she says some really awful things about herself. She clearly has an eating disorder (as well as her mother) and nothing is really dealt with. All she thinks is that her parents would like her more if she lost some weight. There’s even a whole list of things she has about “fat girls”. What they can and can’t do. It was really hard to read. When she visits her doctor to talk about weight loss, I liked him. I really wish things he addresses played a bigger part in this story.

Okay, I know that’s a lot of negative, but I did like Virginia (well certain aspects). She’s funny and very smart. I loved seeing her getting stronger in this book and standing up for herself. It’s clear she sucks up a lot while being at home and it’s really not fair. The weekend she spends with her best friend was a lot of fun to read. I also loved her finding something she loved at the end and really be passionate about. I’m hoping we see this continue in the next book.

I know this review is a bit more negative than what I normally write, but I feel it’s important to talk about the subjects in this book. If you’ve read this book, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

2 thoughts on “Review | The Earth, My Butt and Other Big Round Things – Carolyn Mackler

  1. Oh no! I was super intrigued by this when I saw the title but I’m sad to hear about the problematic aspects!

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