CYBILS REVIEW: Losing it by Erin Fry
ABOUT THE BOOK
Bennett Robinson loves baseball, especially watching Dodgers’ games with his dad while munching on burgers and fries—the perfect “game food.” Baseball even helped Bennett and his dad get over his mom’s death from cancer. But there’s no way Bennett could ever play baseball. Bennett is fat, the kind of fat that gives you belly button sweat stains and makes it tough to get off a saggy couch.
But on one perfect, baseball-watching day, everything changes. Bennett’s dad is taken away on a stretcher, and Bennett doesn’t know if he will live or die.
Now Bennett has to move in with know-it-all Aunt Laura, his mom’s sister, who hates Bennett’s dad. And Aunt Laura is making it her personal mission to Get Bennett Healthy. Bennett knows that Aunt Laura will take over his entire life if he lets her.
It’s time for Bennett to step up to the plate. Because maybe there are some things a fat boy can do.
I really, really liked this book. Not only are there some great characters, but it just feels very genuine; real people with real problems. Bennett faces some of the normal challenges for an 8th grader, but he also faces bigger challenges. Not only does he have to deal with a nasty bully, but his father just had a stroke and his Aunt Laura is determined to get him healthy, whether he wants to or not. Like most middle graders, it irritates him to be told what to do. But Bennett doesn't want to end up like his dad either, so he decides to join the cross country team, despite the disbelief of his best friend, P.G. and his own doubts that he can do it. He's way overweight and running is very difficult for him, but as he faces his doubts and fears he learns that sometimes it doesn't matter if you finish last, as long as you finish.
Bennett is such a likable main character, pretty easy going, pretty comfortable in his own shoes at least until his father ends up in the hospital. I appreciated having a main character who isn't gorgeous, fit and popular, but more like the rest of us with problems and challenges. I also liked that a cute girl liked him despite his shape and size, just because he's very likable. P.G., Bennett's best friend is also a great character who is afraid that as Bennett changes they won't be able to relate any more (P.G. is overweight too), but who comes through when Bennett most needs him. Bennett's relationship with his dad changes after the stroke and it's sweet to see its development.
The fact that Bennett's problems aren't all fixed by the end of the book provides a realistic and acceptable ending. I think above all what I liked about the book was how easy Bennett is to relate to, he felt very real and I couldn't help but root for him. Highly recommended and very readable.