Fat Chance
Deborah Blumenthal
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Fat Chance

Deborah Blumenthal
Red Dress Ink
304 pages
March 2004
rated 5 of 5 possible stars

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Itís about time that a chick-lit book featured a secure main character who is larger than the supposed "ideal" weight, one who loves her life and her friends and who finds a man who loves her for what she is, not what she weighs. Unfortunately, Fat Chance by Deborah Blumenthal is not that book.

Fat Chance is the story of Maggie OíLeary, an overweight, supposedly secure woman who writes a popular newspaper column about the ineffectiveness of dieting and how society has created an ideal for women that they canít possibly live up to. This is a good startÖfor about the first three pages. Unfortunately, after those three pages, Maggie responds to a request by a Hollywood heartthrob to assist him in his upcoming movie about a diet doctor by going on a drastic diet (even though she makes her livelihood writing about how they donít work), exercising obsessively and even having plastic surgery.

When Maggie meets Mike Taylor, one of the hottest actors in movies, she is a mere shell of her former self and has alienated nearly all of her friends and co-workers. However, Mike falls for the supposedly spunky Maggie, which would have been great if she hadnít lost a bunch of weight to make this happen. Though Mike apparently falls for Maggie, she is confused about her role in his life, her decision to diet and her relationship with a co-worker back home who might be more than just a friend.

Fat Chance fails on a number of levels, including both characterization and plot. All of the characters, including Maggie, do things for apparently no reason, act against character and are extremely one-dimensional. The plot is ridiculous and, by page three, goes against its whole premise by launching Maggie into the weight-loss and struggle for perfection just so she can impress some guy sheís never met - even though sheís supposed to be level-headed and comfortable with who she is.

Many chick-lit novels succeed because they are light and fluffy and never try to be more than a breezy read to take the readerís mind off reality. Fat Chance, unfortunately, lures us in by pretending to be something different, then insults us by turning out to be just another book about a woman trying to please a man, no matter how much it destroys her life.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at www.curledup.com. © Angela McQuay, 2004

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