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What I Just Read: Fat Girl on a Plane

Posted: January 14, 2019

By: Megan M., High School Blogger

In Fat Girl on a Plane by Kelly Devos, Cookie Vonn is very passionate about fashion and has dreamed of working in the industry since she was a little girl. Now she is a senior in high school, wondering why she can’t get into Parsons School of Design. Cookie is considered “plus-size,” which makes it hard for her to become a designer, because many people think thin is more attractive. This novel follows Cookie on her journey to persuade clothing lines to make larger sizes and accommodate all women.

There are a handful of reasons why designers prefer skinny models. Skinny models provide a “blank canvas” for designs to be better seen and imagined by people. There are fewer last-minute alterations when the clothes are smaller, and this can cut down on catwalk stress. Another huge reason is because consumers and fashion editors prefer looking at thin models as opposed to plus-size models. (See Model scout admits designers seek ‘straight up-and-down’ figures, Feb. 19, 2016).

Cookie definitely feels pressure to be skinny and follow in her mom’s footsteps as a successful model. I admire her for her strong personality and her ability to stand up for herself while people give her trouble for her size. She believes that “There is more to life than how we look on the outside. Happy endings can’t be reserved for the thin” (p. 53).

But many thin girls get negative comments as well. After Cookie loses weight, people still make remarks about her appearance. An example of this happens when a limo driver repeatedly mentions that Cookie can have any kind of food she wants, and he even tells her, “You pretty girls never eat” (p. 60).

The story switches from past to present tenses every other chapter. The past tense is Cookie’s life while she is “fat,” while the present tense chapters follow Cookie after she becomes “skinny.” I found the switching back and forth a little confusing at times, trying to track both stories at once. In my opinion, I think it distracted me from the main point of the book. I wish the author would have put the past tense “fat” story first and then halfway through the book switched to the “skinny” story. In a way, it would sort of be like reading two books in one. I think it might have been easier to see how differently Cookie was treated at those times in her life. You can definitely tell that she is treated better and respected more when she is skinny.

Cookie has big dreams and a true love for fashion. She doesn’t let her weight get in the way of her interests. She says that “Fashion isn’t about finding clothes, it’s about finding yourself” (p. 43). After Cookie becomes thin, she still wants to make plus-size clothing, having experienced first-hand what it is like to be too big to fit into designer clothing.

I think having a goal is a good way to motivate yourself and give you a clear idea about where you want to be in the future. However, if you take self-improvement too far you may never feel satisfied with your progress, which then makes it hard to accept who you are. I think the difference between having a goal for yourself and accepting who you are is based on things you can and can’t control. When you have a goal, you are working toward a result you want to see in the future. It may take lots of work, but it is achievable at some point down the line. Accepting who you are is about understanding your strengths and weaknesses and being comfortable in your own skin. You know that there are things you can change, but you accept the good and the bad. Then you can decide whether or not you are willing to put forth the effort to achieve a vision that you set for yourself.

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