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Reading is Therapy

I choose to read books instead of watching TV.

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Reasons I Fell for the Funny Fat Friend

Reasons I Fell for the Funny Fat Friend - Cassie Mae,  Becca Ann Re read - 24 july 13

I re-read this book last night and this morning i came to update my review of it and upgrade my rating. To my surprise, i didn't leave any review last time, not even a 2 sentences one. So here i go.

Reasons I Fell for the FFF falls into the chick lit and YA categories and it’s by an author that I’ve never heard of before (not quite surprising itself), so my expectations weren’t very high. But this book seemed funny and cute so I went for it.

While reading it, I enjoyed it enough so that I didn’t want to put it down and read it in one sitting. Lucky for me, it’s not a long book.

It’s divided into 27 chapters. Each one being a reason for which Brody fell for Hayley; and those are funny reasons (not “laughing out loud” funny, more like “I see what you did there” funny).

What I liked the most about this book is that it’s written in Brody’s perspective, and the writing style totally fits what I would expect from an 18 yo boy. It was very cleaver from the author because I LOVE having the boy’s side when I’m reading.

The down side to it could be that we don’t get to see the depth of things. I’m not saying that Brody is a bit thick but he’s definitely not omniscient so we only get to know what he notices. So there is not an in-depth study of Hayley’s psycho mother, his f***ed up brother, Hayley’s insecurities, Quynn’s feelings for Brody, … But I, in fact, quite liked it because it would have made this book too serious and I don’t think that it’s what the author was going for. I liked the light aspect of it, the softness of it. Sometimes it’s good to see a book that is not soooo serious and daaaaark, especially when you’re not in the mood for that type of stuff. It’s like when I read about rubanesque heroines having a long internal monologue about what their insecurities are, it’s interesting, but sometimes I just want to read about a plump queen who’s just gonna tell anyone to go f*** themselves if they don’t find her totally fa-bu-lous!!

What people have to keep in mind while reading this book – or acknowledge it before starting it – is that Brody isn’t an α male in any way, shape or form. He’s a good guy, with a good heart. Not a jock, not a nerd, not a geek, not a man-whore, not a bad boy, not a jerk. He’s not the most popular kid on the campus –or at least he doesn’t see himself like that (I do suspect he is because he’s friend with Tanner and Quynn). He’s even sensitive! He has never had a proper girlfriend so he’s a bit shy about girls and sometimes confused but he’s honest and I liked it. Really, I don’t see anything bad that I could say about him (even though he isn’t perfect of course).

Hayley, now. Haley… Well, her humor didn’t have me laughing my arse off but I catch up on what the author was trying to make her look like so I bought it anyway and chuckled at least. I wasn’t exactly like her in high school since I wasn’t fat but I might have been the UFF; the “ugly funny friend” (even though no one ever called me that or anything.) and so I still recognize myself in her.

(Personal review, here it comes.) She’s the girl who doesn’t go by norms to start with (she doesn’t fit in the typical criteria of beauty) so she doesn’t care so much about fitting at all cost and she’s just being herself, with her awkward sense of humor and weird expressions. She doesn’t like swearing, she likes to sing aloud, she has a childish way of being excited because look, life’s good after all! She likes to play video games and she’s good at it. She 100% shrugs off insults because people are just dumb sometimes and she won’t let them ruin her day. She’s fat, yeah so? She is a good person and she knows it. Also she is very perceptive and she can see right through people’s game (even though she had to learn it the hard way with the match making experience.)

And there are downsides to being the FFF (or the UFF). She will never be into the “dating material” group and she won’t ever receive disinterested attention. She’ll learn to not accept compliments because for each compliment she gets, she’s given 35 mocking names so it’s easier to believe the last or to shrug them both off. She’ll try her best to not look like she’s desperate for a date when she’s around boys because really, she isn’t (she just want to be loved for who she is, not out of pity) so she will never purposely be touchy feely with guys, she will be sure to make clear that she’s not looking for a date every time she’s asked to hang out. She’ll have secrets and insecurities but she’ll try her best to hide them because it’s not anyone job but her own to deal with it. She’ll spend more time in the library than outside, reading about everything and anything because people don’t really invite her anywhere. But mostly she’ll build herself a castle to protect her from the world. She genuinely won’t see why people would like her since it turned into a joke for long now; and it might be cringe worthy or make the readers rolling their eyes, but that’s how most people I know IRL deal/have dealt with it, including me.

What I liked the most about her is that even though she has insecurities, she is NOT weak, she is not calling out for help. She is not this empty character that is just defined by what is wrong in her life. She’s a whole person, who cries but also laughs and jiggles and sings. And even though the cutest guy in the world is spending a lot of time with her, she doesn’t become shady or play mind games with him. And when he falls for her, she doesn’t want anything less than what she deserves and that was brave. She is willing to outgrow her insecurities and I liked that a lot, she is not stuck in a self depreciation mindset. In fact, I don’t think she ever was, she seemed very acceptant of herself if we put her crazy mother out of the equation.

Brody and Hayley’s relationship is cute. It’s cheeseball as Hayley would say and they both know it. But they won’t act tough and dark about love because they’re both honest about their feelings when they’re not afraid or confused of it anymore.

I’m not sure I like how they relationship started (Hayley being so nice as to help him to get another girl) because it reminds me of myself (4 years after high school and I’m still the friend everyone calls “their personal therapist/dating advisor”) and it made me a bit sad when I think too much about it. Hayley is so used to be everyone match maker that she doesn’t even question it anymore, she thinks it’s almost her duty to help out people and she won’t ask anything in return. She is the one who proposes it out to Brody because she wants to feel like it was her own decision when it’s not – she only does it because she believes that’s all she’s worth for. She even enjoys herself because she has done that for so long that she knows she won’t fail to it since she has been an observant and not an actor in the romance department for soooo long. That might be innocent but I think that it’s not sane to befriend people because there is a one sided help you can provide.

About the fact that they had sex quite quickly, I didn’t find it weird. Hayley doesn’t swear because she has standards, she doesn’t go out because she doesn’t like to play third wheel, and she may spend a lot of time in the library but that absolutely doesn’t mean in any way that she is shy or prude. And the title of the chapter says it perfectly : she is has horny as Brody. ;)

The plot twist at the end where Brody doesn’t feel like telling everyone he is in love with Hayley felt real. I mean as another reviewer called it, there is a status quo on dating in high school : cool popular people cannot go out with weird unpopular ones. And so Brody feels very insecure about telling everyone about Hayley but he doesn’t put words on it, he just keep saying that he doesn’t know why but he doesn’t feel like showing off Hayley even though he said so many times how sexy she is to him and how amazing she is . And thank god he grows a pair because he would have lost Hayley if not! .

I’ve seen a lot of people commenting on Hayley’s physical aversion to swearing. I’ve been a girl who used to freeze when people swore around me. And I will give my explanation for that : when you’re talking with someone and that somewhere deep in your mind you have a bunch of insecurities, it appears that you’ll try your best –during the conversation with this person you’re sure finds you revoltingly unappealing- to not look flirty in your words and your attitude. What is the link with swearing you ask. Well trying to not look flirty mostly goes with intellectual conversations, conversation where you are open minded, quirky if you want but there is no place for intimacy, closeness, proximity. And swearing is one step in that direction. Swearing is allowing a change into the mood, to leave the intellectual space to go into a more animalistic state where Hayley wouldn’t be in control anymore.

Everyone said a word about that but I’ll put it in my review as well : the whole title thing (chapter’s title, book’s title and how it’s all tied in by the end) was cleaver and i praise the author for it. By the way, I noticed how Brody wrote 20 reasons on the list he gave Hayley but the books has 27, it’s like Brody will never stop writing all these reasons he finds her the greatest person in the world and why he is in love with her. And I find this utterly cute. One thing I didn’t like, how people kept saying the title was bad, just because it has the word “fat” in it. It’s not an insult! I was even annoyed at Brody who kept saying things like “you’re not fat, and even if you were…” what the hell is that? I was so mad.

One word on the cover : I liked it! I usually never pay attention to them because it’s important “to not judge a book by its cover” but this one is totally appropriated. Also the mention of the song “fine by me” in the book was totally great and I played it as a side song while reading! It totally caught the spirit of the book.

I think that the plot went smoothly and nicely. I just wished the part with Quynn weren't so floppy and dispatched. She should have a bit more space into the story.

About the writing style. English isn’t my first language and I may make enormous mistakes from time to time but I try to not feel bad about it. That being said, I expect a lot more from an author. Even though I said that the way Brody was “speaking”/”writing” was fine by me, I wish the author hadn’t forgotten about the readers. Some of the description were lacking so I couldn’t really picture the scenes in my head (and it’s bothered me. A lot.) and I would have liked a bit of improvement in Brody’s speech so that he didn’t look like a total idiot.

As for the lack of “g” at the end of the words, well it didn’t matter one bit. First because I’m not American/English so I go straight to the meaning of the word and not its pronunciation. And also because of all the time I spend online, I am not bothered anymore by weird writing style.
About the swearing, and sex reference, I wasn’t bothered at all because again, that’s what I expect from 18 yo.

Another point that I didn’t catch up until I read Zofie Vedas’ review –since I don’t know anything about ASL-, is that apparently the author didn’t study one bit ASL before putting it in her book and that’s a No-No for me. Since the ASL aspect didn’t bring much to the story, she should have chosen Spanish or French classes instead to be sure to not offend anyone.

My initial rating was 3 stars, but I went for a re read (which is rare – but I knew it was short so I indulged myself) so I updated it for 4 stars.

PS : awesomesauce is now definitely part of my vocabulary.

PPS : I loved reading everyone’s review. It made me just as happy as reading the book itself :D