By K.L. Going

Genre: Realistic fiction meets depressing comedy

Major Themes: Depression, suicide, weight, friendship, family, music

Age Rating: 13+ for themes centered around suicide and sadness, although the actual writing style is not very difficult

Smiles Book Rating: 🙂 🙂 🙂


Troy is a 300 pound 6’1” teenager.  He is alone most of the time, he has no friends, his father considers him a disappointment, his brother shuns him, and he is contemplating killing himself– if only people wouldn’t laugh.  This all changes when he meets the hyper, homeless, eccentric punk rock legend Curt MacCrae.  For some strange reason, the friendship works.  As Troy begins to spend more time with his new (and only) friend, he becomes caught up in the punk rock world.  More specifically, he becomes a drummer for Curt’s band, which he decided to name Rage/Tectonic.  The two may have come together by chance, but their friendship is fate, and soon the two learn that they each have something that the other needs, something that without, they could die.

I know that last line sounds super cheesy, but it’s actually true and I couldn’t think of a better way to describe it without any spoilers.  I hate reviews that give everything away… but anyways, continuing onward.

The characters in this book are absolutely incredible, and honestly, I’m sure most kids in High School or Middle School could find someone exactly like the characters in this book in their life.  You could say that this means that the characters are extremely stereotypical, and they are to some extent, but Going manages to make them so much deeper than that.  Nobody is one dimensional, not even the characters such as Troy’s father, who other authors would write off as not central to the plot (but he is, it’s just not that obvious).  Going’s great representation of characters is the reason that once you start reading, it’s a serious struggle to put it back down.  

This book has so much real life application as well (no, I’m not talking about learning to be a punk-rock legend).  Without a doubt, there is a person that you’ve seen around you that is exactly like Troy.  Hurting, sad, desperate for acceptance, and too shy to talk to someone, for fear that he will be humiliated.  Fat Kid Rules the World makes it clear how much just a small conversation can do to brighten someone’s day and make them feel like an equal.  It’s critical that we reach out, and not just watch as someone “steps over the yellow line” (you’ll know what I mean soon enough I promise).  The messages in this book are so relevant in a way that makes you remember them much more than a simply lecture on bullying (*cough cough teachers*)

The plot keeps moving the entire time, never leaving you bored or waiting for what comes next.  This is remarkable considering the fact that the book is written through the internal monologue of Troy.  Somehow, the author manages to combine Troy’s thoughts with plot development in a way that makes it incredible to read, you are never bored for a second.  

I need to finish off by saying that if you’re anything like me, you read the title of the book and dismissed it as foolish and for children.  It’s not.  It is a great book that has a killer plot, despite its small size (224 pages, it’s about half an inch thick, if that).  The reason which this book only received three stars is that the genera is just not my favorite.  For some reason, the book (although it kept me gripped the whole time) just didn’t seem to have the *BANG* appeal that books with higher ratings do.  This is quite arbitrary on my part and just from a gut feeling.  I really would recommend this book to anyone though, it’s well worth the read I promise.

This is also a movie, starring actors Jacob Wysocki and Matt O’Leary.  I haven’t watched it, most people gave it good reviews.  I can’t say either way whether it’s good, but I am going to try to watch it soon.

Buy the Book Here 

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