Fat Kid Rules the World by K.L. Going (review copy) - When Troy (a hugely overweight social leper) befriends Curt (a skinny homeless punk guitar genius), they both get much more than they bargained for. Troy's macho brother and ex-Marine father think Curt is just a junkie loser - but as Curt stopped Troy's suicide attempt, Troy can't just forget him. Curt recruits Troy as the new drummer in his punk band - but Troy has never played the drums in his life. When Curt's around, though, almost anything seems possible. An outstanding, heart-warming, funny, edgy, debut novel. From Amazon UK
This book is absolutely amazing! I can't tell you how much I enjoyed this book. This book is so good, I just feel so light right now, high. It's just awesome!
The book starts off with Troy actually at the tube station, considering jumping in front of a train. But then Curt, who is sleeping rough on the platform, opens his mouth. From Troy's point of view, everything he does is funny to other people. He only has to sit down in the cafeteria and people laugh. While standing at the end of the platform, he tries to work out if his suicide would be funny. He imagines how he think it would be, and laughs. And then this homless guy says "You laughing at me?"
Four words. If Curt, the character, didn't utter those words, Troy would have probably jumped. There would have been no story. We wouldn't have seen how Troy's complete and utter lack of self-confidence and self-worth could have been turned around.
In the comments of Luisa Plaja's guest post, I commented on how I on't like how in some stories, girls' opinion of themselves changes because of a guy's interest. In a way, I still feel like that, but this book has changed that. Forget the girl is female and the guy is male, and they're attracted to each other. Someone is helping out someone else. In Angela Morrison's interview, she mentions how sometimes all people need is a good friend to gently help. In this book, that is exactly the situation. Curt helps Troy. Not by telling him he looks fine, or by changing the way he looks. But by asking him to join his band as a drummer. Now this is not just some random homeless person inviting him to join his band, it's Curt, Curt MacCrae, only the legendary guitarist who went to his school, who inspires awe in everyone who looks at him. And he has just asked Troy to just his band!
What ensues is a brilliant, brilliant story of Troy's change in attitude. He sees himself differently. Because of the belief and encouragement of people he has the utmost respect for, the way he sees himself changes; his weight, the way he looks - he realises, in the great scheme of things, it doesn't matter.
I have to say, I have the biggest lit-crush on Curt, even if he is a smelly homeless person. His life is complicated, and not something I can go into without spoiling the story. He talks in this strange way that is just so awesome and amusing, I grin whenever he speaks - it's complete nonsense most of the time, but it's brilliant! And he's deep, in this way I can't even explain, because I only barely just got what he meant myself, but it's amazing! And on top of that, he can play guitar and - I know it's a book, and so I can't technically hear him play - he's absolutely unbelievably good! And, well, I've always kind of had a thing for a guy who can play guitar (it's a failing I have, I'm trying to get over it ;)). I just love this guy! Simply because you need to see how amazing it is when Curt speaks, here's a quote:
'"You see, technically, and this is only in the technical sense, legal court orders and all, so, yes, technically I live with my father, but that's hard to do, really, so I don't. You know, mostly 'cause he kicked me out a couple times. And left. But that doesn't mean it's out of the realm of possibility that I could be living with my father..."' (p16)
I just love it! And you know what also helps? It's a book that has a lot to do with music. I'm a music fan, I'm a live music fan, I'm a huge fan of gigs at venues with new bands - and this book was full of it all! It's just brilliant! You can feel the vibrations, you can smell the sweat, you can feel the buzz! It's just amazing!
If you read my review yesterday of King of the Screwups, also by K.L. Going, you'll know that although I absolutely loved it, I had a bit of trouble getting motivated to pick it up once I put it down. I did not have this trouble in the slightest with this book! I always wanted to read it! I was hooked from the first words, and further hooked from the moment Curt speaks, and just dying to see what happened with the two of them and the band. Absolutely awesome!
I cannot recommend this book enough! It's six years old now, but one you should all definitely try to get your hands on! It's awesome, and it's going to stick with me for a while, just how deeply the two guys effect each other. It's now up there with my favourites, and I am just so glad I chose to read this book! I will definitely be checking out more of the novels by K.L. Going!
Thanks to Random House for the review copy.
Published: 1st July 2004
Publisher: Corgi Children's Books
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K.L. Going's Website