I WAS A 15-YEAR-OLD BLIMP
Volume 14 Number 2
Patti Stren has once again written a book that young readers will enjoy. Her latest novel, I Was a 15-Year-Old Blimp, is aimed at teenagers, an older age group than her usual fare. Apparently the author, like her protagonist, battled with a weight problem during her teens. Perhaps that explains why she is able to treat this weighty subject matter with a light humorous touch.Her protagonist, Gabby Finklestein overhears two boys in her class giving her a very low rating on their beauty scale and decides to take control of her life by becoming skinny enough to attract a handsome boyfriend. Her obsession with losing weight causes her to take short cuts that threaten her health. It is her brother who first stumbles on her secret and her frightened parents, recognizing the signs of bulimia, send her to a summer fat camp. The book deals with the very timely topic of bulimia in a forthright and sensitive manner. Gabby, the "blimp," takes a hard look at accepting herself by realizing that her lack of self-confidence is more than "skin deep." But while being thin may not solve all the problems of growing up, it certainly does shed a new light on them. And that is what this book is about, getting in touch with, and coming to terms with self values; fat is just used as one person's blindfold in that quest. Stren has an impressive list of credits as both an author and illustrator. Most fans will be familiar with her books that are aimed at the pre-teen set: Hug Me ¹, Sloan and Philamena ², Mountain Rose ³, and There's a Rainbow in My Closet 4 were all selected for listing in the "Our Choice" catalogue of The Canadian Children's Book Centre.
Patricia Fry, Toronto, ON.
¹ Reviewed Xlll/5 September 1985, p.224.
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