Excerpts for Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things


From THE EARTH, MY BUTT, AND OTHER BIG ROUND THINGS

Sunday morning. My parents return from Connecticut early because Dad has to leave for a business trip to Chicago this afternoon. I’m sitting on the couch, watching TV and chewing my fat-free nails. They say hi to me and then Mom goes into the kitchen to make a smoothie.

A moment later she appears in the living room again.

"Virginia, I’m so proud of you," she says.

I mute the volume. It’s not every day I hear "Virginia" and "proud" in the same sentence.

"Why?"

"I just saw those pictures you stuck on the fridge."

Mom, meet the Food Police.

Mom continues. "You want to hear something funny?"

I nod.

"Back when I was . . ." - Mom pauses - ". . . a teenager, I put images of models on my family’s fridge, to keep me from eating too much."

"Really?"

Mom nods. "Like mother, like daughter."

As she heads back into the kitchen, I pump the volume on the TV again.

Since when did Mom become Ms. Observant Parent? A few weeks ago, I got an A+ on a language arts paper about ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF SOLITUDE by Gabriel García Márquez. I even managed to include two mentions of "ostracism" and three of "oppression," so my teacher gobbled it up. I stuck it to the fridge with a few magnets, hoping Mom - a big Márquez fan - would say something, but she never seemed to notice.

So how is it that she’s in the apartment seven minutes and already spots the Food Police?

Oh well. I should probably look on the bright side of things.

Mom has never said like mother, like daughter to me before.

And that in itself is worth one hundred years of hunger.
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THE EARTH, MY BUTT, AND OTHER BIG ROUND THINGS by Carolyn Mackler. Copyright (c) 2003 by Carolyn Mackler. Published by Candlewick Press, Inc., Cambridge, MA.

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