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Moose: A Memoir of Fat Camp    by Stephanie Klein order for
by Stephanie Klein
Order:  USA  Can
William Morrow, 2008 (2008)
Hardcover, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by Melissa Parcel

In Stephanie Klein's first memoir, Straight Up and Dirty, she humorously described her life after divorce. In Moose, she takes us back in time and, using her journals and diaries, talks about her overweight childhood and adolescent summers at fat camp in the 1980s.

Her mother first sends her to a fat doctor - a woman who runs a Weight Watchers type program out of her home. But when this isn't adequate to attain the weight loss Stephanie needs, her parents decide to send her to a summer long camp program designed to promote weight loss through diet and exercise. Stephanie's adventures at camp are detailed, humorous, and poignant. She tells the reader upfront in the book that Moose is a compilation from five different summers she spent at fat camp. She has made everything into a composite to protect people and details of situations.

More than just a memoir about camp, this is also a story of growing up in the 80s, and the perils of adolescence in general. Having grown up in the 80s myself, I related to so much of what the author had to say, even though I wasn't in her specific situation weight-wise. Her self-esteem issues and angst about relationships with friends and the opposite sex are universal.

Stephanie Klein has a way with words that draws readers into the story and keeps them enthralled throughout. Her descriptions of food behaviors and eating disorders are especially interesting and she speaks with the knowledge of one who has been there, if not personally, in observation.

It's difficult to review a memoir, because this is someone's actual life experience. But the writing is what makes or breaks a story, and Klein's is top notch. If you have experienced a weight problem at some point in your life, Moose will be particularly meaningful. Yet even if you haven't, you will identify with someone in the story, which can help you to understand others around you in a significant way.

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