Fat Girl on a Plane
Published on June 5, 2018
About Fat Girl on a Plane
High school senior Cookie Vonn’s post-graduation dreams include getting out of Phoenix, attending Parsons and becoming the next great fashion designer. But in the world of fashion, being fat is a cardinal sin. It doesn’t help that she’s constantly compared to her supermodel mother—and named after a dessert.
Thanks to her job at a fashion blog, Cookie scores a trip to New York to pitch her portfolio and appeal for a scholarship, but her plans are put on standby when she’s declared too fat to fly. Forced to turn to her BFF for cash, Cookie buys a second seat on the plane. She arrives in the city to find that she’s been replaced by the boss’s daughter, a girl who’s everything she’s not—ultrathin and superrich. Bowing to society’s pressure, she vows to lose weight, get out of the friend zone with her crush, and put her life on track.
Cookie expected sunshine and rainbows, but nothing about her new life is turning out like she planned. When the fashion designer of the moment offers her what she’s always wanted—an opportunity to live and study in New York—she finds herself in a world full of people more interested in putting women down than dressing them up. Her designs make waves, but her real dream of creating great clothes for people of all sizes seems to grow more distant by the day.
Will she realize that she’s always had the power to make her own dreams come true?
I want to say the thing this book does best is give this 360 degree look at the way the world treats people based on their weight. The truth is, it does an amazing job at exposing these sometimes ugly truths, but the writing and the characters are also pretty spectacular.
Cookie is a strong woman. She’s competent, capable, and talented. But she’s not perfect. Wounded by prejudices she’s experienced, she allows herself to judge others based on the same system she abhors being applied to herself. Ultimately she learns that achieving her weight goal doesn’t change everything in the way she expected. Turns out being skinny isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, either.
I want to say so many things that would spoil the story because they were elements or plot moments that I thought were fantastic. Early on we’re told this isn’t a Cinderella story about a girl who loses weight and lives happily ever after, and it’s true—this is not that story. It’s much more about a girl looking for the path to her best self and her best life. That journey changes her inside even more than it changes her outside. And perhaps above all, that’s the story’s real power.
You know me—I wish Fat Girl on a Plane didn’t have some of the sexual stuff or profanity in it that it does, because those simply aren’t the things I enjoy reading. See the content information below for more details. I thought the characters and story were powerful and nicely done, though.
Major characters are white. For half the book, Cookie is overweight. The other half of the book shows moments from her weight loss journey and more significantly, the difference in the way people treat her at her different sizes.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
Infrequent use of extreme profanity.
Kissing between man and woman. Two relatively brief scenes showing sex but including some details.
Cookie attends some church events. (I loved the conversations with the priest in the story—he’s a funny, practical guy.)
Two young men get into a fist fight. Cookie experiences some bullying, cruelty, and some unwanted sexual comments.
Cookie drinks alcohol in a couple of scenes. In one instance, she’s overseas and over the legal drinking age.