Thursday, August 25, 2011

Hot Topic Thursdays- Maggie Goes on a Diet



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On October 16, a book titled, Maggie Goes on a Diet  will be released. Now, if you haven’t heard of it you may be thinking it’s the latest diet book. Well, it isn’t. It’s a fictional book for children, more specifically elementary aged children. Let me explain.
This book is about a 14 year old girl who goes on a diet and is transformed from being extremely overweight and insecure to a normal sized girl who becomes the school soccer star. Through time, exercise and hard work, Maggie becomes more and more confident and develops a positive self image.” ( from Amazon.com).
My immediate response when I first heard about a book about dieting for children was, “That’s absurd! Who would write that? Who would publish that? Who would BUY it?” But then I thought back to the big hoopla (I'm not sure if that's even a word or it's spelled correctly, but I think you get my point) with “dark young adult books” and how angry I was that someone would make such outlandish claims and decided to take a step back and look into before I made my judgment. So I have.
First, let's take a look at the cover of the book.

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Immediately, when I look at this cover I think of people suffering from Anorexia and  have a distorted self image. I'm sure that was not their intentions (I hope not, anyway) but that's just what came to my mind.

Mr. Kramer also states that he wants children to read it and help them feel better about themselves. Again, I find a problem with his execution. Children should be taught to feel better about themselves by becoming comfortable and confident about who they are, not how others see them. As the old saying goes, “If you don’t love yourself, no one else can.”
I, also, found an article that had a quote from the author defending his book. "My intentions were just to write a story to entice and to have children feel better about themselves, discover a new way of eating, learn to do exercise, try to emulate Maggie and learn from Maggie's experience," Kramer told "Good Morning America" today. "Children are pretty smart ... and they will make a good choice if you give them that opportunity." (ABC News). I get the point he’s trying to make. Children these days are more obese than ever before. They need to learn to eat healthier and to be active. They have too. However, I think there’s a disconnect from the point he’s trying to make and the point he’s made. Telling a story about a young teenage girl losing weight and then instantly becoming popular is not the way to get children to have a healthier lifestyle. That sets kids up for failure. There are so many things that could go wrong along the way that will keep a child from receiving the outcome they have been promised. What if the child eats healthier, but just can’t lose the weight? What if the child does lose weight but still isn’t popular? Losing weight is not your one way to ticket to popularity, especially not in middle school.
While I admire Mr. Kramer’s attempt to put on spotlight on childhood obesity, I think his idea was poorly executed. Perhaps, his efforts would have been better received if he focused more on the idea of just eating healthy and being active. The word “diet” comes with a negative connotation, especially when you apply it to children. Sometimes it comes down to word choice. “Maggie Gets Healthy”, to me at least, sound better than “Maggie Goes on a Diet.”

I apologize if I ruffled anyone’s feathers that was not my intentions. This is simply my thoughts on the issue. Also, I am writing solely based on the information I have received about the book and the author, not the book itself. Perhaps, once the book is released and I have read it my position on the issue will change. Perhaps, not, only time will.
Let me know your thought in the comments!

1 comment:

  1. I think it could really go either way with this one. It depends on how it's written. Is it about her being healthy and active or is it about her being beautiful and thin? I think that will make a big difference.

    ReplyDelete

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