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Paul Kramer’s book Maggie Goes on a Diet is set to release in October and is causing quite a bit of controversy.
Amazon.com’s write up about the book describes it as a story of “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.”
Despite the fact the book has yet to be released, it has drawn many critics angry about what they feel is the story’s attempt to tie Maggie’s happiness to her weight and appearance. They argue that in the book the thinner Maggie becomes, the happier, more self-confident and more popular she becomes. These critics say that one’s weight should not determine one’s happiness.
“The book seems to equate weight loss with happiness and success. This is such an untruth. We should be fighting to promote health at every size and stopping bullying at schools not promoting false promises and fallacies,” wrote Sandra Schaffer of New York, a reviewer on an Amazon.com forum.
Others worry that Kramer’s book will promote eating disorders in young children. It seems that several times a year a medical report surfaces with shocking statistics about the plummeting age of children who are developing eating disorders, such as anorexia. Anorexia sufferers might look in a mirror and never see themselves as thin or fit.
Fears that this book will trigger eating disorders have drawn strong criticism from opponents and many reviewers at Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com are calling for the book sellers to it pull the book from their inventories or face boycotts.
The book’s cover is also drawing condemnation. It shows an overweight Maggie standing in front of a full-length mirror looking at a thinner reflection herself. The heavy Maggie is holding a dress that is much too small for her and her reflection is holding up the same dress but it is the right size for the thinner Maggie.
Ashley McAllister wrote at BitchMagazine.org, “The message behind this book is clearly telling young girls that they’ll only be happy and ‘normal’ if they’re thin, as if they aren’t fed that message often enough already.” Kramer defended himself and the message of his book in an interview with Good Morning America.
“ 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,” he said.
In an interview with FoxNews Kramer said, “I’m not advocating, never did, that any child should go on a diet. First of all, this is a change of lifestyle. This is not meant to be to go on a diet.”
Kramer’s published titles include Do Not Dread Wetting the Bed, Bullies Beware, and three books that will release this year: Louie the Lobster Mobster, Are You Afraid of the Doctor, and Divorce Stinks.