FAT GIRLS AND LAWN CHAIRS
As is evident from this book's cover—featuring a cat in lime-green glasses and purple wig, posing with its tongue sticking out—Peck's debut collection of humorous personal essays and poems is nothing if not irreverent. Originally self-published for the benefit of her friends, family and cat, these warmhearted reminiscences cover everything from Peck's childhood (when she was driven to be the "first, fastest, loudest and best" and therefore hated by her peers and feared by her four younger siblings) to her experiences as a gay woman of size. In the title story, the 50-something Peck explains how she came to conclude that "no self-respecting fat girl ever really trusts a lawn chair," and in "Wounded in Action," the most hilarious and dramatic entry, she describes her misadventures on the softball field: "I gathered every fiber of my being—and there are many, many fibers in my being—and I pointed them all toward first base, and I leaned in that direction, hoping to add speed at a later date...." A few of her essays fall flat—such as "Does a bear...?" a tale of her inability to pee outside—but her many witticisms ("Women were never asked to fight in the war in Vietnam or any other war. But if they had been, girls would have won. Girls would have felt guilty for not winning it sooner, and girls would have restored all of the roads...") compensate for these low points. Cat lovers will appreciate the goofy narratives ostensibly told by Peck's cat, Babycakes, but the author's self-deprecating wit and ability to see the drama in everyday situations make this collection so inviting. (Jan.)
Forecast: A major ad/promo campaign, which includes print ads and a radio satellite tour, will get the word out on this spunky collection. Warner is positioning Peck as "a gay Erma Bombeck," and—to our minds, anyway—she doesn't have much competition for that distinction.