Remember when Childhood Obesity News saluted the contributions and creativity of Mrs. Q, the school-lunch critic? Do we have an eye for talent, or what? In fact, ever since then, the link to her Fed Up With Lunch blog has resided on our Food & Health resources list, over there on the right-hand side of the page. Jamie Oliver and Marion Nestle are among the other prominent fans of Mrs. Q.
The website quickly attracted a network of fellow teachers, health professionals, and parents who were fascinated with the chronicle of Mrs. Q’s reactions to eating a school year’s worth of school lunches. Next, Mrs. Q (aka Sarah Wu) dropped her anonymity and snagged a book deal. The book, not surprisingly titled Fed Up With Lunch, was published in October. Since then, Wu has been on some major TV shows and gathered even more of a following.
Here’s what the publisher’s page says:
When school teacher Mrs. Q forgot her lunch one day, she had no idea she was about to embark on an odyssey to uncover the truth about public school lunches. Shocked by what her students were served, she resolved to eat school lunch for an entire year… a must-read for anyone concerned about children’s health issues.
After quoting Mrs. Q on her very first school lunch experience, Slate writer KJ Dell’Antonia annotates:
It wasn’t anything she herself would feed her child, and certainly nothing she’d want to eat. But the number of children eating free and reduced-price lunches in Mrs. Q’s school was ‘well over 90%’ that year. For many, the Barkin’ Bagel and the soggy tots might be the most complete meal they ate all day. The outraged Mrs. Q became a secret activist. She bought her school lunch every day, took a picture, and… actually ate it.
Dell’Antonia admires Mrs. Q’s willingness to see whatever good there is to be found in the school lunches and admits that, after seeing some of those photos, even that much enthusiasm might be hard to muster. But, as Dell’Antonia points out, the fact that Mrs. Q’s reviews were not entirely negative can only give more credence to the sharp criticisms.
That was a blog made into a book; The Fat Boy Chronicles, by Diane Lang and Mike Buchanan, is a book made into a movie. The movie features Christopher Rivera, a self-confessed former bully. Ron Lester plays a doctor in the film — an actor who, incidentally, lost 348 pounds after having duodenal switch surgery followed by 16 cosmetic operations to remove excess skin from his body.
Here is what the authors say:
The Fat Boy Chronicles was inspired by an obese 8th grader in Cincinnati. The novel is a heartwarming, sometimes heartbreaking, realistic view of life told through the journal of a bullied overweight 9th grader named Jimmy Winterpock.
The website offers a whole a collection of stunningly positive reviews of this childhood obesity story:
A self-acknowledged ‘good kid’ who loves video games and finds inspiration at church youth group, Jimmy has a refreshingly down-to-earth point of view. (Miriam Aronin)
While his solution may or may not be the answer for others, his motivation for change is paramount. (Thomas H. Inge)
His voice rings true, appropriately disaffected and sarcastic, yet earnest. (Kirkus)
I laughed aloud by page 3 and had tears streaming down my face not too many pages after. (Jo Ann G. Swafford)
Great book, fine movie — but just think how different Jimmy’s life might have been if he’d had the “W8 Loss 2 Go” iPhone app!
Your responses and feedback are welcome!
Source: “Fed Up With Lunch,” ChronicleBooks.com
Source: “DoubleX Book of the Week: Fed Up With Lunch,” Slate, 10/07/11
Source: “The Fat Boy Chronicles,” FatBoyChronicles.com
Source: “About the book, movie and authors,” TheFatBoyChronicles.com
Source: “Reviews,” TheFatBoyChronicles.com
Image by USDAGov, U. S. Department of Agriculture, used under its Creative Commons license.