One Fat Summer by Robert Lipsyte, is a very good book for teenagers that feel insecure about themselves and have low self-esteem. In the book they will read about a young boy name, Bobby who overcomes his fears of being fat and being bullied by Willie, one that is much stronger then him physically, but not emotionally. The basic theme of this story is to stand up for yourself no matter the situation.
Willie, the antagonist of the story accidentally makes Bobby overcome his fears and stand up to him. In a way Willie could be a protagonist because he helps Bobby overcome his fears. Willie is a crazy person that doesn’t know what he is doing.
It all started in the summer when Bobby, an overweight fifteen year old is embarrassed to take his clothes off and swim in the beach because he is embarrassed that people would make fun of his wobbly legs and stomach, yet that isn’t the his worst fear.
He had taken swimming lessons the last summer, but quit because he started to gain a lot of weight. He tries to ignore the nasty remarks people say about him, but they stay in his mind. He can sort of ignore it because his best friend, Joanie has the ugliest nose on the face of the earth, but she doesn’t care a bit about what other people think, which makes her Bobby’s mentor, kind of.
Bobby finds himself a hard low paying job.
It doesn’t matter to him how much it pays, but he wants to feel secure about himself that he can do something in his life except eat. The job is to mow a lawn for eight hours a day. The lawn mower becomes a symbol in the story because it helps him lose weight and feel more secure about himself. He conquers that fear pretty easily, but another fear awaits him.
He finds himself inside of a box because he wants to do the job because he feels more confident, but Willie, the man that didn’t get the job as Dr. Kahn’s lawn mower is mad at Bobby for stealing the job. He is always making fun of Bobby, but one day he didn’t ignore it, he went up to Willie and told him to stop. Willie did stop, but one night when Bobby was walking back home from the lake, Willie rams out of his car and threatens to kill Bobby.
No one knows what is going to happen, but Bobby does. He knows what he is going to do. He tells Willie to take a hike and he does. He doesn’t get bothered for a week or so because Willie was on vacation.
Willie was finally back and holds him hostage at the lake. Bobby was really scared that he was going to get shot by Willie’s shotgun. Out of no where the lake lifeguard comes out and pushes Willie into the lake and then Bobby jumps in to fight. Since Bobby was the champion of holding his breath the longest underwater, he almost drowned Willie by wrestling him underwater.
He was the hunted that became the hunter like in the story he read called, “The Most Dangerous Game.” Bobby was the hero and he felt good about himself now.
The next day he goes and asks Dr. Kahn for a raise.
He was really nervous because Dr. Kahn was very mean. He got the raise and felt really good about himself now.
The theme, one should stand up for himself no matter the situation, just came in to action and now you know how Bobby and the story fit in with the theme.
It is really important for people to follow this theme and story because one will learn that you can’t go anywhere by whining and groaning all day. Teenagers can really learn a big lesson from this story because teens are usually that care about how they look and have low self – esteem.