Study Guide

The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things Transformation

By Carolyn Mackler

Transformation

But I can't help wishing she'd accept me the way I am. And I can't help wondering whether if I were thin, I'd get invited to these fancy dinners as well. (5.67)

As a therapist, Virginia's mom spends all day listening to other kids' inner thoughts, and we'd be willing to bet that at least a few of them have body issues. And yet she doesn't realize that Virginia is going through the same issues and feeling the same need for acceptance.

I mention that there are only 296 days until our lives begin again. (6.56)

Virginia has, in a way, put her life on hold until Shannon gets back. She sees the next 296 days as something she just has to survive—no actual living involved.

In the four days since my appointment with Dr. Love, my entire life has changed. I can already fit two fingers into my normally snug waistband. Before long I'll be sticking an entire fist in there. (9.2)

So much of how Virginia feels about herself, along with how her family feels about her, is tied up in physical appearance. Sometimes a loose waistband can feel like an entire life.

These models will be my Food Police. They'll be my thinspiration. They'll help me reach my body goal. (9.39)

Those models are probably Photoshopped to within an inch of their lives (or thighs), so Virginia's comparing herself to a completely unrealistic standard. Plus, how messed up of a word is "thinspiration"? For those of you who have never heard it, it's a common word on pro-anorexia websites. This is one vocabulary word you're allowed to forget.

I go over to my dresser, scoop up the pile of diet tips I've been collecting, and wedge them into the mirror's frame. That way, whenever I glimpse my reflection, at least I'll be comforted by the fact that I'm doing something about it. (9.88)

This diet isn't about self-care, Shmoopers, it's rooted in self-hate, which is a terrible reason to do anything.

What if for one second I didn't care what people thought of me? What if I weren't so eager to please Mom and Dad? What if I didn't always try to blend in, go with the flow, be the good obedient girl? (18.54)

Usually, the people who are brave enough to do this become much more interesting people. The less you care what people think of you, the more they seem to like you—funny how that works.

I doubt I'll be allowed to actually use the tickets, but it makes me feel better to know that for one brief instant, I was bold and courageous. (19.2)

Buying the tickets to Seattle with her own money is just the start of Virginia's boldness and courage. What she'll soon learn is that being bold and courageous is way more interesting than being thin.

Shannon nods. "I've spent my entire life hating my tongue because it makes me stutter. It's time to start bonding with it." (22.34)

Getting a tongue piercing as a way to make peace with a speech impediment is a radical action, but sometimes radical actions are the kind you need to take. Reclaiming your own body is an incredibly powerful thing.

It was like I was seeing myself for the very first time. (22.46)

When Virginia dyes her hair, she doesn't mention the cut-out models taped to the mirror. When you like yourself, you automatically look past the people to whom you previously compared yourself. Especially if those people are really just pieces of paper.

I turn on the shower, strip down, shampoo my hair, and follow the instructions on the Special Effects bottle. Forty minutes later, I emerge from the bathroom. My hair resembles a wad of grape-flavored Bubble Yum. (27.18)

Special Effects is a brand of semi-permanent hair dye that comes in rainbow colors. If you're not blond like Virginia, you have to bleach your hair first. (Not that we've ever tried it or anything.)