Study Guide

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

By Carolyn Mackler

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If Byron's the sun, Virginia's an orbiting planet; if Byron's the lead, Virginia's the understudy; if Byron's the… well, you get it. Virginia always comes in second (or third, if you count Anaïs), and at the beginning of The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things, she's cool with that. Heck, she's so grateful for a scrap of her big brother's attention it doesn't really matter that he's always ditching her to hang out with someone cooler. It's only when he hurts another person and loses his Big Man on Campus status that Virginia realizes why a dying star is called a dwarf.

Questions About Admiration

  1. Why could Anaïs and Shannon see through Byron before the rape, but Virginia couldn't?
  2. Is Virginia's mom's unwillingness to take Virginia to fancy dinners one more way of maintaining her perfect image? What is she afraid people will think of her if they know she has an overweight daughter?
  3. Does the fact that Byron's friends shun him after the rape mean they were never really friends? How come none of them come to talk to him about it?

Chew on This

Admiring someone can make you blind to their flaws, even when those flaws are obvious to everyone else.

The more you put someone on a pedestal, the more power they have over you.

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