Author: Eric Walters
Publication Year: 2006
Genre: Fiction, Young Adult
Source: Copy of the book from school (class set)
This one’s going to be a quicky review, since it’s a really short and simple book.
Stuffed is narrated by a teenage boy named Ian, and circles around an email that he sends out after seeing a documentary in class called “Stuffed”. The documentary is basically supposed to imitate the idea of the real-life documentary Super-Size Me, where someone eats McDonalds for all three meals a day for one month in an attempt to see what it would do to his health. In the book-movie, the person the camera follows is eating at “Frankie’s”, a worldwide fast-food chain very similar to McDonald’s, for 90 days. The results are essentially the same.
The email that Ian sends out is prompted by an assignment he is working on for his computer science class, which is about email as a mass communication tool. To test this out (and make his assignment more interesting), he sends out an email to 40 people from his contact list, trying to convince them to boycott Frankie’s for one day (about two weeks from then, on a Friday), and also to send the email out to 40 more people of their own to see how many people they can get to go with the boycott. Obviously, this balloons to epic proportions, and he ends up receiving a “cease-and-desist” from the lawyers of Frankie’s … and the story goes on from there.
This book is a really easy read, at about a 3.8 reading level (meaning just under a grade 4 level). It took me about an hour to get through, including interruptions and such on the subway and in the car with my father. I’m planning on using this book as a pseudo-independent study assignment with my grade twelve workplace level English class.
Yes, this really is close to their reading level.
My hope with this book is that it will catch their attention – it can relate to lots of “real-world” stuff, such as the film Super-Size Me, as well as the Canada Food Guide and media articles on obesity, fast food, etc. It looks promising to me, since the story is simple but the characters appeal to your sense of fairness and wanting the little guy to win.
Stuffed is not a fantastic novel by any means, but it’s written in the (reasonably engaging) style of a teenager, which with any luck will appeal to my students. Eric Walters has done a good job for what the purpose of this book is – simple, clear writing with a plot that will engage reluctant readers.