Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes is a profound story about loyalty and adversity. With his experience as a family therapist, Chris Crutcher knows and reveals the ugliness of cruelty, prejudice, and human suffering. He writes about issues like child abuse, abortion, depression and suicide with raw honesty. However, his books also show the beauty of personal strength, true compassion, and loyal friendship. His stories aren't for readers who want a fairy tale version of the world, but his reality shows the victory of people helping each other through inevitable hard times.
Sarah Byrnes and Eric Calhoune have been friends since junior high. Their friendship began because Sarah's scars and Eric's fat made them outcasts and allies. Eric relied on Sarah Byrnes's tough disregard for public opinion or authority. But when Sarah Byrnes ends up in the Sacred Heart psychiatric ward, it is up to Eric to save her from herself and others. This novel is uplifting, but deals with hard issues. I recommend it for older teenagers, mature enough to understand hard life lessons.