A small town girl, Bess Marvin never imagined she'd end up as the unwitting third member of a detective team. All her life, she'd been scared--scared of smugglers trying to kill her, of out-of-place sailors, and most of all--letting people in. You see, Bess faces a tragic hardship.
Her parents, if you can call them that, are basically invisible. Barely around, they only seem to show up when their house is being robbed, their family fortune in question, or as a dim voice at the other end of the phone when Bess is asking to fly off on one of her many trips with girl detective Nancy Drew. At first, Bess was happy with the freedom Mr. and Mrs. Marvin's negligent parenting allowed. But, as the year wore on for some eighty years, their careless attitude gave Bess a complex. Why is it that her parents never seemed to be around? So, Bess did the only thing she could do: eat.
Yes, she ate and ate and ate. Of course, realistically, she only ate a little more than her friends. And all illustrations depict her as vaguely the same size as her cousin, George and friend, Nancy Drew. Why then, is she the constant butt of jokes and subject of ridicule? Why can't her friends just let her eat that second piece of corn with swiss cheese on it? Bess doesn't know. All she knows is that life scares her. And carbs are great.
"I'm just so excited about this trip to South America," Bess Marvin exclaimed, tossing her mane of light blonde hair. "I might just burst." Bess placed her hands on her slightly curvaceous hips.
George Fayne snorted in reply. "My dear, fat cousin," she said. "Maybe hold onto that feeling. Because then maybe you won't eat so much, fatso."
Bess's eyes glimmered with tears, but she said nothing. The girls' trip to Lima was peppered with just such remarks--George grabbing her arm as she went for an extra piece of bread, George laughing at her desire for South American food, and George warning her not to eat that extra corn cobb with cheese on in.
Barely able to take it, our heroine takes to the streets on her own, only to be asked out by some smarmy loser and then chased by a ne'er do well. Winded from the extra cheese corn, Bess falls to her feet in tears. Can she possibly overcome these hardships? Was George right? And will the fat shaming ever end?
Sadly, this book has a tragic end. Despite Bess's bravery in the face of villains, she is left just as she is at the start: a scaredy-cat. The butt of a joke. Too fat...to ride an alpaca.
Head injuries: 1 (21 total)
Explosions: 1 (10 total)
Fat jokes: Oh my, yes...