FAT CHANCE
by Terry Campbell

2001
ISBN: 1-55163-056-8
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Fat Chance is a tragedy of errors. Yes, you read that right. It should have been a romantic comedy, and I’m sure there are people who will think it is. I’ll just agree to disagree with them.


Fat Chance is about Lindsey Michaels, an overweight woman (but it’s all in her breast and butt area) and Hal Randall, a psychiatrist running a government-approved scam. He, basically, falsely advertises a cosmetic enhancement program that he recruits test subjects for. These men and women enroll in this program thinking he’s trying a new style of liposuction on them. Instead he lies to them and forces them to eat horrid tasting and barely nutritious foods. All to prepare them for being thin, so he says. He never tells them that there is no liposuction or that the only weight they’ll lose is what they lose by eating hamster food (a rabbit wouldn’t survive off it). And then he goes and falls for one of his test subjects. Test subjects whom he calls “fatties”. The jerk. So of course being the honest and forthright person he is, he spins even more lies to Lindsey, knowing from having done a psychological profile that she’s been hurt by liars and cheats in the past and has very low self-esteem. The JERK!


What irritates me most is that at no point does he seem to change his attitude toward overweight people. Yes, he falls in love with Lindsey but then look at where her weight is! Most men wouldn’t mind a bit of extra cushion in certain areas. And he didn’t think her fat to begin with.


Hal really could have been an awesome character, despite the initial lies. It seemed like he was sort of doing it for halfway decent reasons. And he is introduced in a sympathetic manner - we learn all about his wife cheating on him - so the reader wants him to be a good hero. But he isn’t. Not only is he a liar but he’s selfish and weak. And somewhat easily led. His “boss” is partially responsible for getting him into the mess he’s in but he could have refused. And his career is where it is because he didn’t have the guts to go up against an enemy that he knows isn’t as smart as he is. This man not only deserves to lose his license but he never should have gotten it in the first place.


Lindsey is a great improvement. She’s funny, smart and she knows what she wants, all wonderful characteristics. The problem is that she’s scared to really go after what she wants and she has low self-esteem. She’s also this weird combination of cynicism and gullibility that left me puzzled. But she is by far the most interesting character in Fat Chance and I’d have loved to see her and a much improved Hal find true love. She deserves it. What she doesn't deserve, and neither do readers who know better, is to hear about her best friend's fall for and sex with the guy Lindsey's been dating.It would have been one thing had she waited until Lindsey’s life was in an upswing. But instead she gives Lindsey what amounts to a pat on the head when she’s talking about Hal and how she’s heartbroken and then the witch tells her that the ex boyfriend is wonderful in bed, that maybe Lindsey didn’t have the right bait for him. Jerkette! And that insult was delivered with no apparent malicious intent. With friends like that who needs enemies?


Overall, I think the idea behind this story was workable. The synopsis is what made me read it. But somewhere along the lines things fell apart. Fat Chance really needed a strong leading man for things to work. And Hal just didn’t fit the bill.


It’s not often I’m this hard on a book. However, after reading Mr. Wrong by this author and enjoying it, I was expecting something a bit more down to earth. Something I’d actually be able to relate to. I know that Terry Campbell’s ability to show the various sides of a character, both good and bad is better than what is exhibited here.


Reviewed in September 2002 by JaToya.

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