Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A Summer at Camp

Ever since I was a little girl I have always wanted to go to summer camp.  However, it had to be a summer camp just like in the movies.  You know the type...the ones with a lake, camp fires, cabins with roommates, a summer of fun activities like canoeing, water skiing, music, art, whatever, just as long as it was fun!  I wanted to do the whole chabang.

Unfortunately, I was never able to go to camp, because my parents were never able to afford it.  So I spent my years in elementary, junior, and high school listening to my friends' experiences of going away to camp; and of course reading some great novels about teens going to summer camp.

I love Nikki Blonsky, especially in Hairspray, so when I heard she was going to be in a TV show called Huge, about a group of teens who go to fat camp, I knew I wanted to see it.  I wouldn't call myself "fat" but I have been a little overweight since about the age of eleven; and over the years I have noticed how people stare at, not just me, but other people around me.  In fact, last semester at my school, I was walking to the bus stop when someone behind me said very loudly, intending for me to hear it, "You know obesity is still an issue in this country!" He didn't look at me, instead, pushing his way past me and laughing with his buddy.  What a lot of people, especially those who have been blessed enough to be born with a fast metabolism and the love for exercise, is that when they say things like that it hurts people's feelings.

  The book was Huge, which is the novel that the television series is based off of.  I read the book because after finished the few episodes that were available on Hulu, I was sad to learn that the show was among the many shows canceled last year.  The show only consisted of ten episodes, and ended very suddenly, leaving MANY MANY questions unanswered.  I wanted to read the book only after I finished the TV show, because I was hoping to find out the ending.

Unfortunately, if you have the seen the TV show and wanted to find out what happened, I'm very sorry to say that you will be very disappointed, because the book is practically NOTHING like the TV show.  The only similarities that I noticed were the fact that it's about a summer at fat camp and that one of the main characters names is Wil.  Otherwise everything was changed!

Let me give an overview of the novel:

The novel switches off from chapter to chapter between the two characters April and Wil.  Wil is an overweight Malibu native, whose wealthy parents own a very big chain of gyms called Excalibur Gyms.  Wil's parents sign her up, without her knowing to go to Wellness Canyon, a highly recommended camp for overweight teens.  Wil doesn't want to go, because she feels her parents are embarrassed by her weight, because they both are very trim, healthy, fit people who dress alike in matching tracksuits, wherever they go. 

April is the second main character.  Unlike Wil, she really wants to go to Wellness Canyon, because she is tired of people making fun of her, for being overweight.  She lives with her single mother, who is also overweight, and doesn't help April with cutting down on the eating and starting an exercise plan.  So April saved up all year all of her money and paid all by herself to go to Wellness Canyon.  She is so excited to start her new life, after she finishes camp and has lost a ton of weight. 

Unfortunately, April gets Wil as her roommate.  Wil, who decides to be a pessimist and make it her goal to gain weight during the summer, instead of lose it.  April wants to be popular, so at the beginning she see two girls who way skinnier than everyone else, and knows that she wants to be just like them.  Wil finds April to be pathetic, for wanting to be just like two girls who shouldn't even be at fat camp. 

Then Colin, the hot guy of the camp, comes along, and Wil and April find themselves competing against each other to get his attention.  However, when Colin doesn't turn out to be what they both thought and breaks both of their hearts, they both get together, forming up plans to get revenge.  This revenge seeking attitude is what ultimately shapes their friendship.



Now here is an overview of the TV show:

The TV show has many different characters.  Even though I would say that Wil (played by Nikki Blonsky) and Amber (who I believe was supposed to be April, in the novel. Played by Hayley Hasselhoff), I thought the show really showed the sides of many different characters.  Wil has overall the same background story than in the novel.  However, Amber may have the similarity that she paid her way to camp, but unlike in the novel, where her mom was overweight just like her, in the TV show Amber turns out to be, first of all, the skinniest girl at fat camp, and then her mother in the show comes to visit her, and it turns out that her mom is this super skinny chick, who tries to act young and hip; and overall even encouraging her daughter to eat, by making her cookies with double chocolate and peanut butter.

Then the show also has the twist involving Ian, a camper who loves music.  Ian has a crush on Amber, but instead of sharing her feelings with him, she has this huge thing for one of the counselors.  And then Wil, who is friends with Ian, has a crush on him.  Sorry if this gets confusing...but another difference is that Amber and Wil share their a huge cabin with a bunch of other girls, including a girl named Becca, who is very shy and becomes friends with Wil.  Then there Alistair who acts very feminine, and whose twin sister, Chloe is also at camp, but ignores him, because she is ashamed by the fact that he is her brother.  Chloe is one of the "popular" girls, who is friends with Amber.

The show has all this extra drama that the novel didn't, something I personally enjoyed because it added some very awesome twists in the story line.  I just wish the show could have ended so that all the unanswered questions were answered. The episodes on Hulu; they aren't part of Hulu Plus, so you can watch the entire series, without paying for it. 

I enjoyed both the TV show and the novel.  Oh, by the way, here's a fun fact: Hayley Hasselhoff, who plays Amber in the series, in real life is David Hasselhoff's daughter, and was featured in his short-lived like two episode (if even that) reality show about him and his daughters.

So anyway, I hope someone found this helpful.  It's probably really confusing, but overall what I want to say is that if you want to read the book because you are hoping to find out how the TV show would have ended, if it hadn't gotten canceled, then unfortunately, you will be disappointed.

But, I still recommend reading the novel, if you love a nice easy reader, with some very emotional characters , somethings I found myself to feel very relate able to...and of course, SUMMER CAMP! ;)

Have a great rest of the week! And I will write again soon!  I haven't decided yet, what I am reading next, but I think it might be The Lying Game by Sara Shepherd, the author of the Pretty Little Liars, which now that I think about it, is also coincidentally a ABC TV Series like Huge, however, unlike Huge it seems to be doing very well with its ratings.


The Romance Bookie :) 

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