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Literature / Fat

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Fat is a 2006 novel by Rob Grant. Unlike his previous solo novels, this one is set closer to the present day. The novel follows three main characters and focuses on the Well Farm Project, a dieting camp to help the population lose weight.

Fat contains examples of:

  • Actually Pretty Funny: Grenville considers the Well Farm staff posting an impromptu sign saying "Heinz Lodge" on his dorm to be this, as he considers it a sign that at least someone working there has some faint stirring of wits.
  • The Alleged Car:
    • Grenville's hatchback, which he manages to destroy.
    • The minibuses used to ferry Grenville and co. to the Well Farm is woefully ill equipped to deal with that many people of that mass. The first one they ride in breaks down.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: The book jumps between the three main characters every chapter.
  • And Now For Something Completely Different: One of the chapters is an anger management guide by Dr Alan Roth, who claims he is Not That Kind of Doctor. Another is Grenville's recipe for boiling eggs.
  • Author Avatar: Grenville is a clear Expy of Grant himself with a hint of Gordon Ramsey. And it's not even subtle: Grenville Roberts.
  • Berserk Button: Do not call Grenville fat if you want the local area to remain undamaged.
  • Big Eater: Grenville.
  • Big, Fat Future: Implied by the prologue that the Well Farms later become mandatory.
  • Brick Joke: When firing him, the producers of Cook It, Change It, Dig It tell Grenville that his guide to boiling eggs is too long (ten pages) amongst the many other pathetic excuses they give him. Later on, when Jeremy briefly meets Grenville, he notes that he'd have been lost without Gren's guide.
    • The requirement for hard hats in situations where they'd be of no use first comes up during Jeremy's visit to the Well Farm and is later brought up during Grenville's attending the official opening.
    • The Group 4 security guard pulls Grenville's trousers up for him, which Gren finds humiliating. Later, the Prime Minister compares Jeremy stepping in at the last minute for the Well Farm's PR campaign to the Government being caught with their pants down and Jeremy pulling them up, metaphorically speaking.
  • Broken Pedestal: Jason Black starts out as the object of Hayleigh's affections. Until she actually meets him. He arrives at her hospital room dishevelled from several days of partying and high on cocaine. The experience is enough to snap her out of her depression.
  • Butt-Monkey: Grenville's story is one disaster after another. In the space of a single day, where he decides to join the gym and get his life in shape, he manages to get into an argument with a woman, crash his car into an SUV (belonging to the woman in question), knock down the car park's bollards, destroy a barrier, wreck his car, get arrested, destroy his court-appointed lawyer's phone, get physically humiliated by a cop, destroy some furniture, have his trousers pulled up by an inept security guard and get fined for the whole ordeal on top of which he loses his job. No wonder he goes on another not-a-rampage at the Well Farm.
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  • Deadpan Snarker: Grenville, particularly towards the end. Jemma and Jeremy have elements of this too.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Hayleigh gets so depressed in the hospital, she plans to commit suicide. Fortunately, she is not given the opportunity.
  • Dreadful Musician: The bands Big Boys Cry and Gurlz Banned are clearly this. Jeremy figures that the singing on their albums is either the work of other talented singers or talented sound engineers.
  • Driven to Suicide: Hayleigh. Fortunately, she botches it.
  • Fair Cop: DC Redmond.
  • Fat Camp: The Well Farms. The accomodation is designed to be as uncomfortable as physically possible to prevent people from becoming couch potatoes. People attending the camp are woken up ridiculously early in the morning to get a full day's exercise. Food is distributed only when credits are earned (through weight loss). The only films shown are ones that make jokes at the expense of fat people. Dorms are mixed sex to encourage sexual activity as a form of exercise, something which Grenville manages to prevent. Needless to say, a lot of people give up after a short time. The circumstances only succeed in aggravating Grenville further to the point of a not-a-rampage.
  • Gender Scoff: Jemma refers to all men as bastards in one of her blog entries.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Grenville's patience wears thinner and thinner as the book goes on. To be fair, he does go through a lot of crap.
  • Humiliation Conga: Grenville's entire story.
  • Insistent Terminology: Jeremy is a PR man Conceptuologist. Also, Grenville's not-a-rampage.
  • Jerkass: Jason Black, the lead singer of Big Boys Cry. Hayleigh has a crush on him throughout the book, but gets over it once she actually meets him.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Jeremy, particularly once he falls for Jemma.
  • Lighter and Softer: Compared to Grant's previous couple of books, this one has no Gorn, nobody dies and each of the three protagonists gets a happy ending.
  • Mood Whiplash: The difference between Hayleigh and Grenville's stories are astounding.
  • Next Sunday A.D.: Unlike Grant's previous books, this one takes place closer to the present day, albeit an unspecified year.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Gurlz Banned anyone? Also, the Prime Minister is nameless.
  • No OSHA Compliance: Inverted. There's an overabundance of health and safety regulations and it leads to many problems at the launch of the Well Farm.
  • No Periods, Period: Hayleigh's have stopped, due to her eating disorder. Worse still, she's faking them by cutting herself. Sadly, this can be Truth in Television.
  • No Such Thing as Bad Publicity: In universe example. Grenville's rampaging eventually gets him his own tv show. He even states this at one point.
  • Raging Stiffie: After Jemma leaves Jeremy's flat after they almost have sex, Jeremy is left hanging, so to speak. When he goes to check his email, he is amused that one of the messages is a spam advertisement trying to sell him Viagra.
  • Roaring Not-A-Rampage Of Revenge: Grenville's ending. When his credit card malfunctions at the Well Farm and the staff won't serve him food, he destroys half the camp.
  • Rotating Protagonist: Each chapter switches between the three main characters. Their stories aren't even connected, apart from Jeremy meeting Grenville at the Well Farm launch and Jeremy's visit to Hayleigh, though this event is significant for both of them.
  • Sealed with a Kiss: Averted at first when Jeremy kisses Jemma and she ends up running away, having thought he was her boyfriend and the whole thing descending into drama and heartache. Then played straight at the end when Jeremy kisses Jemma again and comments 'Now that was a proper kiss'.
  • Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll: The party Jeremy attends after the Well Farm launch. Because he's falling for Jemma, he actually doesn't care much for it, despite being tongued by a member of Gurlz Banned. It's also noted that he'd tried cocaine once before and it had rendered him temporarily impotent.
  • Shown Their Work: Jemma's opinions on dieting, salt intake and cholesterol levels were actually topics Grant looked into before writing the book. He provides a bibliography at the end.
  • Sliding Scale of Seriousness Versus Silliness: Grenville's story is hilarious, whereas Hayleigh's is a heartbreakingly serious tale of a young girl suffering from an eating disorder. Jeremy's story falls somewhere in between.
  • Surprisingly Happy Ending: Nothing ever seems to go right for Grenville in the book, until the end, where he gets a new television show on the BBC and, sort of, public recognition, as well as no charges put against him for his final moments (And a good not-rampage too without repercussions). Hayleigh, suffering from anorexia and seemingly doomed to be 'a fierce girl trapped in the body of a weak one' gets cured of her eating disorder thanks to meeting her idol and realising what a Jerkass he really is.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Hayleigh is not actually fat, but is in fact dangerously underweight. The reader gets no clue as to this until Jeremy meets her in one of his chapters.
  • Weight Woe: Both Grenville and Hayleigh have worries about their weight. Grenville is well aware that he's morbidly obese and decides to do something about it, but events conspire against him when he joins a gym. Hayleigh, on the other hand, is actually dangerously underweight and refuses to eat. She's even faking her meals by disposing of them in a manner which makes it look like she's eaten. She's referred to as fat in her own narration, but when we meet her from Jeremy's perspective, she's finally revealed to be anorexic.
  • You Are Fat: Downplayed. Grenville is well aware of his body shape, but if anyone else insults him for this, he tends to go on a not-a-rampage over it.

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