Opinion | Sexuality

Maggie Goes on a Diet: A Story for Children?

How a new book simplifies the larger female relationship with food.

With a title like Maggie Goes on a Diet, it's hard to believe author and publisher Paul Kramer did not anticipate the criticism he and his publishing house would receive when the book recently appeared on Amazon for pre-order. Not even in print yet, this book has been hurtled into the middle of the ongoing debate regarding childhood obesity, eating disorders, and how exactly to teach young children about healthy eating habits.

If the title doesn't make you cringe, maybe the product description will: "This book is about a 14-year-old girl who goes on a diet and is transformed from being extremely overweight and insecure to a normal sized girl who becomes the school soccer star. Through time, exercise and hard work, Maggie becomes more and more confident and develops a positive self image." Add to that the book's reading level—ages 4 to 8—and the cover image of an overweight girl imagining a thinner self in the mirror, and the result seems more likely to cause psychological damage ...

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