My Big Nose and Other Natural Disasters

Book review by
Stephanie Dunnewind, Common Sense Media
My Big Nose and Other Natural Disasters Book Poster Image
A teen's big nose leads to a big lesson in self-acceptance.

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 4 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Positive Messages

Jory and her friends vandalize a boy's car with ketchup, mustard, and whipped cream. Jory's mom is always on extreme diets, trying to lose weight quickly. Jory saves all her money for plastic surgery and creates a "Nice Nose Notebook" with pictures of potential noses (she later rips it up). One of Jory's crushes is gay but feels he must hide it to avoid his father's anger. Jory lies to her boss on several occasions. Hannah drinks and gets in a hot tub in her underwear, noting "I'm sick of always being the good girl. What good has it done me?" Jory flips off her mom.


A drunk college student Jory dubs "Ass Grabber" grabs her butt and tries to grab her breasts, then pushes her against a wall. She screams and her friend comes to save her. Ass Grabber calls her, "You pathetic little tease."


Jory often calculates her odds of dying a virgin; she wonders, "Can the desire to lose your virginity be a passion, in the creative sense of the word?" The girls obsess over boys. A boy tells Jory not to stare at his ass, then tells her it's his turn to check out hers. A college student takes Jory and her friend up to his room, which he tells them is called the "orgy room" because he has mattresses all over the floor. Jory often dresses in a "sexy mini." Jory's friend gets drunk at lunch and goes home with an older co-worker, which Jory says "Sounds like a recipe for date rape." Jory kisses a boy she knows at a party; he puts his hands under her bra and pushes her hand onto his penis. (She starts laughing and he gets angry, telling her she "acted like she wanted it.") Jory kisses her boyfriend; when things start to heat up, he tells her he has decided to stay a virgin in high school. Jory and her friends have a picture taken wearing a teddy and fishnet stockings.


"Pissed," "ass."


There are several brand names mentioned of cars, bands, food, and household items.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Jory and her friends attend high school and college parties (uninvited) where there is drinking and drug use (a bong, passing a joint). Some teens drink excessively, to the point of vomiting. One boy drives after using a bong, despite seeming "pretty wasted." The main character drinks hard alcohol (creme de menthe and hard lemonade). Waitresses serve 17-year-olds chocolate martinis because 20-something law clerks vouch for them. At a fraternity party, Jory and her friend decide they "need something to drink to make us look older." Some guys chug beer from a tube. The girls drink hard lemonade. Jory's crush drinks from a pitcher of margaritas and offers her some, which she takes.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the book features a significant amount of underage drinking by the main character, her friends, and other students. Although the main character eventually accepts her appearance and decides she "confused sex with self-worth," she spends most of the book obsessed with her large nose and calculating her chances of dying a virgin.

User Reviews

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Teen, 13 years old Written byMaddyculb23 October 18, 2013

Things found in the book..

So I am currently reading the book and almost done with it, I'm 13 and have noticed this book is for older kids like 13-15. It has a lot of under age drink... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byearthgurl December 17, 2010

I enjoyed this

The title isnt very appealing, but it has a really good story. The main character, Jory, struggles with many insecurities and her nose. Good message.

What's the story?

Seventeen-year-old Jory and her two best friends, Hannah and Megan, decide to spend their last summer of high school seeking out their passions. In a series of disasters, Jory tries yoga, watches old films, searches for a boyfriend, and takes a job as a delivery-van driver. Her secret goal, though, is earning enough money to pay a plastic surgeon for a new nose that will make her beautiful. Then she'll fit in with her family, boys will love her, and her life will truly begin. But is her nose really the problem?

Is it any good?

Teens may relate to Jory's various misadventures, including a gaseous yoga session and a disastrous wedding job. Jory is subject to every teen insecurity: She hides her big nose with tons of makeup; she worries she's a bad kisser; she tries to be cool but is mostly a klutz.

Though Salter tries to pass Jory off as edgy, in the last few chapters Jory comes around to accepting herself and realizing the errors of her ways. The epiphanies come off a bit forced, in a staged speech to her shallow, one-dimensional mother ("I'm never going to be good enough for you!") and the symbolic ripping of magazine images ("How many of them suffer from eating disorders, or addictions, or just plain old insecurity?"). Still, teens will find much to identify with here, and could find worse books to read.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about body image and how Jory finds ways to accept her appearance. How does her mom's attitude influence Jory's perception of herself? Do you agree with Jory's critique of fashion magazine models? Can "anyone can fake happiness in a photograph"?

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