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My Big Nose and Other Natural Disasters
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
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.
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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.