Fattypuffs And Thinifers
by André Maurois
genre: young adult, political satire
Summary from Goodreads
‘If you go on eating like that you’ll turn into a real Fattypuff,’ thin Mr Double said to his plump son Edmund. He was right, for when Edmund and Terry found the secret staircase in the wood which led to the underground countries, Edmund had to go with the Fattypuffs to their city, where people were huge and happy and ate all day long, while Terry went off with the Thinifers, who were as spiky and prickly as their city. And it took a war as well as a lot of argument before the boys could teach them to agree about anything.
Why I Chose the Book
With only two days left in Australia (and my days completely booked with activities) I only had two nights to finish an entire book. I scanned my friend’s shelves and found Fattypuffs and Thinifers. I wanted something I could read quickly and the cover looked interesting.
After the two boys descend the stairs into a world where people are divided based on weight, it becomes clear that this is a political satire. Two countries war over the name of a “neutral” island, which neither of them claim to own, but both obviously think they do. It’s a reminder that the winner writes the history books and there’s always two sides to a story. Initially, I thought this would be a wonderful addition for our Perspective board on Pinterest. It promised to be a great story akin to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead.
I can’t remember where I lost interest. At some point, there was an almost “aha” realization about how I didn’t want to be reading a satire. While I originally thought the two countries were meant to represent Japan and South Korea, there was later mention of United States of the Underground and an iron curtain. Though I enjoyed 1984 and Brave New World, I hated Animal Farm. I’d wanted a light read, not something I would need to dissect and probe for deeper meanings.
The interesting thing is, this book was written in 1930. For those of you who don’t have history dates memorized, that’s prior to WWII and the Iron Curtain that went up from 1945-1991. Sure, I could probably find loads of papers on what Maurois was getting at (it should also be mentioned that the book is set in France), but that wasn’t aligned with why I wanted to read it in the first place.
If you’re wanting to teach kids about compromise and acceptance, this might be a good book. If you’re wanting something light and fluffy that doesn’t make you think, this is not the book for you.
2 out of 5 stars.
It wasn’t a bad book, it just wasn’t a book that matched what I wanted to read when I first picked it up. For that reason, it got a lower score than it might have otherwise.
To see what other books we’ve reviewed, check out our book reviews page.