Fat Camp is a wonderful homage to the slasher movie. Influenced heavily by Friday The 13th, James Sabata has played around with some of the classic tropes and offered a fantastic coming of age tale, packed with suspense and likeable characters,
The story is played through Phil McKracken’s eyes. A 400 pound teenager struggling with the Camp’s regime for gaining motivation and losing weight. The night Phil is due to quit the Camp he finds himself fighting for his life.
Fat Camp is great fun, the characters are all likeable and nicely fleshed out, there are multiple deaths (some of which are remarkably brutal) and I felt real compassion for Phil as he struggles through the story from hopeless ‘loser’ to…
Look, I’m not going to spoil this story, it plays very closely to the standard slasher movie format so you know what you are going to get. But don’t let that put you off from reading Fat Camp. There is so much heart in this story, never coming across as preachy, Sabata has in Phil, a character that really struggles with his place in life and it’s only when faced with utter carnage that we see this quite tragic kid try and take control of his life.
One criticism, I’m sure early in the book some of The Killers movements were being described by Phil, even though he wouldn’t have seen anything. I don’t know if I’ve misinterpreted these passages but I was convinced at one point that it was actually Phil who was offing his campmates and we were hearing Phil’s inner voice and discovering his mental instability. As the story progressed it was obviously not Phil, so I was a little confused, I don’t believe this was the authors intention. This wasn’t book breaking in the slightest and as I said this might have been my wonky interpretation of the text. I’d be interested if anyone else picked up on this.
Fat Camp sensitively raises awareness for a whole raft of social issues, from body image, peer pressure, bullying and relationships whilst taking the reader on a wild ride of murder and mayhem.
Wrapping everything up in a wonderful slasher shell, James Sabata has written a novel that I’d wholeheartedly recommend. Fat Camp is packed with likeable characters, humour and some delicious gore and a whole lot of heart.
Star Rating (out of 5): 4*
Since 1985, over 500 overweight teenagers have come to Camp Wašíču, looking to lose weight, gain self-confidence, and turn their lives around.
Phillip McCracken arrives, weighing in at almost 400 pounds; but the baggage he carries from the past affects him much more deeply than the numbers of the scale. When a homicidal maniac hell-bent on revenge attacks, Phillip will be forced to either find the courage to save the people around him or fall victim to his own self-doubt…
… and possibly a machete.