Keeper Shelf Monday: Fat Cat by Robin Brande

February 8th, 2010

A while ago I started hearing all this buzz about this book, Fat Cat by Robin Brande.

Full of romance and comedy and cool science….OK, I’ll bite.

But then I heard that it also involved a heroine’s experience being “the fat girl” as well as her experience trying to get healthy.

That’s when I REALLY got interested.

Because hello, me fifty pounds ago:


Before: People at work thought I was having a baby.

Back then I used to have one of these for breakfast every day:

And one of these for lunch:

Along with about ten diet sodas a day (because I was being healthy)!

And then nachos or a pizza for dinner, with a few beers (light beers, of course).

(I swear to you: I am not making this up.)

I probably would have gone on that way forever if I hadn’t switched doctors. My new doctor told me that I had lyme disease and that on the lyme disease antibiotics I couldn’t drink alcohol or consume any refined carbs (good carbs, such as fruit and nuts, were OK) or I would get a yeast infection. In my mouth.

If that isn’t the best incentive to quit eating cookie dough for breakfast, I don’t know what is. I was scared healthy!


After: Now I eat oatmeal and yogurt with nuts for breakfast. Boring, I know. But no yeast infections in my mouth. So far.

But what I went through those first few days withdrawing from refined carbs was what I imagine it would feel like to have an anvil dropped repeatedly on your head.

So here’s this author who wrote a whole book about a heroine who VOLUNTARILY agrees to go through the same thing…well, sort of: Cat decides to go “hominin” (cave girl) for a year long science experiment, and eat only non-processed, all-natural meals that she prepares herself.

She also won’t use electricity (no cell phones, TV, lights, microwaves, computers, etc, except for school), or drive (though she’ll let herself be driven after dark for safety), or makeup…the whole deal!

WHY???? WHY WOULD ANYONE DO THIS????

Well, Cat wants to see what kind of harmful effects modern foods (and lifestyle) has had on human beings.

What she never expects is the the resulting effect this experiment has on HER…both on her body AND on her romantic life.

Fat Cat was AWESOME. I loved reading about Cat’s resulting headaches as she withdraws from Diet Coke, sugar, caffeine, etc. Robin described EXACTLY what I went through when I had to give up those things (of course, I went back on all of them eventually. In moderation. Until I turned out to be a celiac. But that’s a whole other story).

I loved Fat Cat! I couldn’t stop reading it (even staying up til 1AM two nights in a row to finish it), because I had to find out what happened…not just with Cat’s science project, but with her romantic life. The hero is GREAT. Like Cat, he’s not perfect, and I liked him even more for that.

I enjoyed this book so much, I just had to contact the author Robin Brande and interview her. She’s so much fun, just like her book!


Author Robin Brande with friend

Here’s what she said in response to my questions:

Meg: Hi, Robin Brande. If they were making a movie about Fat Cat, and that guy who does the voice overs on movie trailers was telling us about it, what would he say?

Robin: Ha! Great question.

“Cat is smart, funny, and okay, maybe she wishes she hadn’t been living off of ice cream and Doritos for most of high school, but hey, no one’s perfect. But when she gets the chance to make herself her own science experiment and live like a cave woman, giving up all modern food and technology, look out—the results are something neither Cat nor the guys in her life are quite ready for.”

And there would be lots of sound effects and explosions and maybe Angelina Jolie laughing maniacally in the background, just because.

Meg: I think Angelina would also be shooting guns off. Although that’s not in the book. But it could be.

Okay, so who were your favorite (real or imaginary) heroines growing up? Who are your favorite heroines, real or imaginary, now?

Robin: Growing up: Any girl in a book or movie who had a horse, a dog, or special magical powers.

Now: Any woman in real life who swims to Antarctica, treks to the North Pole, rows across the Atlantic, climbs Mount Everest, etc. And if she has a horse or a dog or special magical powers–bonus.

Meg: Why am I not surprised. Did you always want to be a writer? Did you ever get rejected?

Robin: I’ve wanted to be a writer ever since 5th grade. But my parents were all “be practical!” and I knew I had to support myself after I graduated from college, so I took the chicken route and went to law school. Which is not something you should do if you don’t really want to be a lawyer. But I was a lawyer for about seven years, until I felt my soul slowly leaking out of my eyeballs. Then I did a few other things until I finally came to my senses and started writing full time, which is all I’ve ever really wanted to do.

(Note from Meg: I think this is great advice. It’s always good to have something to fall back on, just in case the writing thing doesn’t work out right away.)

Robin: Rejection? Ha! Plenty of that. The first novel of mine that was published, EVOLUTION, ME & OTHER FREAKS OF NATURE, was actually the sixth one I’d written. But that’s okay, because none of those earlier novels was a waste of time. As I’m sure you’ve experienced, Meg, every time you write a novel you get better at writing novels. So it’s all cool, it’s all wonderful, and I have no complaints.

Meg: We’re almost even on the same level of rejected books but I think I beat you. Do you eat while you write and if so what and how many per chapter?

Robin: Why are you the first person who has ever asked this? This is an awesome question!

Eating is my break from writing. Because it still feels like I’m doing *something.* I’m not really goofing off, I just have to quickly go make this chocolate zucchini bread. For research. Yeah.

Actually, since Fat Cat involved so much cooking and so much eating, I had a great time constantly doing “research.” My readers deserve to know whether Cat’s deep-dish double-espresso brownies really are that great. Yes, readers, they are.

Meg: If you want some of Cat’s recipes from the book, click here. What are you working on now, Robin?

Robin: I’m working on a very tight deadline at the moment, eating and writing—I mean, writing—the next book, which involves quantum physics and string theory. And love and romance, of course. And the girl in it has a dog and maybe even magical powers—I’ll leave that up to the readers to decide. The book is a lot of fun to write, but sometimes I do get a little sweaty when I have to explain the science. But there’s food in this one, too, so I can always take a break to go do “research.”

Meg: I can’t wait to read it!!!

Robin: Meg, thank you for your fabulous questions! I loved them all!! And now I’d like to know your answer to the food one: Do you eat while you write, and if so, what and how many per chapter?

Meg: I do! Right now I’m eating these mini Heath Bars (because you have to treat yourself SOMETIMES…moderation is the key) I found at CVS. As to how many per chapter, judging by the wrappers, at least five.

Meg: And now Robin has GENEROUSLY offered to give away TWO COPIES of Fat Cat, along with two of her amazing cool Karmic Café t-shirts (the Karmic Café plays a big part in the book. Many hot scenes happen there).

The winners will be chosen from posters on my message board! So click here to answer these two VERY difficult questions:

What would be the hardest unhealthy food for you to give up, and what would be the hardest technology for you to do without?

I already answered the first one: Chocolate chip cookie dough for breakfast (although breaking the diet soda addiction was definitely worst).

And even though I used to do so, I can’t imagine HOW we ever got along without the Internet! (Although makeup would be hard for me to give up, too.)

Read Fat Cat! I guarantee you’ll love it!

More later.

Much love,

Meg