Monday, January 2, 2012

Book Review: Putting Makeup on the Fat Boy by Bil Wright

goodreads summary: Carlos Duarte knows that he’s fabulous. He’s got a better sense of style than half the fashionistas in New York City, and he can definitely apply makeup like nobody’s business. He may only be in high school, but when he lands the job of his dreams—makeup artist at the FeatureFace counter in Macy’s—he’s sure that he’s finally on his way to great things.

But the makeup artist world is competitive and cutthroat, and for Carlos to reach his dreams, he’ll have to believe in himself more than ever.

my review: The title and subject matter immediately caught my attention. I haven’t read a book from the perspective of a LGBT protagonist before, and I thought this would be a good start in the Young Adult world. I liked the subject matter as well because every time I wander through Macy’s I always see makeup artists at work and I often wonder how they get to be so good at makeup. Plus, I’m so bad at putting on crooked eyeliner that I needed to beg some makeup artists to help me. Good times.

Even though I didn’t understand the significance of adding a second ‘r’ in Carlos’s name, I did appreciate his ambition to being what he wanted: a makeup artist at FeatureFace. Everything seemed to be handed to him and his only stumbles (stealing a pair of designer boots and later makeup, being sent to a Macy’s in New Jersey) seemed rather trivial to the overall story. I would’ve liked something more personal and something that would’ve had a bigger impact onto Carlos’s life. The fact that his sister had an abusive boyfriend, seemed out of place in the story, and it culminated in an abrupt end to the book. Why hadn’t there been more focus on the fact that Rosalia (Carlos’s sister) seek help from a therapist or something? It seemed like it could work but not in this story. Maybe the fact that gay guys are typecasted as not being masculine and that’s why Carlos had to fight the abusive boyfriend?

I thought the love interest, Gleason, seemed silly. It was cute at first, the idea of the photographer and Carlos working together, but after a while the fantasies and dreams seemed to be a little far-fetched. I would’ve liked a different male character in the story since he lives in New York and there is a big LGBT community located in New York.

As far as setting, plot and character development are concerned, I thought that it was appropriate for this book. Good transition into feeling like I live in money-conscious New York with a particular yearn for designer clothing, good progression of plot and subtle character development. Carlos Duarte was a strong character to begin with, and I think throughout the book he changed for the better.

Rating: 4/5

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