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My Summers At 'Fat Camp'

"I chose not to tell the story of <em>Moose</em> in quips and witty puns," Stephanie Klein writes in her memoir, "because that's not what adolescence is. It's awkward and tender, vulnerable and angry. It doesn't always make sense." Above, a page from Klein's fat camp scrapbook.
"I chose not to tell the story of <em>Moose</em> in quips and witty puns," Stephanie Klein writes in her memoir, "because that's not what adolescence is. It's awkward and tender, vulnerable and angry. It doesn't always make sense." Above, a page from Klein's fat camp scrapbook.
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Stephanie Klein, author of Moose: A Memoir of Fat Camp, describes her life as a chubby teenager and her struggle to be accepted by her peers. Drawing from her childhood diaries, she recounts her adolescent summers spent at weight-loss camps trying to slim down.

"I hated school. I hated the reflection in the mirror," Klein tells guest host Lynn Neary. "I wanted so much to be someone else. ... I thought that if I was thinner, the rest of my life would change."

Klein reflects on fat camp experiences — getting weighed on a meat scale and "chunky dunking" in the lake — and recalls the camaraderie she felt with her fellow campers.

"All of us were, you know, ridiculed ... whether it was [by] our parents or our peers." Klein says. "Once we got to camp, we realized that we had that commonality — not just the weight, but how we were received."

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