“Fat Camp” by James Sabata is a classic slasher book with a chubby little twist. An unknown, masked psychopath is cutting down fatties left and right at Camp Wašíču.... does Phillip have what it takes to save his friends and himself?
As a fat child who blossomed into the curvy goddess you see today, I appreciated the insight Sabata provided into the mind of an adolescent with an eating disorder. If you read this book and wonder if the morbidly obese really think about Snickers that much... I can assure you it is true. I could go for one right now. I really liked the main character, Phillip McCracken. He was a boy struggling with a family tragedy. Instead of dealing with those issues, he became a regular at the Pizza Hut buffet. Now Philip must go to “fit camp” to lose some of his 400 pounds and gain some confidence. Or at least some non-edible coping mechanisms. I feel this was also a good coming-of-age story. The interactions between the campers and their reactions to the circumstances felt realistic. The main character certainly experienced tremendous personal growth while at camp, even before the guts hit the fan.
Speaking of guts, “Fat Camp” is a slasher that does not disappoint. The gore to story ratio is perfect, not veering off into splatterpunk or (worse yet) implied gore. Yuck. Sabata checks off all of the universally accepted slasher requirements. Masked (most likely male) psychopath? Check. Stalking and killing of innocents? Check. Remote location? Check. Weapon of choice isn’t a gun? Check. Teenage boobs? Check. ((There were a ton of moobies in this book, just so you know)) If I were to have one little nit to pick with the story, it would be with the killer. In slashers, the killer has undergone some sort of severe trauma in their past that strips them of their humanity and turns them into a killing machine. The killer in this story, not so much. I’ll put it like this. If everyone in his situation became the antagonist in their own slasher story, the machete industry would rule the world. Putting his motivation aside, I still feel the killer was in fact very scary. He was smart and conniving, causing plot twists left and right. I appreciate that.
In conclusion, “Fat Camp” by James Sabata is a solid slasher novel. It strikes the perfect balance of carnage and catharsis. Five stars, highly recommend.