Camp Utopia & the Forgiveness Diet is a laugh-out-loud romp through Bethany's journey to--and escape from--what she derisively calls "fat camp." But to call the book humor is to diminish it, because Ruden's debut novel is more than merely funny. It skewers our cultural obsession with the superficial, lampooning everything from fad diets to reality television and self-help gurus. And Bethany's inner journey from bitterness to forgiveness is one that will resonate with all readers.
Some of the characters begin as mere foils for Bethany's sarcastic wit. But one of the things I admire most about this novel is that nearly every character, even the bit players, change throughout, becoming rich and three dimensional. At the end, I was left with the hopeful feeling that there were no villains, just a cast of decent if damaged individuals doing their best to cope with a difficult world.
Read Camp Utopia & the Forgiveness Diet for the laughs, reread it for Ruden's profound insight into the transformative power of forgiveness.