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The author of Fat Girls and Lawn Chairsis back with a funny and poignant new collection of personal stories about growing up a misfit. A collection of stories for anyone who shuddered at the idea of senior prom, Revenge of the Paste Eaters is about the way the experiences of childhood stay with us and shape us into adults. Cheryl Peck applies her signature wit to more p The author of Fat Girls and Lawn Chairsis back with a funny and poignant new collection of personal stories about growing up a misfit. A collection of stories for anyone who shuddered at the idea of senior prom, Revenge of the Paste Eaters is about the way the experiences of childhood stay with us and shape us into adults. Cheryl Peck applies her signature wit to more personal stories and reflections-about hurting people and getting hurt, about discovering who you are and who you want to be, about feeling "not good enough," and about being bigger-physically and mentally-than many of the people surrounding you. This is a wickedly funny view of what it's like to be a middle-aged woman in middle-America, and what really happened to the kids who were different.


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The author of Fat Girls and Lawn Chairsis back with a funny and poignant new collection of personal stories about growing up a misfit. A collection of stories for anyone who shuddered at the idea of senior prom, Revenge of the Paste Eaters is about the way the experiences of childhood stay with us and shape us into adults. Cheryl Peck applies her signature wit to more p The author of Fat Girls and Lawn Chairsis back with a funny and poignant new collection of personal stories about growing up a misfit. A collection of stories for anyone who shuddered at the idea of senior prom, Revenge of the Paste Eaters is about the way the experiences of childhood stay with us and shape us into adults. Cheryl Peck applies her signature wit to more personal stories and reflections-about hurting people and getting hurt, about discovering who you are and who you want to be, about feeling "not good enough," and about being bigger-physically and mentally-than many of the people surrounding you. This is a wickedly funny view of what it's like to be a middle-aged woman in middle-America, and what really happened to the kids who were different.

30 review for Revenge of the Paste Eaters: Memoirs of a Misfit

  1. 5 out of 5

    Amberlee

    Cheryl Peck seems like a nice woman and I was excited to read a funny lesbian memoir but her stories were average and I didn't really care after a while. I don't know why I thought her 2nd book would be much better.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Claire

    Ugh, sorry to those who gifted this book to me! Three things bothered me about this book: 1. It wasn't funny or even really that amusing! It reminded me of when I was trying to be super-witty in my 7th grade "memoirs." 2. The stories are incredibly short and half-baked. It's not an economy of well-chosen words that makes Peck's stories two-pagers. She simply runs out of steam and often says things like, "Oh, well I forget the details of this story." So don't include it! 3. The general lack of edi Ugh, sorry to those who gifted this book to me! Three things bothered me about this book: 1. It wasn't funny or even really that amusing! It reminded me of when I was trying to be super-witty in my 7th grade "memoirs." 2. The stories are incredibly short and half-baked. It's not an economy of well-chosen words that makes Peck's stories two-pagers. She simply runs out of steam and often says things like, "Oh, well I forget the details of this story." So don't include it! 3. The general lack of editing is incredibly irritating. At one point, Peck writes about how for her first book, she just put together a bunch of memories she jotted down. It seems like this slap-dash technique has continued in this book, yet she kind of ran out of things to say after that first book. She repeats herself or will introduce an event or character that we just read about extensively. It's like if you go out to dinner with your friend and her sister and then the next day your friend introduces this sister AGAIN. WE JUST SPENT THREE HOURS TOGETHER! I know who your sister is! The only thing I liked about this book was that Peck's perspective as a midwestern, obese, middle-aged, cat-loving lesbian is pretty uncommon. She's the only person I have ever "known"(?) that matches that description. I learned that yes, ANYONE can be boring regardless of his or her region/body-type/sexuality!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Penny

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This is well written but wanders a bit. The author writes quite a bit about her childhood and dealing with her parents, and much less about feminism, coming out, lesbian life, and her partner. I found the latter much more interesting than the former, so the heavier focus on childhood and her issues with her mom wasn't my favorite. That said, there are a couple of pieces in here that are tremendously insightful. I found particularly valuable her piece about dealing with a friend who was still lar This is well written but wanders a bit. The author writes quite a bit about her childhood and dealing with her parents, and much less about feminism, coming out, lesbian life, and her partner. I found the latter much more interesting than the former, so the heavier focus on childhood and her issues with her mom wasn't my favorite. That said, there are a couple of pieces in here that are tremendously insightful. I found particularly valuable her piece about dealing with a friend who was still largely closeted, and her frustration at being asked to deny part of her identity to protect someone else. She also has a couple of great pieces about gender, her own failings as a cis woman, and the ways that being a woman of size has shaped how she sees the world. I just wish the book was more of this.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Melissa Lee-Tammeus

    I got this book at a used book store. It is a bunch of very small essays about a life of a woman who writes fairly well, has a cute sense of humor, and has a lot of stories to tell. The are not extraordinary and some are a bit rambling but it makes for a nice read when you just want a quick story to read while waiting at the DVM or some such other place. A good purse carrier, so to speak. It is fun, but I really don't see me searching this author out again.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Zulema Montiel

    Eh...so-so. Some amusing stories, but overall, I didn't find the book interesting enough to share. The editing drove me "batty" as there was a lot of repetition. Seems to me the entire boos could have & should have been whittled down to a short story. Eh...so-so. Some amusing stories, but overall, I didn't find the book interesting enough to share. The editing drove me "batty" as there was a lot of repetition. Seems to me the entire boos could have & should have been whittled down to a short story.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Melissa (LifeFullyBooked)

    2.5 stars In her first book, Fat Girls and Lawn Chairs, Cheryl Peck hilariously discussed her childhood in middle America. In Revenge of the Paste Eaters, she again gives the reader something to laugh - and to think - about. In a series of over fifty short essays, she draws from experiences of her life and makes them relevant to readers on many levels. Funny anecdotes about the lawfulness of using a cell phone while driving coupled with an absolutely true-to-life account of a child's-eye-view of w 2.5 stars In her first book, Fat Girls and Lawn Chairs, Cheryl Peck hilariously discussed her childhood in middle America. In Revenge of the Paste Eaters, she again gives the reader something to laugh - and to think - about. In a series of over fifty short essays, she draws from experiences of her life and makes them relevant to readers on many levels. Funny anecdotes about the lawfulness of using a cell phone while driving coupled with an absolutely true-to-life account of a child's-eye-view of waiting for parents to complete the purchase of a car provide variety and interest. The author is upfront about herself and doesn't appear to hold anything back. She talks freely about her plus-sized figure, her sexual orientation, and her relationships with others. This attitude is refreshing and will endear readers to her, whether or not they hold the same beliefs or values. As in her first memoir, the funniest essays deal with Peck's cat Babycakes. When she writes stories from Babycakes' point of view, the world seems clearer and you'll nod your head musing, 'that’s exactly what a cat must be thinking!' Revenge of the Paste Eaters is a bit more introspective and reflective than the first book, and less funny just for the sake of a laugh. This doesn't make it as readable as the previous one, but it does provide a lot of food for thought. Cheryl Peck's pain and heartache, although covered over by humor at times, is also real and moving. As memoirs go, this one takes an enjoyable look at life from a humorous perspective and makes a delightful reading choice.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Paula

    Series of humorous vignettes... some excerpts: Story about a kitten that risked its life to swim after her mother - yet the mother merely found it amusing. 'its stuck so stubbornly in my mind all those years - a story about a silly kitten that wanted to be with mymother so much he killed himself trying to reach her, and she thought it was funny. Remembering when she got blamed for something as a young girl - and believed herself to be inherently bad: I need to find that little girl in the white Series of humorous vignettes... some excerpts: Story about a kitten that risked its life to swim after her mother - yet the mother merely found it amusing. 'its stuck so stubbornly in my mind all those years - a story about a silly kitten that wanted to be with mymother so much he killed himself trying to reach her, and she thought it was funny. Remembering when she got blamed for something as a young girl - and believed herself to be inherently bad: I need to find that little girl in the white dress and forgive her. She is a part of all of us, she is a long-neglected part of me. It was not her fault. She didn’t do anything wrong. I supposed I could continue to punish her for the rest of my life, but if I can find it within myself to seek forgiveness, the first step surely must be to forgive. … My interpretation: I need to find the scared, hungry, lost little girl and love her. For surely the path to being loved.. Is to be loving. It is inordinately freeing to be beyond the critical scope of the young. I have no one I have to impress anymore. No one is even looking at me. What I once thought would be a terrifying transition - the loss of my sense of substance as a person, has turned out to be the time of my life.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Marsha

    Cheryl Peck was a happy child who grew up thinking that she was miserable and mistreated. She was of a fairly ordinary weight and thought she was the fattest kid in the class. She didn’t want to be a girl but had no problems thinking of herself as one. She didn’t like boys but didn’t realize she was a lesbian until far into her puberty. From such contradictions and confusions came a knowing if not always wise spirit, a woman who wrote about memories she doesn’t always recall in perfect detail but Cheryl Peck was a happy child who grew up thinking that she was miserable and mistreated. She was of a fairly ordinary weight and thought she was the fattest kid in the class. She didn’t want to be a girl but had no problems thinking of herself as one. She didn’t like boys but didn’t realize she was a lesbian until far into her puberty. From such contradictions and confusions came a knowing if not always wise spirit, a woman who wrote about memories she doesn’t always recall in perfect detail but that make for introspective, gently amusing and oddly touching vignettes. From bewailing the useless state of her hair (that never does what she wants but does what it wants) to the unpredictable but (sometimes) loving tendencies of cats, Ms. Peck has made herself and her loved ones well known and cherished wherever they go. If she isn’t quite as laugh-out-loud funny as Roseanne Barr or wry and witty as Ellen DeGeneres, there is more insight and quiet struggle for acceptance in her remembrances. Ms. Peck’s stories make her read like the woman next door. Just steer clear of Babycakes.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kathy

    This book is written in Ms. Peck's conversational style. She has a self-deprecating wit and has a gift for description. I initially read her first book, "Fat Girls and Lawn Chairs" and after finishing it in one evening, I went online to see if she had any other works for me to enjoy. "Revenge of the Paste Eaters" delivers humor and insight into her childhood, growing up in a small Midwestern town. Coincidentally I also lived in that little town and so I am additionally thrilled when she mentions This book is written in Ms. Peck's conversational style. She has a self-deprecating wit and has a gift for description. I initially read her first book, "Fat Girls and Lawn Chairs" and after finishing it in one evening, I went online to see if she had any other works for me to enjoy. "Revenge of the Paste Eaters" delivers humor and insight into her childhood, growing up in a small Midwestern town. Coincidentally I also lived in that little town and so I am additionally thrilled when she mentions places I remember. I almost feel as if I know the author personally. Ms. Peck is currently working on a third book and I just wish she'd hurry up with it. I am a dedicated fan and cannot wait to see what she has for her loyal readers. Her relaxed and easy tone lazily lends itself to a time when children ran wild all summer, vacation lasted forever, and no one wore shoes. It brings back many memories and I enjoyed every word of it.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    Subtitled 'Memoirs of a Misfit', this book is a series of essays about the miseries of growing up. The author was born in 1949 (one year after me) so a lot of what she mentions are also memories of my childhood. Like sleeping on huge rollers so you could have the 'big hair' decreed by the fashion of the day and subsequently suffering from a crick in the neck, headaches and cronic sleeplessnes. And oh-by-the-way still not having big hair because your hair type is thin, fine, and totally not amena Subtitled 'Memoirs of a Misfit', this book is a series of essays about the miseries of growing up. The author was born in 1949 (one year after me) so a lot of what she mentions are also memories of my childhood. Like sleeping on huge rollers so you could have the 'big hair' decreed by the fashion of the day and subsequently suffering from a crick in the neck, headaches and cronic sleeplessnes. And oh-by-the-way still not having big hair because your hair type is thin, fine, and totally not amenable to reform. The author also is gay and talks about her problem with chronic overweight so at least I didn't suffer through all the indignities she describes! I found this book amusing but not laugh-out-loud funny. I would recommend it for a quick read and the sake of nostalgia.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jules Vilmur

    There is much to love in this book. Writing teachers are forever talking about "finding your voice". Its not something you can actually teach, more like something a writer falls into naturally or stumbles upon and with any luck, someone is there to point and cheer and say "That's it!". For those who have it, it seems obvious (what other voice would I write with?) and for those who don't, it seems like some elusive, mystical gift. I mention this now, because Cheryl Peck is one of those writers wh There is much to love in this book. Writing teachers are forever talking about "finding your voice". Its not something you can actually teach, more like something a writer falls into naturally or stumbles upon and with any luck, someone is there to point and cheer and say "That's it!". For those who have it, it seems obvious (what other voice would I write with?) and for those who don't, it seems like some elusive, mystical gift. I mention this now, because Cheryl Peck is one of those writers whose voice is so specific and so strong, that five pages into "Revenge of the Paste Eaters", I wanted to offer her another cup of tea, insist that she stay for dinner and ask her to be my friend forever.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Maria

    I found myself being incredibly bored as I read this book. I didn't look forward to picking up the book again each time I put it down. It was witty and cute at times and occasionally, I admit, I laughed out loud. The substance of the book, however, I found to be really quite dull and felt that the author was trying to be overly clever to the point that it just fell flat. I also found that there was an underlying tone of bitterness and an almost whiny quality to the author's words. I didn't feel I found myself being incredibly bored as I read this book. I didn't look forward to picking up the book again each time I put it down. It was witty and cute at times and occasionally, I admit, I laughed out loud. The substance of the book, however, I found to be really quite dull and felt that the author was trying to be overly clever to the point that it just fell flat. I also found that there was an underlying tone of bitterness and an almost whiny quality to the author's words. I didn't feel myself relating to or liking the author as a result. I feel the balance of self-deprecating humor and actual storytelling was off. The chapter told from the cat's point of view about "mommy" was too much for me.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Nikki DeLash

    Well, I was very disappointed with this book. It hasn't taken me more than a week to read a book in forever... and I think this one is going on about 2 weeks. I really wanted to like this book, but it was quite boring. With a title like this, I expected to laugh out loud, but throughout the whole thing I only managed maybe 2 or 3 giggles. Maybe her style of writing just didn't do it for me. I have to say, my favorite parts had to do with Babycakes, but anyone who knows me knows I have a soft spo Well, I was very disappointed with this book. It hasn't taken me more than a week to read a book in forever... and I think this one is going on about 2 weeks. I really wanted to like this book, but it was quite boring. With a title like this, I expected to laugh out loud, but throughout the whole thing I only managed maybe 2 or 3 giggles. Maybe her style of writing just didn't do it for me. I have to say, my favorite parts had to do with Babycakes, but anyone who knows me knows I have a soft spot for red tabby male cats. I also think I've become very spoiled from reading Augusten Burroughs and David Sedaris. Oh well...

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jim

    In a sweet bundle of essays, Cheryl Peck offers witty self-deprecating tales of her life, farm animals, unruly cats, broken-down cars, giant hair curlers, and other foibles of everyday life. Her personal voice/writing style at first felt cloying, but like a friend with a twangy Midwestern accent, it grew on me. Even her cute names for her cat, and her partner/wife (luvah?) as My Beloved began to feel right after a few chapters. Her trepidations over getting gussied up for literary readings hit hom In a sweet bundle of essays, Cheryl Peck offers witty self-deprecating tales of her life, farm animals, unruly cats, broken-down cars, giant hair curlers, and other foibles of everyday life. Her personal voice/writing style at first felt cloying, but like a friend with a twangy Midwestern accent, it grew on me. Even her cute names for her cat, and her partner/wife (luvah?) as My Beloved began to feel right after a few chapters. Her trepidations over getting gussied up for literary readings hit home! I found it fun to read one essay at a time, over lunch or breakfast. It's still on my kitchen table.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    Really enjoyed this, my first experience with Cheryl Peck. She's not laugh-out-loud funny, but just comfortable, Midwestern, woman-of-a-certain-age good. As a crazy pet person, I loved the stories about Babycakes, but I could have done without the sad, spooky story about the cat and her mom - I'm not going to be able to let go of that one easily. Here's hoping that Peck finds a wider audience, and can actually quit her day job - she's definitely talented enough, and she has a ready group of pote Really enjoyed this, my first experience with Cheryl Peck. She's not laugh-out-loud funny, but just comfortable, Midwestern, woman-of-a-certain-age good. As a crazy pet person, I loved the stories about Babycakes, but I could have done without the sad, spooky story about the cat and her mom - I'm not going to be able to let go of that one easily. Here's hoping that Peck finds a wider audience, and can actually quit her day job - she's definitely talented enough, and she has a ready group of potential readers out there.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jeanette

    so i got this from my book swap and was really disapointed. i like memoirs and its a collection of essays from Cheryl Peck's life. I'm all about support lesbians and I thought she'd be a female version of David Sedaris. I was wrong. I read this on the bus ride in Mexico and was soooooooo bored. I skipped so many pages because I was falling asleep. She's funny at times, and some of her stories are funny, but the ones involving her childhood, mainly her times with her dad just killed me they were s so i got this from my book swap and was really disapointed. i like memoirs and its a collection of essays from Cheryl Peck's life. I'm all about support lesbians and I thought she'd be a female version of David Sedaris. I was wrong. I read this on the bus ride in Mexico and was soooooooo bored. I skipped so many pages because I was falling asleep. She's funny at times, and some of her stories are funny, but the ones involving her childhood, mainly her times with her dad just killed me they were so boring. I wanted to read her first book, but after this i think ill pass.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jane Greene

    Cheryl Peck's book is very funny and often poignant. She speaks from the heart with confidence, humor and wisdom. The writing is similar to a Sedaris book in that she bases each chapter on one of her life experiences and she too comes from a loving but dysfunctional family. Cheryl discusses her family, pets, menopause, childhood, battle with weight and life as a lesbian with humor and grace. Interspersed throughout the book are poems she has written about her life experiences. Reading Cheryl's b Cheryl Peck's book is very funny and often poignant. She speaks from the heart with confidence, humor and wisdom. The writing is similar to a Sedaris book in that she bases each chapter on one of her life experiences and she too comes from a loving but dysfunctional family. Cheryl discusses her family, pets, menopause, childhood, battle with weight and life as a lesbian with humor and grace. Interspersed throughout the book are poems she has written about her life experiences. Reading Cheryl's book is like having a quiet conversation with a close friend who can make you smile!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Sunni

    What bothers me most about this book? The fact that I know folks who are struggling to get great books published, tomes much better written than this. Of course, it was in the bargain bin at Borders so it was my own risk. I just fell for the title. Wow, that's harsh I know. I just feel like I wasted my time reading this. It really could have used a strong, STRONG editorial hand. Rambly, repetitive, most of the essays felt unfinished or more like the seeds of an essay. I don't even know why I fini What bothers me most about this book? The fact that I know folks who are struggling to get great books published, tomes much better written than this. Of course, it was in the bargain bin at Borders so it was my own risk. I just fell for the title. Wow, that's harsh I know. I just feel like I wasted my time reading this. It really could have used a strong, STRONG editorial hand. Rambly, repetitive, most of the essays felt unfinished or more like the seeds of an essay. I don't even know why I finished it, some sadistic streak kept me plugging along through the mush.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Melissa S.

    This was a wonderful book! I love essays, especially the ones that give insight into how others think and see the world. These essays touched me and even helped me realize there are other women out there that think or feel the way I do. I almost skipped reading this book because of a few reviews that said it was whiny, or focused too much on the author's sexuality. Neither of those are true! Read this book, especially if you like to laugh at the world, yourself, and the human condition in general This was a wonderful book! I love essays, especially the ones that give insight into how others think and see the world. These essays touched me and even helped me realize there are other women out there that think or feel the way I do. I almost skipped reading this book because of a few reviews that said it was whiny, or focused too much on the author's sexuality. Neither of those are true! Read this book, especially if you like to laugh at the world, yourself, and the human condition in general. I know I will add her other books to my shelf soon!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Cali

    I was extremely disappointed in this book. With a title like that, I expected more. David Sedaris has ruined me by setting the bar too high, I guess. The essays are mildly interesting at best. Most of her musings about her childhood are filled with "I don't remember what happened" and so forth. If Cheryl Peck didn't find the event worth remembering, I can't figure out for the life of me why she felt it was worth telling either.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Erica

    I have been reading this book off and on for about 8 months. I seem to always pick it up when I am going on a road trip. I do like it, especially the essay style that the author has chosen, but for some reason I can't seem to engage enough to finish. Hopefully my next road trip will put this baby to rest. UPDATE! Finally finished....wasn't as good as I thought it would be...kept waiting for some resolution ofr ending, or something.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    Can't say I enjoyed it much. I really liked, "Fat Girls and Lawn Chairs," but this book just seemed to be a rehash of what she's previously written. I did like the poetry but it constitutes a minor part of the book. I decided I was bored half way through but since I had invested time into reading half I finished it. Peck gets pigeonholed as an angry fat lesbian, and she's definitely more than that. Her poetry shows that. This book doesn't.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Anne

    Thrift store find. Enjoyed first part of book, probably because I can relate to the author's relationship with her family. The essays repeated themselves, though, and made me wonder if the whole book is a repeat of her first. Some may love the bits written about her cats. Can't put my finger on what's bothering me.....perhaps the author's pre-occupation with the box she's painted herself into? ("fat", "lesbian", "middle- aged"). I'll probably read her first book just out of curiosity.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    Not entirely what I was expecting. I wasn't really "laugh out loud like an idiot" funny, but was amusing for the most part. She has some funny essays on Life With Cats---very true, funny, and probably only appreciated by someone who actually does live with a cat. Some parts were slow, and she really does sound like she was a miserable child (which she fully admits)....a bit overly so. Not bad, but not a favorite.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Katy

    The best thing about the book is it's title. It had promise but that's about all. I think the book is full of "had to be there" stories, I'm sure the memories and stories may be funny/amusing/interesting at the time but all humor or importance is lost in the retelling. And too many cat stories. I'm an animal lover but there are too many stories of a cat persons interpretations of the workings of a house cat.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Shannan

    One of the funniest titles I've ever heard! The book didn't quite live up to it, but I found it amusing and entertaining. I particularly liked the stories told from Babycakes' perspective and her description of morning people hooking up with night owls totally cracked me up. Overall a good read, but not a great read.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sandra

    I had a hard time getting into this one. I don't really have a lot in common with an overweight 50-something year old lesbian. But a few of her essays were pretty funny. It read like a collection of blog entries, which can be somewhat annoying because the same people keep popping up and you have to remind the reader who they are.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Teresa

    meh. i basically felt like i was reading a robert fulgham book, except in this version, robert fulgham is jaded, bitter and full of unjustifiable resentment. there were parts that were fun, but for the most part i just felt like with every chapter gave a new reason to listen to this lady complain. and for the record, i happen to love robert fulgham.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Melissa Adams

    Life is easy if you're slim, beautiful and heterosexual. For a plump, gay, self-described misfit, things get a little more challenging. For a good laugh, check out Cheryl Peck's hilarious take on growing up as the Least Wee of three sisters (the Wee One and the UnWee), her adventures with Babycakes (her cat) and her Beloved in America's conservative Midwest.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    This was one of the most boring books I ever read. I shouldn't say that... I didn't finish it. I couldn't. I probably had my hopes up too high when I bought it that it would be entertaining, but I when I started reading it, it was almost sad and pathetic instead of even slightly entertaining. Don't waste your money.

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