Putting Makeup on the Fat Boy by Bil Wright
Sixteen year old high school student Carlos Duarte has loved makeup as long as he can remember, practicing on himself and putting it on his mother. Encouraged by his friend Angie, Carlos applies for a job at Macy’s Feature Face counter, getting the job with pictures of makeup jobs he’s done on friends and invented experience on his resume, plus an in person demo. Carlos encounters hostility from his manager Valentino, but impresses a high ranking manager. Determined to be a star in the makeup world, he uses every opportunity to achieve success. At the same time, his mother is laid off from her job and his sister’s boyfriend bullies Carlos and starts hitting the sister. Comfortable with the knowledge he is gay motivates Carlos to make overtures to a friend at school who is a talented photographer, in the hope that they can develop their friendship into a more serious relationship.
By the end of the book Carlos realizes he needs to hold onto his dreams even while using better judgment and being more responsible. Narrated by Carlos in a breezy first person voice, this book brings the reader directly into Carlos’ world, complete with all the drama of a high energy high school boy focused on attaining a longed for goal. The reader does not need to be familiar with fashion, makeup or popular culture to appreciate the story.
Review by Ms. Goldstein-Erickson