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Obesity Wars-bookcover

By: Saskia van Ryn

Obesity Wars

Pages: 250 Ratings: 4.6
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If the world turned its back on your best friend for being fat, would you turn your back on him too?

At a time when the obesity problem is headlining at world health conventions, one small nation struggles to find solutions to the rising cost of healthcare. Campaigning on promises to clamp down on obesity, Shape Up – led by the charismatic William Tanner – claims a landslide victory. Honouring its campaign promises, laws targeting fat people are swiftly introduced. Government obesity squads – the GO squads - roam the streets in black vans with a license to enforce the laws by any means, whipping up violence towards fat people.

Teenagers Monty and Levi have been best friends since kindergarten. Levi is smart, funny and loyal – he’s also obese. As the obesity laws become harsher and fat people increasingly disaffected, Monty begins to resent his friend, eventually disowning him. When Levi is brutally beaten by the neighbourhood bullies, Monty hardens himself to the injustice, blaming Levi for not doing more to lose weight.

But when Levi disappears, Monty realises that something more sinister is at play. Recruited to an underground anti-government organisation, Monty seizes the opportunity to fight back in the hopes of finding his friend and restoring balance in a society gone mad.

Saskia van Ryn grew up hearing stories about war and has drawn on her parents’ experiences of fear, oppression and betrayal as inspiration for her first book—Obesity Wars. She started writing in her teens, but it wasn’t until she was drowning in nappies that she rekindled her love of storytelling and began writing again. Saskia lives and works in New Zealand with her husband and three sons.

Customer Reviews
10 reviews
10 reviews
  • Grazza

    Really original. Great book and it struck a chord. I was a fat kid who got a hard time. A lot of people would relate. Worth reading

  • Rosita

    I was highly impressed by this book. From the very first page the book caught my attention. Captivating and definitely a page turner.

    "A very powerful story for people to question how they treat other people" - being stigmatized due to weight, racism, colour, religion or gender etc
    is not acceptable.

    A story that is confronting, emotional and sad.

    A well written novel well worth reading.

  • Brigit

    This is a compelling, suspenseful, and important read about a dystopia that is all too recognisable as our own country (NZ). I put it alongside the Lord of the Flies and Sleeping Dogs. It begins with everyday bullying and ends in tragedy. The focus is on obesity – but it could easily have been some other characteristic that people can be made to feel bad about.
    It’s easy to like Monty, a compassionate, impetuous teenage boy whose conflicts and convictions guide the story. Readers experience his loyalty to his obese friend, his own revulsion at Levi’s obesity – and his courage.
    I take from this the importance of never seeking approval because this disempowers us at source – and the importance of the fact that the grandparent, who is a retired news photographer, tells the story.
    The story is set in trusting times when the White Pages were used. The denouement relies on outrage generated by the power of mainstream news media. Today our collective sense of what’s right and wrong does not get explored, developed, or expressed, let alone acted upon in the same way. This is where we are now: Bullying in all forms and all instances must be our personal responsibility to defeat at source. Read this book.

  • Casa

    Obesity is all around us! This well written book expresses the hardships of friendship, obesity and bullying.
    A must read!

  • Jacqui

    A page turner to the unpredictable end, this book has all the necessary elements of an entertaining read - intrigue, suspense and credible characters - and the context, when viewed as metaphorical, adds gravitas.

  • Lindy Mac

    What a great story. Wanted to keep turning the page to see how it was going to unfold. Characters with depth and realistic. Well written.

  • Chloe baker

    The storyline was very in-depth and interesting to read. Thought it was very wholesome as the friendship between the two boys grew and went through their obstacles together.

  • Emma

    I loved this book! It's a real page-turner with pace, great characters and narrative flair. The 'story within a story' works really well, keeping you guessing till the end. The themes are very relevant. Also loved how it subverts expectations, especially around the true role of the hero. Highly recommended!

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