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Philip Charles Barragan II
In a dystopian America of the not-too-distant future, the Office of Size Compliance (OSC) claims there is a national food shortage and Congress has enacted the Endomorphic Laws in its war on obesity. It is now a crime for citizens to have Body Mass Indices of 30 or more. Fast food, eating in public restaurants, contraband back-alley breads, butter and meats, and fried chicken and desserts are felonies for the obese, and pre-programmed grocery carts direct oversized shoppers to spend their grocery allotments on federally-sanctioned foods produced by the OSC. ‘Fatizen’ felons are imprisoned in Calorie Camps or sent to Psychogenic Re-Integration – or worse – while families are torn apart, and parents sell their children with the ‘deviant condition’ of obesity. This debut novel declares that ‘Fat is not a four-letter word’ in a big way. The fast-paced plot is action-packed and driven by its unforgettable characters. By turns poignant and graphic, this is a story that is unnervingly close to home even today. Secret, grisly technology drives the world of the OSC as the fatizens’ rebel underground works to contain the worst of the Dietary Guard Patrol. Author Philip Barragan takes us full-tilt into a profound civil rights issue, and, of necessity, the subject matter, violence and language have sharp edges and may be uncomfortable for some readers. But that’s the point. Barragan’s searing, thought-provoking dialogue and Mason Arrigo’s complex and arresting illustrations together serve up a warning about tolerance and acceptance: the future is not all that far away. ‘Fatizen’ Delilah Palladino has found a secure channel to impart an important message and the time to pay attention is now.