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Putting Makeup on the Fat Boy
Cover of Putting Makeup on the Fat Boy
Putting Makeup on the Fat Boy
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In this spirited exploration of strength and personality, a fabulous NYC teen knows hes destined for greatnessif only he can survive his first job. Carlos Duarte knows that hes fabulous. Hes got a...
In this spirited exploration of strength and personality, a fabulous NYC teen knows hes destined for greatnessif only he can survive his first job. Carlos Duarte knows that hes fabulous. Hes got a...
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Description-

  • In this spirited exploration of strength and personality, a fabulous NYC teen knows hes destined for greatnessif only he can survive his first job.

    Carlos Duarte knows that hes fabulous. Hes got a better sense of style than half the fashionistas in New York City, and he can definitely apply makeup like nobodys business. He may only be in high school, but when he lands the job of his dreamsmakeup artist at the FeatureFace counter in Macyshe's sure that hes finally on his way to great things.
    But the makeup artist world is competitive and cutthroat, and for Carlos to reach his dreams, he'll have to believe in himself more than ever.

Excerpts-

  • From the book

    When I was twelve, I convinced my mother to let me do her makeup for Parents' Night. When I was finished, my sister, Rosalia, who was fifteen, said, "Ma, aren't ya even gonna say anything?"

    Ma said to me, "All right, so it looks nice, Carlos. But I don't think I should be encouraging something like this. I'm not gonna go to your school and tell your teacher, 'See my face! Isn't it pretty? My son did my makeup. Didn't he do an excellent job?"

    Rosalia asked, "Why not?"

    Ma said, "You know why not! Don't make me say it."

    Rosalia put her hands on her hips. "You know what, Ma? Carlos is talented, that's what he is. He's probably gonna be famous one day for being so talented, and you should be happy he can do something this good so young!"

    After Ma went to Parents' Night, Rosalia and I went to McDonald's. Rosalia told me again she thought I was talented and that I was gonna be famous. I asked her to buy me an extra bag of chocolate chip cookies and an all-chocolate sundae to prove she really meant it.

  • By the time I got to Sojourner Truth/John F. Kennedy Freedom High School, I knew if other people could get paid as makeup artists, I could too. I already had a job after school being an assistant to all the teachers in a day care program. I didn't love my job, but I did love being able to go shopping for makeup at Little Ricky's on Thirteenth Street, where they had the wildest stuff. I'd run home, lock my bedroom door, and try it out immediately. Sitting on the side of my bed, studying my face in my two-sided makeup mirror (one for normal view, one for super-close-up) was like school after school. It was me practicing the thing that I knew would make me famous someday.

    No matter what any of them said, the girls at school had to admit I was an expert. And the boys who got away with eyeliner because they were supposedly rockers even asked me for tips on how to put it on straight. I was really happy to tell them, because crooked eyeliner is so whack, it makes me nuts.

    My friend Angie suggested, "Carlos, now that you're sixteen, you should come to Macy's and try to get a part-time job at a makeup counter." She worked there on Saturdays and she bugged me from the beginning of school in September. "You have to go and apply for a job before the holidays. That's when they need all the help they can get. I bet you could work for any company you wanted--Chanel, Bobbi Brown, Dolce & Gabbana. Any of them."

    I know it sounds like I'm exaggerating, but the idea of it made me stop breathing for . . . well, a few seconds at least. I don't know why I hadn't thought of it first. I guess I'd only pictured doing Mary J. Blige's makeup before a concert, or maybe Rihanna's, or taking a month off from school to go on tour with Janet Jackson because she insisted if she didn't have me she couldn't do the tour. I hadn't thought about working at a department store.

    Even though I was sure of what I could do, I thought working for Macy's was a long shot, a fantasy that was nice to talk and dream about, but soooo unlikely.

    I asked her, "Angie, do you think a big, famous store like Macy's would really hire me? I don't have any professional experience."

    And good old Angie said, "Honey, all we have to do is get you an application. Then we'll come up with a fake rÉsumÉ. We'll put my cell number on it. When they call, I'll answer, 'Greenberg's Department Store' and tell them, 'Carlos Duarte? You'd be lucky to get him! He's fabulous!'"

    Angie worked on the tenth floor in the Linens department at Macy's. But selling pillowcases and Martha Stewart sheet sets didn't mean she knew a whole lot about how they...

About the Author-

  • Bil Wright is an award-winning novelist and playwright. His novels include Putting Makeup on the Fat Boy (Lambda Literary Award and American Library Association Stonewall Book Award), the highly acclaimed When the Black Girl Sings (Junior Library Guild selection), and the critically acclaimed Sunday You Learn How to Box. His plays include Bloodsummer Rituals, based on the life of poet Audre Lorde (Jerome Fellowship), and Leave Me a Message (San Diego Human Rights Festival premiere). He is the Librettist for This One Girl's Story (GLAAD nominee) and the winner of a LAMI (La Mama Playwriting Award). An associate professor of English at CUNY, Bil Wright lives in New York City. Visit him at ...

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    May 16, 2011
    Wright (When the Black Girl Sings) gives voice, complexity, and heart to the kind of character often relegated to a cliché sidekick role. Sixteen-year-old Carlos Duarte's dream is to become a famous makeup artist ("I've had subscriptions to Vogue and Harper's Bazaar since I was fourteen... so I knew what I was doing was beyond genius"). His considerable skills land him a plum job working the FeatureFace Cosmetics counter at Macy's, despite the reservations of manager Valentino. It's not long before Valentino and Carlos clash, and things at home are tough as well: Carlos's mother has lost her job, and his older sister is getting abused by her boyfriend, who is also harassing Carlos for being gay. Carlos's single-minded drive for success leaves some casualties in his wake (as when a $300 borrowed pair of "beyond incredible" boots are damaged when he's assaulted), but his big heart, optimism, and powers of persuasion are infectious. And given the very realistic harassment Carlos regularly suffers, those attributes are a survival skill, too. He's a walking example of the inner strength teens need—regardless of their sexuality. Ages 12–up.

  • School Library Journal

    July 1, 2011

    Gr 8 Up-Carlos Duarte, 16, has tremendous confidence. He does what he does and makes few apologies-and what he does best is makeup. The teen is fearless in his determination to realize his dream of becoming a makeup artist to the stars. His first job is at the FeatureFace counter, the premiere makeup company in Macy's flagship store. He is sure that this job will launch him into the stratosphere of fame, but pride and ambition cause him to take action without considering the consequences. Carlos struggles to develop a sense of accountability, and making his life more difficult are his sister's abusive boyfriend and his own one-sided crush on a boy in school. Readers will simultaneously root for and marvel at this fascinating character, though their support will be tested by his mean-spirited comments. Unfortunately, Carlos tends to overwhelm the plot and the other characters, who fall a little flat in his shadow. It is a relief that Wright does not give the story a tidy ending, opting instead to leave a few strands untied. After all, Carlos still has places to go.-Naphtali L. Faris, Youth Services Consultant, Missouri State Library, Jefferson City, MO

    Copyright 2011 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Kirkus

    May 15, 2011

    Carlos, 16 and fabulous, just knows he's going to be famous.

    Cocky but playful--"I had just the slightest touch of color in my cheeks. I'd given myself a manicure. I looked beyond excellent!"--Carlos strides purposefully toward his goal: Makeup artist to the stars. Zipping around Manhattan, he obtains employment with a hip, prestigious cosmetics company in Macy's and nabs a position working for the star of a Saturday Night Live equivalent. His campy voice ("seriously gorgeous bootay. Tight and round and perched, honey, perched!") turns bitchy sometimes. He also needs to learn accountability for his actions: Macy's makeup really can't leave the store before being paid for, no matter how famous the star requesting it, and Stella McCartney boots begged from a friend must be returned pristine. Carlos loses that friend but narrowly saves his job; he also fights his sister's abuser (who calls Carlos "maricón") and strains for dignity when a kind but clueless straight boy tells Carlos to his face that he doesn't return his crush. Wright's occasionally flashy but mostly straightforward (often even clunky) prose should work equally well for bookish and non-bookish readers; the excellent treatment of a gay, Latino teen is marred only by ruthless slamming of fat friend Angie.

    He may step on some toes along the way, but this fat boy's going places. (Fiction. 11-15)

    (COPYRIGHT (2011) KIRKUS REVIEWS/NIELSEN BUSINESS MEDIA, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.)

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    Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
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