Pudge and Prejudice

Reviewed by:

Elizabeth Molitor from Canton, MI, a Professional Writing student at Taylor University in Upland, IN.



Pudge and Prejudice


A.K. Pittman


Tyndale House


Publication Date:

January 12, 2021.


Print book


338 pages


I think we can all agree that high school is hard enough with all those raging hormones and endless homework assignments. Add moving to a different state, body image issues, and boys on top of it, and you have a recipe for one heck of a sophomore year.

Enter our heroine, Elyse Nebitt, the witty bookish, music-loving second-born of five girls. After Mr. Nebitt takes a job that lands his family in Northenfield, Texas, Elyse prepares to face a new academic year along with a new school full of unfamiliar faces. Well, except for her older sister, Jayne, the only person allowed to use Elyse’s childhood nickname, Pudge. That might have been the end of the story if not for the appearance of Charlie Bingley and his snobbish friend, a boy bearing the unfortunate name of Billy Fitz. By the time the boys finish helping the family move in, Jayne and Charlie might as well be a couple. Billy on the other hand makes it evident he is less than thrilled to be there and impatient to leave. You can probably guess where this story is headed, or can you?

I thoroughly enjoyed A. K. Pittman’s rendering of Pride and Prejudice. Elyse has such a fun personable voice that had me chuckling from start to finish. As a Millennial, I also enjoyed becoming immersed in 1980s American culture, even if I didn’t understand all of the references. Speaking of culture, can I just go on a little rant about what an amazing job Pittman did developing the setting? If there’s one thing the community of Northenfield values, it’s football, and with Billy Fitz leading the team, victory is pretty much guaranteed. Throw in some school dances, pep rallies, local scandals, and did I mention football? Granted, it was a little cheesy at some points, but my desire to find out how Pittman would put her own spin on this classic story kept me turning the pages.

My main issue with this story is the topic of body image. In some ways I feel like Pittman did not dig deep enough with this theme. She gives little snippets throughout the story. Elyse often feels self-conscious about the way her body looks when she moves, and she is teased and sometimes insulted outright by other kids. Even her own mother hints that she could afford to lose a few pounds. Most of all, Elyse’s appearance becomes a barrier between herself and Billy Fitz. Then there were other moments where Elyse seemed perfectly comfortable in her own skin, until this lengthy discussion between her and Jayne about halfway through the book. Suddenly all the insecurities came pouring out, like we jumped from zero to sixty. Bottom line: I think Elyse’s struggle with body image could have been developed more to solidify that topic as a theme.

Overall, this was an enjoyable light-hearted read. Plus, it was clean, so I count that as a bonus. So, if you’re into Jane Austen, retellings, the 1980s, or all of the above, consider picking up a copy of A. K. Pittman’s Pudge and Prejudice.


Rating: 4 out of 5

Suggested Audience

14 years and up.

Christian Impact

Personally, I did not feel like my faith was greatly impacted by reading this book. Pittman mentions the Nebbits attend church, and Elyse and Jayne go to small group on Wednesdays. Elyse struggles to reconcile her appearance with the truth that God sees her as His beautiful creation. When Elyse declares she’s fat, Jayne insists that is a lie from the devil. Beyond this, faith does not seem to play a role in Elyse’s life, or the story for that matter. Christianity is sprinkled in here and there, but it feels like an afterthought. Perhaps if Elyse had come to a place where she accepted the truth that outward beauty is not the most important thing in life, it would have been more meaningful.

Pudge and Prejudice

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