Hi fellow bookworms!
This week’s book review is about The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend. I’m sure you’ll have heard of this book – the film (starring Mae Whitman, Robbie Amell, Bella Thorne, Skyler Samuels and Allison Janney) was released earlier this year.
Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is cynical and loyal, and she doesn’t think she’s the prettiest of her friends by a long shot. She’s also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush. In fact, Bianca hates him. And when he nicknames her “Duffy,” she throws her Coke in his face.
But things aren’t so great at home right now. Desperate for a distraction, Bianca ends up kissing Wesley. And likes it. Eager for escape, she throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with Wesley.
Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out that Wesley isn’t such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she’s falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone.
SLIGHT SPOILER ALERT!!!
I’ll admit that The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend wasn’t high up on my TBR list. However, after finding out that the book was going to be made into a movie, I instantly added it to my Amazon shopping basket. This proved to be a bit pointless as I ended up watching the film first anyway. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the film, and was relieved to see that the ebook version of The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend had been reduced to only 99p (it has since gone up).
One thing I noticed whilst reading The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend is how different it is to the film (though that is kinda inevitable with book-to-movie adaptations). For a start, Madison, portrayed by Bella Thorne, is such a major character in the film, yet in the book she barely appears. The directors also changed a lot about Bianca’s family. Annoying, if you ask me. It’s one of the main subplots in the book.
Anyway, The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend is about Bianca, a teenager who is in the middle of a night out with her friends when the most manwhore-ish guy in the school comes up to her and calls her ‘The DUFF’. Unsurprisingly, Bianca has absolutely no idea what this term means (I didn’t either, until I first came across this book in my local bookshop a few years ago), so naturally she asks the guy (who is called Wesley Rush) to explain. Turns out that ‘DUFF’ stands for ‘Designated Ugly Fat Friend’, and apparently there’s one in every friendship group. A DUFF is someone who is funny, but rarely has any admirers.
Bianca, the protagonist in The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend, is the epitome of this term. Her best friends Casey and Jess may attract all the male attention, but Bianca is just average and boys like Wesley use her to get close to her friends. The cheek! Bianca herself is bitter and cynical. She detests things like Prom and Wesley and Valentine’s Day and Wesley. In that way, Bianca reminds me of Kat from 10 Things I Hate About You (the film). Bianca is a relatable character – I’m sure we all feel invisible compared to our friends at some point.
Bianca may be hilarious, but she is also quite annoying and keeps contradicting herself. One minute she’s calling Wesley “the most disgusting womanizing playboy to ever darken the doorstep of Hamilton High”, then the next she’s eating his face off. Erm, ok then…I also didn’t like that Bianca ditched her friends for Wesley, a.k.a “a real piece…of horn dog s***”. I know she’s confused about her feelings for him, and doesn’t want anyone to know the truth, but still…she’s supposed to be loyal! And why would you fall for someone who calls you fat and ugly anyway?! Well, Bianca and Wesley are definitely polar opposites, but they both have pretty screwed-up home lives, and that’s what connects them. I’m not really keen on Wesley – he’s so egoistic and arrogant – but he does apologise for calling Bianca ‘the DUFF’ (and even writes a love letter to her!). You can tell that there is a sweet guy somewhere inside him; he isn’t just rich and popular.
If you have time, I’d recommend reading The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend. It’s a laugh-out-loud comedy that will keep you entertained for a few hours (or however long it takes you to read it). The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend is an easy read (though I will point out that it is a bit inappropriate for younger readers), and you’ll whizz through it, just like I did.