The Cat Ate My Gymsuit

The Cat Ate My Gymsuit

by Paula Danziger, Ann M. Martin

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A modern classic with issues that will be relevant always.

Marcy's life is a mess. Her parents don't understand her, she feelslike a fat blimp with no friends, and her favorite teacher just got fired. Ms. Finney wasn't like the other teachers, and she was helping Marcy feel good about being herself. Now that she's gone, Marcy doesn't know what to do. She's always thought things would be better if she could just lose weight, but the loss of Ms. Finney sparks something inside her. She decides to join the fight to bring back her teacher, and in doing so, she discovers that her voice might matter more than she ever realized.


Paula Danziger’s novels are hilarious, genuine, and full of dynamic female characters that have won the hearts of her readers and turned her books into beloved classics. These playful covers full of charming details capture the spirit of Paula’s stories and will brighten up the book­shelves of her fans and a new generation of readers.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781101665824
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date: 03/23/2006
Series: Puffin Modern Classics
Sold by: Penguin Group
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 176
File size: 1 MB
Age Range: 10 Years

About the Author

About the author:

Paula Danziger was a flamboyantly funny and deeply honest writer who had a direct line into kids’ hearts and funny bones. She passed away in 2004. 

About the introducer:

Introduction by Ann Martin, award-winning author of A Corner of the Universe, Rain Reign , and the bestselling Babysitters Club series.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"Marcy, an intelligent and enjoyable adolescent, is an appealing heroine."—School Library Journal

"Ms. Danziger has an attractive style; her prose sparkles with wit and originality."—Publishers Weekly

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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The Cat Ate My Gymsuit 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 32 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
She's fat ,unsure of herself, and has no self confindence and she know it! Her name is Marcy Lewis and she is 14 along with being the main charecter in this book,''the cat ate my gymsuit''. the big question is 'how does this relate to a gymsuit?' Since Marcy has no self confidence and absoloutly WILL NOT get undressed in front of her classmates. So she makes up lame excuses like the cat ate my gymnsuit or the people who excapped from jail stole it. On top of all that her father is extreamly strict from being a lawyer and brings work home with him. He is always blaming stuff on her and calling her fat. then comes along Ms.Finney who is the English teacher who helps the students about self confidence and how to express feelings. But when Mr.Stone fires Ms.Finney for not saying the pledge,the students take charge, they love Ms.Finney and will do any thing to get her back . And i mean ANYTHING. the good part is when a cute boy named joel who likes marcy for her thoughts wants to be friends starting by the protest makes marcy have more self confident (recommended for 10-15 year olds)
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book makes me feel good abut my self
francescadefreitas on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was over-recommended to me as a child, and I deliberately avoided it, even though I'd enjoyed a few books by the same author. I think I would have enjoyed it then more than I did now, reading it as an adult.Marcy Lewis lives with a doormat mother, an abusive father, no confidence in her friends, a weight problem, and a significant lack of confidence. When a new English teacher has Marcy's class looking at themselves and asking questions about life, Marcy finds a voice, and starts making new friends. The school administration, unhappy with the unorthodox teaching methods, suspends the beloved Ms. Finney, and Marcy comes out from hiding to stand up for what she believes is right. Marcy is an interesting character, and she felt very alive to me. But her family situation was so horrible, and yet so clichéd, that I kept losing my grip on the story, reacting to it as a historic artefact rather than a piece of fiction. In the evening, Marcy's mother greets her father at the door with a drink, he says that we works hard to support the family, he shouldn't have to talk to them as well. I think that the strong characters and realistic relationships (especially between Marcy and her little brother, and Marcy and her mother) make this novel rise above the standard problem novel, but I just couldn't suspend disbelief enough. As a 10-13-year-old, I would have bought it much better.I'd give this to fans of realistic stories, not looking for a big romantic sub plot, and also to readers interested in civil rights and student activism. It is also an example of how family abuse can be entirely non-physical, that emotional neglect can be as harmful as violence.
elizabethholloway on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
What a disappointment this book was! I¿ve seen it since elementary school and always wanted to read it. Now, though, I have to say this book will not stand the test of time. Marcy is in ninth grade, overweight, and feels ugly. The she meets this cool English teacher who changes her life. This teacher wears a macrame necklace and studies Marshall McLuhan. She asks students about their feelings and has a self-actualization group after school. But all this touchy-feely stuff is too much for the school administration. The cool English teacher is suspended and Marcy discovers inner strength and self-confidence as she fights for her favorite teacher.Many of the themes are universal--self-image, a special teacher, a disfunctional family. But the story itself is dated. The principal's daughter has run off to a commune. Marcy's assertiveness inspires her mom to think about woman's lib. Her mom might even dare to work outside the home! Moreover, the characters are pretty one-dimensional. Marcy's mom is passive, her brother is loving, and her dad is so overbearing and psychologically abusive, it's a wonder the family stays together. The book is geared for grades 5 to 8, but I would not recommend it.
kgriffith on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Danziger's writing captures the essence of teenage girls better than anyone else's that I've read and can recall. Her characters are brilliantly developed, which brings you deep into the heart of each subplot and makes the outcomes truly important to you. This book can comfort - and perhaps even encourage - any young woman whose self-image is less-than-stellar, particularly if her home life is a contributing factor.
PhoebeReading on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Warning: this review might make me sound like an old person.I couldn't help but read The Cat Ate My Gymsuit with a bit of wistfulness. Though the characters, voice, and situations likely still remain true to life, I suspect that there just isn't a place for books like Danziger's in the current world of children's and young adult writing.It's the story of Marcy, a fat middle schooler whose horizons are opened up by her new hippie teacher, Ms. Finney. Ms. Finney encourages her students to be in touch with their feelings--a radical concept for many of these small town kids who grew up in a world without Mister Rogers. When the teacher's radical politics and teaching style get her fired, Marcy and her friends decide to try some "radical" (for the time) tactics of their own.But what's notable about this book isn't necessarily the central driving plot, which is undeniably dated and is unlikely to resonate with modern teenagers. What's notable is Marcy, and her family. The misunderstood oldest child of a cowed house wife and verbally abusive father, Marcy relates her home life in a way that feels incredibly true-to-life. Interchanges between Marcy and her younger brother, and Marcy and her mother (particularly conversations about her mother's budding feminism) are really truly touching.Unfortunately, I just think that the niche for this sort of book has been supplanted. Marcy and her friends are undeniably teenagers, and deal tangentially with teen issues (peer pressure around drinking, first dates), but the voice--while well-rendered--is incredibly simplistic, as is the plot. The length and development are more akin to a modern low middle grade book than something that teenagers would want to read. For all its strengths, I couldn't help but close the cover and think "Who would read this?" Sadly, the only answer I could conjure was "nostalgic adults."
4sarad on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The main character in this book is in the 9th grade, but I feel like this book is for a much lower reading level than that. I thought the book was rather boring and definitely too old fashioned for most readers today (speaking about listening to rock records and going to a party in a purple pants suit). Overall I didn't care for it.
gbartlett on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Marcy Lewis is overweight. Her father dominates their family. She has a very low opinion of herself and she hates gym. Then Ms. Barbara Finney arrives as her English teacher. She is young, innovative and caring. She involves the students in learning as well as starting a group for students to discuss their feelings and get to know themselves better. Marcy begins to learn more about herself and to feel better about herself. She is enjoying school and making friends. Then, Ms. Finney is fired. The students decide to support her and organize themselves to help her. Marcy and her friend Joel are major leaders in the attempts to support Ms. Finney. During the time between the firing and the hearing, Marcy and her mother both grow in their confidence and understanding of each other. Marcy stops eating to compensate for her failure. She becomes a leader and finds the courage to speak up both to her father and to the principal. Ms. Finney is reinstated, but realizes she won't be an effective teacher in the district and resigns. Marcy and Joel feel they have been let down, but their parents help them realize that her position would have been impossible. Throughout the process, Marcy learns to think for herself, stand up for herself, and make her own decisions. She also has her first date and her first kiss, but she still hates gym.
RGQuimby on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Clever and funny. A good example of a fallible heroine. Slightly dated (references to "grass" and the emerging feminist movement) but still appealing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
OMG,I READ THIS BOOK AND I FELL IN LOVE WITH IT!!!!!!! The story is about a 13yr old overweight freshmen girl named "Marcy Lewis".Marcy does not like her appearence and her acne problems.She has a verbally abusive father and it seems her parents, Martin and Lily, are always fighting. Her dad doesn't make her feel good about her excuses that result in her failing gym for the year;and he makes her not feel good about herself. Marcy refuses to take gym due to her insecurity over her large physique. Marcy has only one friend,Nancy Sheridan.Nancy later admits she was Marcy's friend only because her mother told her to be,as both of their mothers were friends and participated in the PTA. Later on,Nancy grows to like Marcy as a good friend. However as Nancy was very popular Marcy sometimes got jealous of her. There is then,a techer named "Ms.Finney," and she arranges a club for the kids to get to know each other better, and help them feel good about theirselves.Marcy has made alot good friends through this club.She even meets a boy who seems to be attracted to her;Joel Anderson,whose attorney father works with the Board of Education.Then one day, the principal comes to observe Ms.Finney.She teaches the material well, but the same teaching techniques that work for the kids by Ms. Finney are abhorred by the school administrators. Ms.Finney got fired because she does not sat the pledge.The reason she doesn't is because she doesn't think that the world offers liberty and justice for all.Ms.Finney shouldn't have gotten fired for something she believes in. Marcy and her friends suddenly find themselves coming to Ms.Finney's defense when she is threatened with the loss of her job.Marcy even stands up to her father one day.Ms.Finney brings a legal case against her firing;once in court some of her students speak in her defense.Ms. Finney also brings up the legal case for refusing to say the school Pledge of Allegiance.The school board reluctantly reinstates her,but Ms.Finney,is now realizing that she would be going back into an impossible situation,immediately resigns.Marcy and her friends feel betrayed,but come to understand her reasons,as they eventually use her lessons as they move forward in life.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I first read this book back in elementary school. I was a bit sheltered (but then many children of the '80s were ha!) and was shocked by the verbal abuse the character of Marcy was forced to endure! It was a bit strong worded for a novel that was aimed at older children. Lines like "How did I get a kid that is so stupid and so fat?! I'll never get you married off!" were extremely harsh for literature for this age group, I thought. The book did do a very good job delving into the mind of a troubled teen though. The book is a bit *dated* though, it delves into talk of 'hippies' and communes, and early women's liberation issues that no longer exist in those forms. And while the wife FINALLY getting some nerve to stand up to her husband was really great, the ending falls flat. I didn't even usually agree with the character of Ms. Finney. Perhaps she could say she doesn't want to say the Pledge, but she should dress like a teacher, and most importantly should follow the rules of where she works (the grading issues)! That's your JOB! She was supposed to be a good role model for the teens, and I didn't think she was. The decision to leave at the end was a disappointment I thought, an awful way to end a downbeat book. It needed a happy ending!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
The cat ate my Gymsuit By Paula Danzige Well this novel to me was a very Intriguing novel, funny but had its moments if that¿s fair to say. This novel is about a young girl that happened to be very fat. The big girls name is Marcy Lewis, she is a very confused girl well not confused but distraught she hates practically everything she hates her father, she hates school she hates her principle and most of all she hates being fat. One of the only reason that she hates her principle is because he fired her favorite teacher which was the only real human-being that had any influence on her or tried to talk positive to her. The name of her school is Dwight D. Eisenhower middle school. The reason that I say she is very distraught is because she is only thirteen and she is in the ninth grade and having to deal with all this. She is to young to be dealing with all that to me. So I the place of the English teacher they hired a sub for the English teacher and it was very funny how they tried to do the sub they were just basically trying to give the sub a hard time but in the end it came out that they end ed up really like the sub. But what I really liked out of the book was the impact that the author made the teacher have on the students she like really made them think and believe in something and actually stand up for that and that¿s what I think more teachers need to do. So in the end I think that this was a good book and should be read to try and inspire kids to stand up for what they believe in. Carl Phillips 3/6/06 per 1
Guest More than 1 year ago
Marcy Lewis, the main character in the novel ¿The cat ate my gymsuit¿ she is an overweight teen that also has problems at home with her dad. In this book Marcy struggles to find confidence in herself, but with the help of a new English teacher Ms. Finney she starts to see improvements in herself. Marcy soon looks forward to going to Ms. Finney¿s class then one day one Ms. Finney was not in class because she doesn¿t recite the pledge and her teaching styles were disapproved by the district. Marcy and some school friends that dearly adored Ms. Finney got together a protest to get Ms. Finney back in the classroom. While putting this protest together Marcy got close to a Boy name Joel, they soon started to go out but because of Marcy¿s dad not likening that they soon broke up. Joel and Marcy still stayed good friends.Marcy has a very poor relationship with her father, she dislikes the way her father treats her and her mother. Marcy feels that her father dose not allow her or her mother to believe in what they think is right. I think this book was a very positive because it allows you to see a god in yourself and also to see well in others. I would definitely recommend this book to other people to ready because of it positive influences. By reading this book i was also able too see that many teens have bigger isseus than you.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I bought this book because it's a part of Puffin's Modern Classic for Children. I thought this would introduce me to outstanding literary titles for kids. I was a bit disappointed by what I've read; or maybe YA/ Children's Literature in the U.S. have developed rapidly (this book was originally published in the `80s). 1. The characters are not fully developed esp. the main character and her father; 2. the concern of the kid like pimples and obesity are not exactly original and new these days; 3. im disappointed by political stand of the English teacher in the story (it left me hanging; im not satisfied with her decision to resign after the kids lobby for her reinstatement); 4. the roles of the protagonist's family are stereotypical; 5. the 'romance' substory is not really promising and not cute either (they are so uptight!); 6. the whole storyline is not original or maybe, maybe, this is the pioneering novel using obesity, self-esteem, mentor-student relationship, (verbally) abusive father as topics. Read the book itself--it took me only half of the day to finish. It's readable but i kept asking for more.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought that The Cat Ate My Gymsuit was a great book about a girl standing up for something she believes in. I'm happy that Marcy changed from Ms. Finney's teaching and stood up for her rights. She really proved that hardwork can pay off. I thought her dad was really mean and I was praying that the mom would divorce him, oh well. The relationship between Marcy and Joel was so cute, the way Joel didn't care about looks and just wanted Marcy to be his friend. Marcy changed throughout the book and it was nice to see her so confident! I would recommend this book to everyone!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the best book ever written! I absolutly loved the whole thing. I read it in 5th grade and now I re-read it again in the summer of 7th-8th grade. I recomended it to all of my friends. Marcy is just like me and how I felt and I think many girls who are ages 10-15 years old will enjoy this book very much! I also loved the sequel There's a Bat in Bunk 5
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was sad in a way for me and maybe funny on and off. I read this book when i wa in the third grade. I just could not put the book down.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Marcy is a fat whiner. I can't stand this book. There is little reason to read this book unless you're in the same situation as Marcy. A teacher comes to Marcy's school and helps her with her self esteem. Everbody likes her (the teacher.) Then the teacher gets in trouble. Of course Marcy crawles out of her shell to help the teacher. The only thing in this book that was close to good was the end, and even that wasn't good. Basicly, the whole mood of the book is 'pity me and do want I want or I'll hate you.' Want a good modern book? Try some of James Howe's stuff.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was always wandering how will look like conflict between students and school's principal? What will be happen? This novel is exatcly about that. The main character Marcy Lewis and couple of her friends were in one bad conflict with their principal. That's all happened because their favorite teacher Ms. Finney got suspended by Mr. Stone, school's principal. They just were couple of USA's teenagers who cared a lot for their teacher. Author Paula Danziger write this autobiographical fiction novel, about Marcy's life which is totaly changed when in their school came new English teacher, to show everybody what are students ready to do for their teacher. This book is amazing. I was really enjoying and had a good time reading it and I think that all students should read it because it is good, interesting, easy and little bit fun novel. First of all after I read this book I learned that no matter how I look or what I'm wearing I still can find good friends in school.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was always wondering how will look like conflict between students and school principal? What will be happen? This novel is exactly about that. The main character Marcy Lewis and couple of her friends were in bad conflict with their school principal. That all happens because their favorite teacher, Ms.Finney got suspended by Mr.Stone the school principal. They just were couple of USA's 70's teenagers who cared a lot for their teacher. Author Paula Danziger writes this autobiographical fiction novel 'The Cat Ate My Gymsuit,' about Marcy's life,which is totally changed when in their school ,came new English teacher,to show everybody what are students ready to do for their teacher. This book is amazing.I really enjoying and I had a good time reading it and I think that all students should read it because it is good,interesting,easy and a little bit fun novel.First of all after I read this book I lerned that mo mather how I look and what I'm wearing,or what language I speak,I still can find a good friends in school.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Have you ever meet a teacher that you really liked and then she was gone? Well that what happened to Marcy Lewis. She is a teenaged girl in Dwight D. Eisenhower Junior High School. Marcy really doesn't give herself a lot of credit becasue she thinks she is a blimp. One day in English class Marcy got a new teacher, and her name was Ms.Finney. Marcy liked her and because of it she made new friend named Joel that she really liked. Marcy also had Nancy as a friend too. One Day Ms.Finney was gone. Joel found out that she was susespended. Marcy, Joel, Nancy all got susespended for protesting. Will Ms.Finney come back or will she get fired? Paula Danziger writing The Ate My Gymsuit made it a realitic fiction book. Marcy Lewis changed and for the better.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am Eric a 4th grade student,this book is part of my summer reading entering 5th grade,it took me two days to read it and understanding it,and I like it very much. It also teaches you not to be afraid of who you are it changes my self esteem.