restricted access The Biggest Loser: Mercer Mayer’s Little Critter Series, the Queer Art of Failure, and the American Obsession with Achievement

This essay spotlights the many mistakes, setbacks, and blunders that Mercer Mayer’s Little Critter experiences in various narratives throughout the series. Drawing on Judith Halberstam’s notion of “the queer art of failure,” it argues that these disappointments can paradoxically be seen as successes. The errors that Little Critter makes routinely lead him to new discoveries and accomplishments, many of which are even more fulfilling than his initial goal. In so doing, Mayer’s series offers a compelling critique of the American obsession with achievement.