Growing up in the suburban hell of Misery Saga (a.k.a. Read more...
Growing up in the suburban hell of Misery Saga (a.k.a. Mississauga), Lizzie has never liked the way she looks--even though her best friend Mel says she's the pretty one. She starts dating guys online, but she's afraid to send pictures, even when her skinny friend China does her makeup: she knows no one would want her if they could really see her. So she starts to lose. With punishing drive, she counts almonds consumed, miles logged, pounds dropped. She fights her way into coveted dresses. She grows up and gets thin, navigating double-edged validation from her mother, her friends, her husband, her reflection in the mirror. But no matter how much she loses, will she ever see herself as anything other than a fat girl? In her brilliant, hilarious, and at times shocking debut, Mona Awad simultaneously skewers the body image-obsessed culture that tells women they have no value outside their physical appearance, and delivers a tender and moving depiction of a lovably difficult young woman whose life is hijacked by her struggle to conform. As caustically funny as it is heartbreaking, 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl introduces a vital new voice in fiction. WINNER OF THE AMAZON CANADA FIRST NOVEL AWARD FINALIST FOR THE SCOTIABANK GILLER PRIZE FINALIST FOR THE COLORADO BOOK AWARD FOR LITERARY FICTION LONGLISTED FOR THE DUBLIN LITERARY AWARD ARAB AMERICAN BOOK AWARD HONORABLE MENTION FOR FICTION NAMED ONE OF THE MOST ANTICIPATED BOOKS OF 2016 BY ELLE, BUSTLE, AND THE GLOBE AND MAIL
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE MONTH BY THE HUFFINGTON POST, BUSTLE AND BOOKRIOT
Desperately searching for self-acceptance
Lizzie March is not thin when we first meet her, but she desperately wants to be. A lonely high school girl with an obese, ill mother and an absent father, she avoids looking at her own body. Instead, she secretly envies female friends who are sexually bold or especially beautiful. Craving acceptance, she meets guys on Internet dating sites, and later, after dropping out of Catholic school, she brings home older men who don’t seem bothered by her weight. Eventually, she begins to diet, hoping that it will bring her the love she’s looking for.
In 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl, author Mona Awad tells Lizzie’s story through 13 chapters in her life as she transforms from a chubby teen to a sleekly fit adult. Throughout these often raw, poignant stories, Awad adeptly skewers the culture of fitness and dieting, a constant battle of self-denial. Awad, who received an MFA from Brown University, illustrates the way that women unconsciously size each other up by appearance or even what they choose on a restaurant menu. For example, in one story, “The Girl I Hate,” Lizzie goes to lunch with a skinny friend who joyously eats fattening food while Lizzie—dieting—nibbles on a salad.
Lizzie is a frustrating, funny and sad character. However, her story is a deeply true one. She exemplifies the fact that self-acceptance must come from inside ourselves, always separate from the ever-changing bodies we inhabit. Readers who appreciated last year’s Dietland shouldn’t miss this insightful debut.