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13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl by Mona…
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13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl (2016)

by Mona Awad

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Showing 1-5 of 20 (next | show all)
For this and other reviews, visit RaeleighReads.

This is not, precisely, a novel. Rather, it is a collection of short stories, arranged chronologically, centered around one main character.

Elizabeth, the fat girl, was everything when I first started reading this. I devoured the first 4-5 chapters in one sitting saying Yes Yes Yes to myself throughout. Finally, a book that really understood my personal struggles with body image. Finally, a fat girl giving me a voice in the world of the ever-thin, perky-breasted female main characters.

How utterly honest it all was. Honest, and heavy. There was never any reprieve, never a moment of real triumph for Elizabeth. It was both heartbreaking and a relief to read this and realize there would be no happy ending.

13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl is a profound exercise in self-examination by a main character. Elizabeth, Beth, Lizzie, Liz diagrams and dissects every part of her body and her psyche for us. Yet that constant self-reflection yields no actualization.

This book is masterfully conceptualized, but I’m not sure all readers will be able to appreciate or connect with it. It lacks a traditional plot with triggers, reprieves, problems and solutions. There is no climax or falling action. There is relentless pressure, relentless negativity, relentless analysis to the bitter and lack-luster end.

But I always found myself rooting for Elizabeth, for all fat girls, for humans — that they find a way to be comfortable with and love themselves. That they discover what Elizabeth never could — there is no secret to happiness. No magic pill. No amount of counting, parsing, starving, or exercising will ever fill a black hole inside you. And sometimes, even those of us with magnificent powers of self-observation, can’t pull ourselves off the hamster wheel. ( )
  Raeleigh | Feb 23, 2018 |
Well-written, uncomfortable. I love books with flawed lead characters, books that deal with the expectations placed on young women by society, books that let girls be unlikeable. And there's a self-consciousness that this book captures in a compelling way. However, I found this book a little much in its constant portrayal of the longing to be desired by someone else. It was frustrating, and I kept on waiting for Elizabeth to break out of that mindset and stop focusing so much on the people around her. ( )
  bucketofrhymes | Dec 13, 2017 |
Oh dear, from what I had heard about it, I was expecting to really like 13 Ways of Looking At A Fat Girl by Mona Awad so it came as a big disappointment when I not only didn’t like it, I pretty much hated it. I obviously missed something here as this book was up for numerous awards but I really struggled to get through it. This is a collection of short stories that are connected in that they all depict scenes from one person’s life. Lizzie lives in what she calls “Misery Saga” a nickname for Mississauga, a suburb of Toronto, she is overweight, insecure and has little or no self-esteem.

Through the course of the book she goes through many weight changes, from an obese teenager to a thin young woman, but no matter what weight she seemed to be, she remained, to me, a very damaged character. Her craving for affection in her younger days allowed many to take advantage of her and use her in different ways, including sexually, which was difficult to read about. As a thin woman she came across extremely unhappy and angry.

So many things put me off this book. It is full of nasty, small minded people who appear to be only out for themselves. The humor is sly and always directed at other people’s shortcomings. I can’t knock the writing but overall I didn’t like the characters, didn’t like the stories and didn’t like the book. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | Oct 3, 2017 |
Sad, true, aching.

Note: I read the last half of this book on a Sunday morning while eating donuts. Not until I felt sick with fullness and regret did I see the "coincidence" of my choice. ( )
  dcmr | Jul 4, 2017 |
Connected stories about a nasty, self-obsessed, vacuous girl who becomes a nasty, self-obsessed, vacuous woman. Oh, and she is fat. As a fat girl I know how difficult and sometimes painful it can be to be overweight. That said, it is not the only thing we chubsters think about, it does not entirely define us. And we don't walk around judging others, even when we are going through skinny times. This woman is shallow and cruel and intellectually lazy. Being fat is the least of her problems. ( )
1 vote Narshkite | Apr 4, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 20 (next | show all)
. Awad masterfully weaves in thoughts most women can relate to — calorie counting, insecurity at the gym — with more extreme ones, honing in on the spectrum from preoccupation to compulsion when it comes to body image.

This isn’t a feel-good beach read. While there’s definitely wit and dialogue to be enjoyed, Lizzie’s constant inner monologue devoted to calories, inches and pounds will make you feel sick — but that’s the point.
 
Beautifully told, with a profoundly sensitive understanding of the subject matter, it’s clear that all of the anticipation for this particular fiction debut was entirely warranted....One of the more harrowing aspects of 13 Ways is how genuinely it highlights female cruelty as a byproduct of this obsessive journey to being thin. Young women judge, berate, and even loathe each other, becoming necessary competitors in a battle that doesn’t benefit them beyond external approval...Perhaps 13 Ways’ greatest victory is how easily so many people will relate – Awad is an incredibly skilled writer, with a rare ability to construct tiny moments of both acute empathy and astonishing depth.
 
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0143128485, Paperback)

“This book sparkles with wit and at the same time comes across as so transparent and genuine—Awad knows how to talk about the raw struggles of female friendships, sex, contact, humanness, and her voice is a wry celebration of all of this at once.” —Aimee Bender, author of The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake
 
“Hilarious and cutting . . . Mona Awad has a gift for turning the everyday strange and luminous, for finding bright sparks of humor in the deepest dark. She is a strikingly original and strikingly talented new voice.” —Laura van den Berg, author of Find Me and The Isle of Youth
 
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.

(retrieved from Amazon Tue, 17 Nov 2015 20:25:15 -0500)

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?… (more)

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