Quick Review: Lizzie has been fat since adolescence. Her body has shaped how she is seen, and more importantly how she sees herself.
I had a hard time picking up this book because of the title. Without even reading the synopsis, I knew it would be a heartbreaking tale but an important tale nonetheless. It’s an issue women (and people) face. Size. We are a society that judges based on appearances. The world treats women (and people) less the more space they take up. It is unfortunate fact today.
Thirteen chapters told from varying perspectives. Sometimes, Lizzie tells her own story. Other times, people around her tell her story. In all of the narratives, her physical size is an important. Lizzie starts out as a young teen. As the novel progresses, she changes in size. As her size shifts, so does her name. Removing the name she was known by, does not remove her memory of herself. Even when she becomes an incredibly in shape twenty-something, all she can ever see herself is as the fat girl. She is so obsessed with her outward appearance, she ceases to live.
Awad describes society’s consumption with physical appearance through one woman’s story. It is consistently heartbreaking yet witty. Awad is unafraid to dive deep into the emotional abyss that is self-image.
It is a short novel, a quick read, and a huge punch. I set it down with a sigh. As a living woman, it is impossible not to identify with so many sentiments depicted in the book.
“Never the doughnuts because we agree that a fat girl with a doughnut is too sad a thing.”
“…like her thinness was a punch in the gut, the air of heaviness around her that will never leave.”
Title: 13 Ways of Looking At A Fat Girl
Author: Mona Awad
Publisher: Penguin Books (Penguin Random House)