Thursday, February 25, 2016

13 Ways Of Looking At A Fat Girl by Mona Awad

Mona Awad has captured every woman's feelings about her body in various stages through following Elizabeth over the years.  Lizzie starts as a young girl who is fat as she is starting her relationship with men.  Since she is not desirable to them, she lets them take liberties she probably wouldn't otherwise.  She forms relationships online and tries not to have to send pictures.

Once she meets Tom online, she decides before they meet in person to lose weight.  That starts a years long fight with her weight, where every ounce of food is measured and weighed.  Long grueling workouts are undertaken.  The weight slowly comes off, but the price is unwavering vigilance and continuance of her spartan lifestyle.  Her weight is the consuming battle of her life and she changes her relationships and even her name depending on the numbers on her scale.

Awad knows this territory.  She talks about how women view clothes and the shame of having to buy larger sizes.  She deals with how weight impacts women's friendships with each other.  She knows how it is an overwhelming part of romantic relationships and how those who struggle with their weight are supposed to be grateful for whatever romantic interest is shown to them.  She deals with the shame of giving up and gaining back weight that took months to take off.

Is there a woman who doesn't struggle with weight?  Most women feel they are too large or too small.  They feel that their lives would be better if they could only lose weight or gain it.  They spend enormous amounts of time and energy dealing with this one issue.  As such, women can relate to this anthology of thirteen stories that follows Lizzie throughout her life.  Awad has an MFA in fiction from Brown University.  This talented debut introduces a fresh new voice to literary fiction.

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