Wednesday, February 10, 2016

*Review* 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl by Mona Awad

Photo Credit: Goodreads
Genre: Chick-Lit
Published: February 23, 2016
Pages: 214


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.


I received a copy of this book through Penguin's First to Read program in exchange for an honest review.

At the beginning of this book, I felt sorry for the main character. I'm a "fat girl" and can empathize with not liking the view in the mirror, but I wasn't fat during my formative teenage years like the main character, so I'm not as traumatized by my weight as she seems to be. I definitely felt her shame and embarrassment though.

Sadly, I started to really not like her about halfway through the book, and I don't like being in the shoes of unlikeable characters, it makes me feel icky. Her behavior made me feel sorry for her husband and basically everyone else she came into contact with. 

Although she slightly redeemed herself in the end, I just really can't get over the middle portion of this story and forgive her for her actions, or even like her. She burned that bridge between us, and these feelings greatly impacted my enjoyment of the book.

The writing style of the story took a little getting used to for me, and there were a couple of chapters where the POV switched to another character and the style changed for those sections. It just didn't really work for me overall, even after I became accustomed to it. 

I give this book 3 out of 5 stars because it inspired strong feelings in me, but they weren't always particularly favorable and the writing style felt a little strange to me. - Katie 

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About the Author

Mona Awad received her MFA in fiction from Brown University. Her work has appeared in McSweeney’sThe WalrusJoylandPost RoadSt. Petersburg Review, and many other journals. She is currently pursuing a PhD in creative writing and English literature at the University of Denver.

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