Title: 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl
Author: Mona Awad
Publication: February 23, 2016
Publisher: Penguin Books
Genre: Women’s Fiction
SYNOPSIS: (From Goodreads)
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.
**A copy of this book was provided via Netgalley by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.**
I want to start my review off by saying it is very hard for me to not give good reviews. I WANT to love every book. I want to give encouraging and loving remarks for every author who pours their heart and soul into a book. Unfortunately for some, I cannot make that promise.
“13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl” by Mona Awad was a book I really wanted to love. I started it out with high hopes and was quickly disappointed. I will say the writing is good. Nothing is worse than a story with bad writing, but Awad did not have this problem. She was descriptive, smooth, and I could imagine what the characters looked like while she described them and the scenes they were in.
The part that took away from the story was the negativity. Now I understand that may have been some of the point. Body image and all that… I’m definitely one to understand that as I have struggled with body issues my entire life. But it was one negative thought after the other. One negative reaction. One negative life choice. It was as if the main character, Lizzie, was only good enough to sleep with guys who were older and going no where in their lives or degrading herself. The entire first 35% of the book was an endless diatribe about Lizzie’s life and body and bad choices. Then… it just jumped a few years. No warning. No transition. Suddenly we were years ahead and Lizzie is now going by a different name and almost obsessed with losing weight. I find nothing wrong with working hard to get healthy, but her friend literally calls her a salad. A healthy BALANCED diet is the goal. So the story went from one very negative story to one very obsessed story.
I cannot speak for the ending, as I have to admit I couldn’t finish the book. It happens rarely… but I just couldn’t continue to push myself to finish this book. I made it a good chunk into the story and I really, really tried. For weeks I tried. I just could not get this book and I to click. Now I cannot say that for everyone, just myself. I’ve read other reviews and people love it. It just wasn’t for me. I stand by the fact that I enjoy Awad’s actual writing and I will be interested to check out her next book to see if I can get into that. Unfortunately this one just did not do it for me. Maybe next time. One star is all I could rightfully give. Here’s to hoping I enjoy the next.
I encourage everyone to try the book out for themselves. Everyone has their own taste in books! You can get a copy on Amazon or Barnes and Noble or in your local bookstore. We highly encourage you to always add your books to your To Reads shelf on Goodreads and leave feedback for the authors after finishing the book! Follow Mona Awad on twitter @monaawadauthor.