13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl Summary and Reviews

13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl

by Mona Awad

13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl by Mona Awad X
13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl by Mona Awad
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  • Published in USA  Feb 2016
    224 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

As caustically funny as it is heartbreaking, 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl introduces a vital new voice in fiction.

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.

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Media Reviews

"Starred Review. A painfully raw - and bitingly funny - debut... Beautifully constructed; a devastating novel but also a deeply empathetic one." - Kirkus

"Awad opens her assured and terrific debut collection of linked stories with a quotation from Margaret Atwood's Lady Oracle .... Marketing the book as 'hilarious' is misdirection: Lizzie's witticisms, while abundant, are attacks, and her grotesque development is a profoundly somber indictment of the gendered cultural norms that, in effect, created her." - Publishers Weekly

"Behind the title of Awad's sharp first book, a unique novel in 13 vignettes, is brazen-voiced Lizzie, who longs for, tests, and prods the deep center of the cultural promise that thinness, no matter how one achieves it, is the prerequisite for happiness." - Booklist

"This book sparkles with wit... 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 is a strikingly original and strikingly talented new voice." - Laura van den Berg, author of Find Me and The Isle of Youth

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Mona Awad received her MFA in fiction from Brown University. Her work has appeared in McSweeney's, The Walrus, Joyland, Post Road, St. 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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