Book Talks: 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl

13 ways of looking at a fat girl13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl by Mona Awad

13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl by Mona Awad was shortlisted for the 2016 Giller Prize.

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 and changes her name as she changes sizes, from Lizzie, to Beth, to Elizabeth. But no matter how much she loses, she never sees herself as anything other than a fat girl.

Told in 13 connected vignettes, Mona Awad simultaneously condemns 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. Her inner conflict is illustrated beautifully by my favourite quote in the book, Lizzie says, “I’ll be hungry and angry all my life but I’ll also have a hell of a time.”

13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl and the other five Giller Prize shortlisted titles can be found at the Haliburton County Public Library.

*Originally aired on 100.9 CANOE FM.

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