Feb 6, 2008

Fat Girl

A True Story
by Judith Moore

I think this book speaks best for itself: "This will not be a book about how I had an eating disorder and how I conquered this disorder... This is not about the need for acceptance of fat people... I will not write here about fat people I have known and I will not interview fat people. All I will do here is tell my story.... I mistrust real-life stories that conclude on a triumphant note... This is a story about an unhappy fat girl who became a fat woman who was happy and unhappy."

There you have it. A rather depressing memoir written by an overweight woman. She had a distressing, painful childhood: parents divorced, father missing, relatives who were emotionally abusive. She found comfort in and was obsessed with food. Half the book seems to be either talking about food or describing food. The other half is about how terrible she felt about herself, how awful other people treated her and vivid, prolific negative descriptions of being overweight- sensory, olfactory, visual disgust with her body. The overall impression I came away with was that she was starved for love, and full of self-loathing. I found it dismaying that there was no real conclusion to the story: she didn't seem to learn to love herself, forgive her family, or overcome her weight problem. I felt no positive gain from reading Fat Girl, although I can't complain because the author laid it out for me in the beginning. It's just sad and unhappy. Not even much humor or insight to lighten the load. Yet in spite of that, I couldn't put the book down! It was riveting, in the way that staring at a car accident may be.

Rating: 3/5                       Published 2005, 196 pages


  1. This sounds like it could have been so interesting...but sounds like it was a little disappointing, and disturbing!

  2. Rubbernecker. :) I'm not a big fan of books that don't have any closure or have bitterly unhappy endings. I don't need a fairytale ending, but if I'm going to partake in downer-material, I'd rather watch a movie and be done with it in 2 hours. I was really struggling with the first 100 pages of Angela's Ashes because it is SO depressing, but now its getting a little better.

    Your description kind of reminded me of "She's Come Undone" by Wally Lamb--although if I can remember that one ended a little better.

  3. Gentle Reader: yes, I was disappointed!

    Trish: I actually think I read somewhere that this book was compared to She's Come Undone, but I can't remember where.


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