Kimbofo reviews ‘ 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl’


13 Ways of Looking at a Fat GirlWell, this seems rather meta, writing about my own review published on my own site.

It also seems rather fortunate that the one book I managed to read from the Giller Prize longlist just so happens to have made the shortlist.

Mona Awad’s 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl is a short story collection disguised as a novel. It charts one woman’s trajectory from chubby teen to a painfully thin woman whose weight loss has not made her happy: she’s hungry and angry all the time and her relationships, particularly with her husband and work colleagues, are strained.

As I wrote in my review:

It mines a dark psychological seam of people who have an unhealthy relationship with food. It’s wry and funny, but also unsettling, for not only does Awad turn her sharp, perceptive eye towards the all-consuming issue of weight control, she also focuses on how this affects relationships between mothers and daughters, female friends, colleagues, sexual partners and the people we marry.

To read my review in full, please visit my blog, Reading Matters.

Has anyone else read this book? Do you think it will win the Giller Prize when the winner is announced on 7 November?

4 Responses to “Kimbofo reviews ‘ 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl’”

  1. Alison Says:

    I have read the book!
    I would laugh, but I think it speaks to the point of the book, that when I went to comment, up popped a WeightWatchers ad.
    I agree that the book is unsettling and also funny. The unsettling part of it for me was more than just a women’s (or a woman’s) relationship to food, but how easily someone who doesn’t fit in the prescribed idea of what a woman should look like turns that inward and makes bad decisions.
    There’s an authenticity to what she depicts that makes the book unsettling.
    I also think it’s a remarkable accomplishment for a debut.
    I’ve also read The Best Kind of People and will be posting my thoughts on that in the next few days.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. kimbofo Says:

    Oh, I hadn’t clocked this was a debut… it’s very accomplished. I like the sassy tone and there were some quite recognisable moments in this book for me (having recently gone on a calorie-controlled diet to get down to “race weight” for a cycling sportive I did on the weekend).


  3. buriedinprint Says:

    This one really caught me unawares. I didn’t have very many expectations when I picked it up earlier this summer, and then found myself gulping more than 100 pages in the first sitting, when I’d just intended to try a few pages. The attention paid to setting and tone, all the delicious details: I thought it was quite remarkable really. But in an unsettling and disturbing way.

    Liked by 2 people

    • kimbofo Says:

      I know what you mean… I came to this one with low expectations and only read it first because it was the only one readily available in the UK. But I was pleasantly surprised and really got into it from the start.


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