The woman who reads this potentially life-changing book can examine, question, and change her behavior, using the specific step-by-step program aid included in the book. There is a rumor that Amazon is getting into the bricks-and-mortar retail bookstore business beyond their current physical footprint of a single store. Perhaps it's too little variation to support the title's winking allusion to Wallace Stevens' famous modernist poem "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird," but then, in most of the stories, Lizzie describes herself in far more brutal detail. Awad's prose is voice-y and appealingly detailed — one story opens "So I'm eating scones with the girl I hate" — and she has a great ear for the condescending language around women's bodies. Lizzie sits on a closed toilet in the high school bathroom while China applies her eyeliner:
The woman who reads this potentially life-changing book can examine, question, and change her behavior, using the specific step-by-step program aid included in the book. Mona Awad's debut story collection, "13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl," tells the story of Lizzie, a girl who goes from fat to thin but isn't sure if that's the secret to happiness. The early stories in the collection are rife with these moments, but also with beauty and humor, as wry, introspective Lizzie shares her taste in indie music and velvet corsets with her best friend Mel: The "fat girl" of the title is more than a flesh-and-blood girl; she's a specter most women learn to fear from an early age. I feel it now as a cold stabby stream across my waterline. The pursuit of slimness, the obsession with having the perfect body, excessive aerobicizing, and diet books ad nauseam are all part of this phenomenon. The totem of female enjoyment, the fat girl haunts skinny Lizzie even after she loses the weight — not just in Lizzie's constant fear of backsliding or in her suspicions that a fat manicurist is enjoying her own life more she is , or even in the anxiety that her husband may have preferred her former pillowiness to her current angles — but in the dawning realization that maybe, just maybe, her problems were always more than skin-deep. Amy Gentry is a freelance writer living in Austin, Texas. How you have made her night no her week no her month no her year! They aim for something like a phenomenology of the fat girl, a portrait of the contexts, both internal and external, that make her feel fat or skinny — often in relation to other women, but also in the conspiracy of clothing sizes, the regime of gym sign-up sheets and the secrecy of down-low sex with men ashamed of their own desires. Authors in Women's Conflicts About Eating and Sexuality skillfully discuss the parallel between women's obsession with sex and romance in the fifties and their obsession with food today. Together, these stories do more than follow one woman's "weight loss journey," to use the ghoulish euphemism. As a portrait of the body-image issues and low-level eating disorders that afflict almost all American women, "13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl" is devastatingly thorough, its 13 short stories as addictive as potato chips and as painful as the prospect of eating nothing but 4-ounce portions of steamed fish for the rest of your life. Several stories exploring Lizzie's relationship with her ailing, overweight mother drive this point home with heartbreaking efficiency. All this pain would be too much to bear if the book wasn't so funny. Today's dilemma for women--be fat or go hungry--and the endless variations and unsatisfying solutions to this problem have contributed to the incidence of anorexia, bulimia, and obesity. Awad's prose is voice-y and appealingly detailed — one story opens "So I'm eating scones with the girl I hate" — and she has a great ear for the condescending language around women's bodies. Women's Conflicts About Eating and Sexuality will appeal to women of all ages--young women and their mothers will be fascinated by the parallels between sexual obsessions of thirty years ago and the eating obsessions of today. There is a rumor that Amazon is getting into the bricks-and-mortar retail bookstore business beyond their current physical footprint of a single store. So we get another McFlurry and talk about how fat we are for a while. Lizzie sits on a closed toilet in the high school bathroom while China applies her eyeliner: No other book has spelled out so clearly the parallels between sex and eating nor integrated the relationship of these to women's basic need to be loved. Perhaps it's too little variation to support the title's winking allusion to Wallace Stevens' famous modernist poem "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird," but then, in most of the stories, Lizzie describes herself in far more brutal detail. An important book for all women, it sheds light on the complex issues facing women and devotes special attention to the career woman and the additional pressures to be slim and stay slim. If her clinical self-assessments do get a little grueling by the end, it's nothing we women aren't used to. It is also a good auxiliary text for courses in Women's Studies focusing on psychology and history of women and the sociology of women and eating disorders. I can't be the only child of the '80s who heard "a moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips!
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