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13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl
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13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl

liked it 3.00  ·  Rating details ·  7,789 ratings  ·  1,311 reviews
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 ...more
Paperback, 212 pages
Published February 23rd 2016 by Penguin Canada
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Joshilyn Jackson I have no doubt the author was very, very aware. It's not stealing; this is a literary reference, which is "fair use." MANY book titles are taken from…moreI have no doubt the author was very, very aware. It's not stealing; this is a literary reference, which is "fair use." MANY book titles are taken from famous poems. The Stevens poem is about finding beauty and wonder in a common, plain bird that does not usually inspire rapture. This author has applied it to a fat girl, something we in this country seldom look upon with awe or wonder or delight. It's smart -- it makes me want to read the book. (less)

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Roxane
Jan 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
This starts out so strong and so much of the prose is just gutting for anyone who has been or is a fat girl. Awad gets everything right and, throughout these interconnected stories, reveals how absurd our culture is about women and their bodies. Several sections had me in tears. The challenge is the second half of the book, when the main character, Liz loses weight. Awad again gets this right, the challenges of going from fat to skinny, the pressures, the self-obsession and the warped outlook, b ...more
Jennie
Apr 14, 2016 rated it did not like it
I really, really, really disliked this book. I quit about halfway through it because I just couldn't take it any more.

As a big girl, I feel invested in how people portray overweight women in the media. And I just couldn't handle how stereotypical this damn book was. Liz is a big girl. She's also socially awkward, a poor educational achiever and had terrible self esteem. She's portrayed as being so desperate for male attention that she doesn't care how badly she's treated and is generally pathet
...more
Dianne
Aug 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: best-of-2016
“13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl” consists of thirteen vignettes that are mostly narrated by Lizzie (the “fat girl” of the title) but a few of the stories are about Lizzie from another person’s perspective. The first vignette was uncomfortable and disturbing in an icky sort of way – I decided to read one more vignette to see where Awad would take Lizzie.

And……..thirteen vignettes later……I found this collection to be extremely poignant, powerful and memorable. I got this from the library but I th
...more
Samantha Price
Feb 29, 2016 rated it liked it
Well, that was NOTHING like I expected. I didn't know anything about this one going into it. From the first few pages the shocking and graphic content had me speeding through the chapters, disliking Elizabeth/Liz/Beth (depends on the point in time) until the very last page where I actually just felt so sorry for her.

She goes from an obese teenager desperate for attention (in forms of online dating and her 40 year old boss), to a thin young adult, obsessed with food and gravely unhappy.

I wasn't
...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
The cover of this book is BRILLIANT, and I didn't realize what I was looking at until I finished. Just as the main character moves between fat and not fat in the thirteen different sections of the book, the word "fat" in the title has been partially erased. Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant. Why? Being fat as a girl or woman is a heavy weight in our society (pun intended) - the assumption people make that fatness is the same as stupidity, worthlessness, lesser - we all do not want to believe it is ...more
Laurie • The Baking Bookworm
From the reviews and accolades that I've read about this book I was expecting a light hearted 'Bridget Jones-type' read with funny bits, a quirky protagonist and a good overall message about weight and learning to love oneself despite not being a size zero.

Others described the book as 'hilarious' and 'sparkles with wit' but I had a very different experience with Lizzie's journey. I actually found Lizzie to be quite sad and depressing. There were some rather funny descriptions thrown in throughou
...more
The Lit Bitch
May 10, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book came across my desk for review a couple of months ago and initially I passed on it for review and agreed to do a special feature instead.

I wasn’t sure that I could fit it into my review schedule and I wasn’t sure it was something that I really wanted to read. However when I did the special feature, I completely rethought my decision!

After reading the discussion questions of the feature, I was intrigued. This book sounded like it was going to be raw, honest, and dark but yet poignant an
...more
Nore
May 18, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: actual-books
Awad seems to have written this book to capture every single negative stereotype about women of all sizes in one fell swoop - fat women are all bitter, unhealthy, maladjusted try-hards; thin women are all vapid, or bitchy, or vapid and bitchy; those in between are frumpy, unattractive, pathetic things that are barely worth mentioning. To try and better yourself is pathetic and senseless, according to Awad, but to accept yourself and "let yourself go" is even more so.

There isn't even a point to
...more
Cathrine ☯️
Jul 28, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: group-challenge
There's a lot of truth in this book, like it or not, but I did not find it "hilarious" nor did I find Lizzie "lovable."
In this time of almost viral fat shaming and girls and women obsessed with body image it is certainly relevant to tell a story of one whose entire life has been defined by her weight and self-loathing.
It was just such a dark read, though perhaps worthwhile for some needing to take a closer look at how they see themselves and others. I don't believe the subject matter should be f
...more
Theresa
Not sure why "13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl" by Mona Awad has such harsh reviews, but I thought this underrated gem was fascinating, painfully raw, and brazen. Even though this book is marketed as a short story collection, this is actually 13 vignettes of the protagonist, Lizzie (some of the stories are from different points-of-view, a sleazy boyfriend, and her future husband). We get to see Lizzie struggle with her weight as a teenager, we see her lose the weight in her early adulthood, and ...more
Emily
This book was vile. Okay, track that back a bit. The sentences were well-written, and I actually liked the short-story-as-novel format. 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl is not poorly written, but the content is awful. It is one of the most bitter, depressing books I've ever read. After I finished it, I looked at the quotes plastered all over it, promising its humor and wit, and could only wonder what the hell book the blurb writers had read, because it wasn't this. Elizabeth loathes herself, dee ...more
Book Riot Community
I don’t often do fiction on audio, but I’ve been trying to squeeze in more leisure reading now that I’m in grad school and my walk to work in the mornings seemed like the perfect time to get a book in my ears. This book is a series of linked short stories centered around Lizzie/Elizabeth/Beth (“the fat girl”) from adolescence to adulthood. It really digs into the concept of what it’s like to be a fat girl and explores the ways in which it forms Lizzie’s identity, even after she has lost the weig ...more
Eli
Nov 25, 2015 rated it it was ok
I got an advanced copy of this.

DNF @ 80

Ehhhhh... I was pretty excited to read this because I feel strongly about societal body-shaming and whatnot. I didn't like this really that much at all.

It's a collection of short stories revolving around the same girl/woman. But they feel very disjointed and the setting is very unclear. One was written from the perspective of another person, but most were written through the narration surrounding the main character.

I mean, some of it was a little funny (in
...more
Olivia Ard
Mar 15, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
I've included a few spoilers in this review, but mostly they're thematic rather than details about the specific plot. Proceed at own risk.

My relationships with both weight and food have been complicated and mountainous for as long as I can remember, so when I heard about 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl, I couldn't have been more excited to read it. Whether you struggle with your weight or not, I'm sure you're familiar with the obsession our culture has with physical appearance. The way we view
...more
Kyley
Mar 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book is sad and lonely and emotionally raw in a way that was beautiful and also, at times, uncomfortable to read. I can't imagine any woman reasoning this and not identifying with the main character at times (thus the discomfort).

My main critique is that first half is quite a bit stronger than the second half; the character's stagnation is a bit grating. Regardless, I highly recommend this book. I was really moved reading it.
Emily
Read in one sitting to:
A) get it over with
B) be prepared for relevant tutorial/lecture tomorrow
C) no really, just to be done with the damn thing.

There's 4 hours of my life I'll never get back, but hey. It's finished.

I read another reviewer note that "Awad seems to have written this book to capture every single negative stereotype about women of all sizes in one fell swoop". This is one of the most accurate statements about this novel I've read. It was like no one could do anything right. No ma
...more
Shaina
May 04, 2016 rated it did not like it
200 pages of unrelenting self-loathing. Good times.
Megan Baxter
Nov 24, 2017 rated it liked it
This will be the 1000th post I've made on this blog. Happy blogiversary to me! There's a small part of me that is wistful that this doesn't line up with one of my favourite books of the year, that I don't get to gush over a book that you all totally need to read, guys. It's not a bad book, but I didn't love it, and for several days I've sat down to write this review and been absolutely stymied.

Note: The rest of this review has been withheld due to the changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement.
...more
Michael
Jan 03, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
Originally this book had loads of potential in the beginning. I liked reading about Lizze insecurities about her weight it made me sympathize with her insecurities. Between her and her self confident best friend,it was turning to be an interesting read. However,that gradually changed the more pages I read.

What exactly did this book hoped to accomplish? It went from talking about appearances to a bunch of irrelevant things that were not relevant to the plot. Terrible consistency,I shouldn't have
...more
Nikki (nikkitheknack's In the Stacks)
From nikkitheknack's In the Stacks: http://nikkitheknack.blogspot.ca/2016...

Let me start off by saying, this wasn't what I was expecting. I was looking forward to a charmingly funny story about a big girl who's uncomfortable with her body at first, but learns to love herself at whatever size she is. This is not that book.

We see Lizzie through different stages of her life - when she's fat, when she's thin, when she goes by different variations of her name. Through much of 13 Ways, I found it hard
...more
Angie
Jan 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, humor
Posted On http://readaholiczone.blogspot.com/20...

Blog Posting Contains: Video, Cocktail Recipe, Cool Links, & a GIVEAWAY of the book!

What an amazing, unique read. It's written in thirteen individual short stories about Lizzie’s weight influencing every aspect of her life. Starting with the title, the author never holds back creating a crude, brazen, enlightening look into the mind of a woman who from this reader's point of view loathes herself, no matter what. Having no self-esteem the aut
...more
Nancy
Mar 18, 2016 rated it did not like it
Utterly depressing. The protagonist is miserable and cruel when she's fat, when she's thin, and when she's in-between. She has no compassion for herself or those around her. While this might ring true for some readers, I found it bleak and hopeless.
Tejas Janet
Feb 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, contemporary
This was a book that made me think. While reading and after I was done, it kept me reflecting throughout. I experienced a range of emotions about the characters and story. And when I finished it, I decided soon after I'd like to read it again soon, perhaps as soon as next month.

Beneath the surface-story-level, I found a nuanced depth for those with the personal "3 -D glasses" or "magic eye" perspective that makes all the difference. Given the devastating critique of surface-level, 2-D appearance
...more
archdandy
There wasn't one thing I liked about this book. I think the only reason I finished it was because it was so short and I wanted to see if there would be anything redeeming about it all, there wasn't. The characters were miserable and it was almost physically painful to read about them. The "story" wasn't even really a story, just chunks of Elizabeth's pathetic life. The 13 essay type chapters were disjointed and had no flow to them at all. It wasn't entertaining and I regret wasting my afternoon ...more
Dawn
Wow, how depressing. I'm not sure what the intent of this book was, if there was supposed to be hope or humour, but all I got was self-loathing and heart-breaking. That this obsession with looks and weight should essentially ruin her life, destroy her marriage, affect her friendships and turn her into a obsessive compulsive food denier.
It was really too much for me, I don't like stories without hope, characters without pep and maybe most of all, I don't like that this story is probably all to c
...more
aer
Mar 04, 2016 rated it it was ok
I wanted to like this book more, as it was Kirkus Star reviewed... but I found it charmless. I understand there are characters we're meant not to like, but, I couldn't sympathize with her. As a young woman myself, I feel the pressures of society and want to be as thin as possible but this book had no silver lining and nothing redeemable about Elizabeth/Liz/Beth. I whipped through the book because I just wanted to finish it. The writing was by no means poor, it just didn't resonate with me.
Krista
Oct 05, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016, can-con
Even though Ruth's only a hair thinner than I am, she's way on the other side of the fat girl spectrum, looking at me from the safe, slightly smug distance of her own control and conviction.

13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl is kind of a novel, with thirteen self-contained short stories that follow one young woman from school girl to adult, and throughout it all, Elizabeth (variously known as Lizzie, Liz, or Beth as her body changes and she seeks new identities) remains obsessed with her own wei
...more
Millie Taylor
First off, this book isn't nearly as funny as the blurb makes it out to be. ("In her brilliant, hilarious, and at times shocking debut...") Brilliant? Maybe. Hilarious? Definitely not. Shocking at times? That I'll give a yes to.

I found the book to be raw and kind of depressing. It wasn't because the main character (Elizabeth, Lizzie, Beth - it all depends on what mood or phase of her life she's in) was whiny or overly annoying, mind you. I found it to be depressing because you could feel her st
...more
Louise Miller
Feb 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is such an important book. For anyone who has ever internalized society's body image pressures and turned them against themselves--which is to say everyone. Mona Awad has written a ground breaking book here.
Dr. Kat
Oct 16, 2016 rated it did not like it
Read 2015. This book made all heavy young women look like needy sluts. Giving it a rating of 1 star is generous. I have always donated my books to the library. This one I tossed in the recycle bin and apologized to the tree that carried the story. Boo! Hiss!
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Mona Awad was born in Montreal and has lived in the US since 2009. Her debut novel, 13 WAYS OF LOOKING AT A FAT GIRL, published on February 23, 2016 (Penguin Books) won the Amazon Best First Novel award and was shortlisted for the Giller Prize. It was also longlisted for the Stephen Leacock Award for Humour. Her new novel, BUNNY (Viking) will be released in 2019.

Her writing has also appeared in Mc
...more
“Later on I'm going to be really fucking beautiful. I'm going to grow into that nose and develop an eating disorder. I'll be hungry and angry all my life but I'll also have a hell of a time.” 6 likes
“I’d spend hours hunting for something—anything—that would render me moderately fuckable. And if not fuckable, something in which I could grieve over the fact of not being fuckable with unbaubled dignity. I” 5 likes
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