13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl by Mona Awad

The last time I looked at my teenage diaries — years ago during one of our half-hearted attempts to clean the basement — I was struck by how many times I’d written I feel fat. I’ve always tried to hide my low self esteem and crappy body image (true whether I was “average” or severely underweight) but there it was spelled out over and over in black and white. Despite years of therapy, it’s still true today: most days I look in the mirror and I hate what I see. I’m ashamed that I’m not thinner. Ashamed that I’m not happier. Ashamed that I’m not the social butterfly I always feel I should be. (As if being introverted is somehow less than.) All of which made Mona Awad’sΒ 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat GirlΒ difficult to read, because I saw myself in it more than I thought I would. It’s the story of Lizzie (later Beth, Elizabeth, then Liz), a fat girl who’s never liked the way she looks. In 13 short stories we see her in various stages of her life, from her teen years growing up in Mississauga (aka Misery Saga) with her unsettlingly promiscuous friend Mel, to her early working and dating years (“Archibald doesn’t take me to dinner, but at least I can be naked with him”), her married life as an anorexic and her (slightly) later years heavy again.Β  Continue reading 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl by Mona Awad