A Critique – 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl

Mona Awad’s 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl has some amusing quips here and there, but overall I found it a bit disjointed and lacking punch or flair.

Awad’s novel is written in pseudo short-story format. However, the short stories had the same themes and most of the same characters. What added to the unusual format was that deciphering time frames was never easy… which might not be a bad thing but in this case it didn’t help the author.

I respect the power of making a reader feel awkward or uncomfortable, or any strong emotion for that matter – well done. But the novel took this furtber; I must stress that the narrator was hugely unlikeable. It’s hard to enjoy a book, play, or story of any sort when the protagonist is hard to be around. Even a murderer, when described in a certain fashion, can be likeable. Sweeney Todd, anyone?

The ending, though I won’t divulge it, was disappointing and sudden. The reader spends the novel hoping that, through all of her self-reflection and often hatred, that narrator Elizabeth, will find a healthy light (and I do mean, light, not body, lifestyle, etc) to view herself in. It was less than iluminating. Not all endings have to be happy, but this one was also far from satisfying.

I’d had a few people recommend the book and felt conflicted while reading it because I simply wasn’t feeling what I expected to.

In fact, I read several reviews after finishing the book’s final page because I thought I was being overly harsh in my criticism. After seeing that so many had the same reaction, I felt less horrible about my 2 star, out of 5 rating.

To learn more about Awad and her work, visit this site.

Rating: 2 of 5 stars


In some regards, America infuriates me. More than that, western style media has a lot of explaining to do.

When even the slim, healthy, strong women lack the confidence they deserve to feel, I move to detest our media. Even those who found their own drum to walk to – even these men and women are part of the equation.

A friend and I were out swimsuit shopping Friday afternoon and found ourselves both contemplative and furious with the state of self-esteem of the youngest generation.

I look at my nieces and nephew with hope and love that they know they can choose their emotions and opinions. They can decide whose company to place themselves in. They can read and listen and learn and love the world if they so choose. As an aunt, I plan to do all I can to show them these things. And to make sure they never doubt the love I have for them and the beauty they exude.

We owe this to our children.