Fat Girl: A True Story

Fat Girl: A True Story

3.6 66
by Judith Moore
     
 

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"A nonfiction She's Come Undone, Fat Girl is a powerfully honest memoir of obsession with food, and with one's own body. For any woman who has ever had a love-hate relationship with food and how she looks, for anyone who has knowingly or unconsciously used food to try to fill the hole in his heart or sooth the craggy edges of his psyche, Fat Girl is an angst-filled… See more details below

Overview

"A nonfiction She's Come Undone, Fat Girl is a powerfully honest memoir of obsession with food, and with one's own body. For any woman who has ever had a love-hate relationship with food and how she looks, for anyone who has knowingly or unconsciously used food to try to fill the hole in his heart or sooth the craggy edges of his psyche, Fat Girl is an angst-filled coming-of-age story of gain and loss." In this book, Moore describes, in vivid detail, what is was like to be "the fat girl," both in school and in her loveless home; dreading unannounced weigh-ins in front of her class and avoiding the verbal and physical lashings of her petite and icy mother; struggling to become invisible while desperately craving attention. Through the people who shaped Moore's early life - among them a spiteful, self-serving grandmother and a kind, homosexual uncle - we bear witness to the depths of human cruelty and the remarkable power of compassion. From the lush descriptions of food that call to mind the writings of M. F. K. Fisher at her finest, the heart-breaking accounts of Moore's deep longing for a family and a sense of belonging and love, Fat Girl stuns and shocks, saddens and tickles.

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Editorial Reviews

Jane Stern
Judith Moore's book just might be the Stonewall for a slew of oversize people who do not fit the template of what every ostensible expert on beauty, health and nutrition tells us we should strive to be. Fat Girl is brilliant and angry and unsettling.
— The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
In her memoir of growing up fat, Moore, who previously wrote about food in Never Eat Your Heart Out, employs her edgy, refreshingly candid voice to tell the story of a little girl who weighed 112 pounds in second grade; whose father abandoned her to a raging, wicked mother straight out of the Brothers Grimm; whose lifelong dieting endeavors failed as miserably as her childhood attempts to find love at home. As relentless as this catalogue of beatings, humiliation and self-loathing can be, it's tolerable-even inspiring in places-because Moore pulls it off without a glimmer of self-pity. The book does have some high points, especially while Moore is stashed at the home of a kind uncle who harbors his own secrets, but the happiest moments are tinged with dread. Who can help wondering what will become of this tortured and miserable child? Alas, Moore cuts her story short after briefly touching on an unsatisfying reunion with her father and her two failed marriages. The ending feels hurried, but perhaps the publication of this book will give Moore's story the happy ending she deserves. Agent, Sarah Chalfant. (On sale Mar. 3) Forecast: Having received advance praise from David Sedaris and Augusten Burroughs, Moore could get substantial review coverage. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Author of the noted culinary-themed memoir Never Eat Your Heart Out, Moore once again turns her pen inward. Warning readers not to expect a "triumphant" ending and requesting that they not feel sorry for her, she chronicles her obsession with food, her abusive mother, and never being one of the "picture pretty" girls. She admits: "I hate myself because I am not beautiful. I hate myself because I am fat." Thus Fat Girl may be a cathartic exercise for Moore, but it is obvious that she has not succeeded in exorcising her demons; indeed, at the end we know she is "still hungry," still striving to fill a void. Nevertheless, Moore's tale is honest, engaging, and well crafted, if a little depressing; readers like her, who have "know[n] so many diets," been called "fatso," or survived a loveless childhood, will relate and find solace. Conversely, those wary of living-in-the-past confessionals should steer clear. Recommended for public libraries.-Heather O'Brien, Ph.D. candidate, Dalhousie Univ., Halifax, N.S. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Grim exploration of the author's wretched childhood and consequent lifelong relationship with food. Moore (Never Eat Your Heart Out, 1996) had it rough as a girl. Abandoned by her father at age three-and-a-half, she was left to the mercy of a vicious, violent mother and a possibly sociopathic grandmother. These loveless formative years had a lasting impact: "I hate myself. I have almost always hated myself." After this introduction and a long consideration of her heavy, adult body and its impact on her life, Moore begins piecing together her past. Prominently featured are the parents who quickly divorced, resulting in long stretches of loneliness for Moore in Oklahoma and New York City. Self-pity might seem all but unavoidable in discussing such circumstances, but the tone here, rather than confessional or exculpatory, has the ring of the analytical. As the author relates the trials she endured-just how fat she was, how her clothing fit, how she started each school year scanning the schoolroom for a classmate heavier than she-the episodes come together to make up a work that could be an anthropological study of the habits of obese children, or a psychological study of the effect of lovelessness on a child's development. Moore is matter-of-fact in describing childhood beatings; nor does she spare herself, confessing childhood misdeeds that included entering the homes of adults she admired and repeatedly raiding their pantries. Her greatest and most constant love is, of course, food. Here, she offers pages of unctuous descriptions of the texture of a cheeseburger, the composition of a dinner party menu, or the southern-fried feasts she imagines her father devouring as a young man. Moorewarns the reader not to expect a triumphant ending, and she's true to her word, though her book is strongly written and starkly compelling to the end.
From the Publisher
“Frank, often funny—intelligent and entertaining.”—Vick Boughton, People (four out of four stars) “Moore’s unflinching memoir sets a new standard for literature about women and their bodies. Grade:A.”—Jennifer Reese, Entertainment Weekly (editor’s choice) “Searingly honest without affectation . . . Moore emerged fromher hellish upbringing as a kind of softer Diane Arbus, wielding pen instead of camera.”—Kimberly Marlowe Hartnett, The Seattle Times “Stark . . . lyrical, and often funny, Judith Moore ambushes you on the very first page, and in short order has lifted you up and broken your heart.”—Peg Tyre, Newsweek “God, I love this book. It is wise, funny, painful, revealing, and profoundly honest.”—Anne Lamott “Judith Moore grabs the reader by the collar, and shakes up our notion of life in the fat lane.”—David Sedaris “A slap-in-the-face of a book—courageous, heartbreaking, fascinating, and darkly funny.”—Augusten Burroughs

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781594630095
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
03/03/2005
Pages:
208
Product dimensions:
5.36(w) x 7.94(h) x 0.83(d)
Age Range:
14 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
“Frank, often funny—intelligent and entertaining.”
—Vick Boughton, People (four out of four stars)

“Moore’s unflinching memoir sets a new standard for literature about women and their bodies. Grade:A.”
—Jennifer Reese, Entertainment Weekly (editor’s choice)

“Searingly honest without affectation . . . Moore emerged fromher hellish upbringing as a kind of softer Diane Arbus, wielding pen instead of camera.”
—Kimberly Marlowe Hartnett, The Seattle Times

“Stark . . . lyrical, and often funny, Judith Moore ambushes you on the very first page, and in short order has lifted you up and broken your heart.”
—Peg Tyre, Newsweek

“God, I love this book. It is wise, funny, painful, revealing, and profoundly honest.”
—Anne Lamott

“Judith Moore grabs the reader by the collar, and shakes up our notion of life in the fat lane.”
—David Sedaris

“A slap-in-the-face of a book—courageous, heartbreaking, fascinating, and darkly funny.”
—Augusten Burroughs

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