Mona Awad is a Canadian author who has just written her debut novel 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl. As the title suggests, it deals with a character named Lizzie who struggles with her weight, and the way in which she interacts with those around her. Through the Season of Stories program, I was given the chance to read one of the stories from her debut book. Here is my review:
When China becomes Lizzie’s friend, Lizzie can’t believe her luck. China is one of those girls who is perfect without even trying, who is able to get any guy, and looks fantastic all the time. Lizzie, on the other hand, struggles to feel comfortable in her own skin. She longs to be considered attractive, and finds her way of doing so through a man she met on the Internet. She figures it’s no big deal, since everyone is looking for someone on the Internet. And this way, she’s safe from him ever actually having to look at her. The only thing is, this guy is about 40 years old and a paraplegic. And he wants a photo of Lizzie.
This story is a coming-of-age story that deals with all of the challenges girls face about their body image. It deals with the desire to feel loved, both by yourself and by others. Lizzie’s character is one that anyone can relate with, because her perception of not belonging and wanting to be like someone else is a thought that has crossed everyone’s mind at some point. The decisions she makes, the reasoning behind them, the feelings she has… it transported me back to that same period in my own life. And that is not an easy thing to accomplish. My favorite part of this short story is the ending; it felt as if Lizzie was empowered and it just showed her as someone who has strength and power. If you haven’t read Awad’s debut novel, then you should check it out now!