13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl by Mona Awad
Fiction

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Marketing the book as “hilarious” is misdirection: Lizzie’s witticisms, while abundant, are attacks, and her grotesque development is a profoundly somber indictment of the gendered cultural norms that, in effect, created her.
-Publishers Weekly

Synopsis

“Stunning...As you watch Lizzie navigate fraught relationships — with food, men, girlfriends, her parents and even with herself — you’ll want to grab a friend and say: ‘Whoa. This. Exactly.’” Washington Post

"A hilarious, heartbreaking book." —People

Named one of the best books of the year by NPR, The Atlantic, Time Out New York, and The Globe and Mail

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 punishing drive, she counts almonds consumed, miles logged, pounds dropped. She fights her way into coveted dresses. She grows up and gets thin, navigating double-edged validation from her mother, her friends, her husband, her reflection in the mirror. But no matter how much she loses, will she ever see herself as anything other than a fat girl?
 
In her brilliant, hilarious, and at times shocking debut, Mona Awad simultaneously skewers the body image-obsessed culture that tells women they have no value outside their physical appearance, and delivers a tender and moving depiction of a lovably difficult young woman whose life is hijacked by her struggle to conform. As caustically funny as it is heartbreaking, 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl introduces a vital new voice in fiction.

WINNER OF THE AMAZON CANADA FIRST NOVEL AWARD

FINALIST FOR THE SCOTIABANK GILLER PRIZE

FINALIST FOR THE COLORADO BOOK AWARD FOR LITERARY FICTION

LONGLISTED FOR THE DUBLIN LITERARY AWARD

ARAB AMERICAN BOOK AWARD HONORABLE MENTION FOR FICTION

NAMED ONE OF THE MOST ANTICIPATED BOOKS OF 2016 BY ELLE, BUSTLE, AND THE GLOBE AND MAIL

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE MONTH BY THE HUFFINGTON POST, BUSTLE AND BOOKRIOT
 

About Mona Awad

See more books from this Author
Mona Awad received her MFA in Fiction from Brown University, where she was awarded the Feldman and John Hawkes prizes for her short stories. Her work has appeared in McSweeney’s, The Walrus, Joyland, Post Road, St. Petersburg Review, and elsewhere. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Creative Writing and English literature at the University of Denver.
Author Residence: Denver, CO Author Image 1
 
Published February 23, 2016 by Penguin Books. 214 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Humor & Entertainment. Fiction
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Critic reviews for 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl
All: 5 | Positive: 5 | Negative: 0

Kirkus

Excellent
on Nov 11 2015

...Awad has created a character too vivid, too complicated, and too fundamentally human to be reduced to a single moral. Lizzie's particular sadness is unsettlingly sharp: she gets under your skin, and she stays there. Beautifully constructed; a devastating novel but also a deeply empathetic one.

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Publishers Weekly

Excellent
on Aug 12 2016

Marketing the book as “hilarious” is misdirection: Lizzie’s witticisms, while abundant, are attacks, and her grotesque development is a profoundly somber indictment of the gendered cultural norms that, in effect, created her.

Read Full Review of 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat G... | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly

NY Journal of Books

Above average
Reviewed by Paul LaRosa on Apr 13 2016

Depending on your viewpoint, such passages can be funny or horrifying. Clearly, Awad—a wonderful writer--is making some very pointed arguments about our body-obsessed culture where fat is the enemy...

Read Full Review of 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat G... | See more reviews from NY Journal of Books

Globe and Mail

Good
Reviewed by Stacey May Fowles on Feb 19 2016

With admirable nuance and obvious skill, Awad critiques this damaging world we’ve created for ourselves simply by showing it to us.

Read Full Review of 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat G... | See more reviews from Globe and Mail

National Post arts

Good
Reviewed by Blair Mlotek on Dec 08 2016

13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl succeeds not only in making us question what we regard as “beauty,” but also ends by making us wonder what it is in life that really matters. It is a debut that manages to question the foundations of the society we live in with no holds barred.

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