13 Ways Of Looking At A Fat Girl by Mona Awad13 Ways Of Looking At A Fat Girl by Mona Awad

13 Ways Of Looking At A Fat Girl

byMona Awad

Paperback | February 23, 2016

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Winner of the Amazon.ca First Novel Award
Shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize
Longlisted for the 2017 Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour
Longlisted for the 2018 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award

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.
Mona Awad’s first book, 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl, won the Amazon.ca First Novel Award and was shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize. It was named one of the most anticipated books of 2016 by Elle, Bustle, and The Globe and Mail, and it was named one of the best books of the month by the Huffington Post, Bustle, and Book R...
Title:13 Ways Of Looking At A Fat GirlFormat:PaperbackDimensions:224 pages, 7.7 × 5 × 0.6 inPublished:February 23, 2016Publisher:Penguin CanadaLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0143194798

ISBN - 13:9780143194798

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Rated 4 out of 5 by from Loved it! saw this recommendation from CBC Books and got it. LOVED it!! Was a wonderful debut novel. Covers body image issues and what it is like to grow up and live with that constant battle of wanting to be thin and how it impacts all your personal relationships. Was a sweet, sad, funny read that I literally couldn’t put down.
Date published: 2018-07-10
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Great idea that fell short Not what i was expecting and could not make it past 50 pages.
Date published: 2018-06-06
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Not for me I ALMOST gave up on this one about halfway through. I just felt like it wasn't for me. I totally appreciate the parallelism between this book and 13 Ways of Looking at a Blackbird, but for me, the disjointedness works much better in poetry than in prose. BUT! I stuck it out and the second half of the book was much more enjoyable! I might actually read another book about adult Liz if it existed. Probably not, but maybe.
Date published: 2018-05-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Not what I expected, but in a good way In all honesty I though this book was going to be more comedic than it was. I finished this book feeling a little depressed which is not what I was expecting. Her writing is raw and unfiltered and I like that. It is a very easy read that you can do in one sitting but be prepared to feel a little emotionally exhausted after. Also, growing up in Mississauga myself made it fun to see the neighborhood references.
Date published: 2018-02-05
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Good read This book was ok and like to read Canadian authors -- it started off promising I like the initial character development of the main character as a teenager. This book is not written in chronological order and each chapter is like its own story and a look into the character's lives.
Date published: 2018-01-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Relatable This collection of 13 stories follows the same woman starting as a 'fat' teenager and leading up until her adult years. As someone who has struggled with their weight their whole life, I found this was a really relatable collection of stories. It was just long enough to not be overdone, and left me wanting more.
Date published: 2017-10-12
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Not what I was expecting I was really intrigued to read this book; however it definitely was not what I was expecting it to be. I found it hard in the beginning to identify with any of the characters, especially Lizzie. Upon reading other reviews for the book I saw it being described as "funny" or "witty"; however I dd not feel those things when I was reading it. Towards the middle of the book I began to see Lizzie in a whole new light. I pictured the struggle she was going through with her weight. I saw how her loved ones were seeing her and what their thoughts were about her weight. I saw how Lizzie's obsessive behaviours concerning her weight really took a toll on every aspect of her life. I would never classify this book as "funny" or "witty", but I wouldn't classify it as depressing or sadness. Ultimately, this book truly makes you look at eating disorders (gaining and loosing weight). I'm not entirely sure how I feel about this book and maybe in the future I will read it again and understand it in a whole new light; as of right now, I have mixed feelings and still do not know how to describe the book to anyone.
Date published: 2017-08-19
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Fascinating series of vignettes Not exactly what I thought I was getting into, but interesting if na little depressing.
Date published: 2017-07-10
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Packs a punch This book is light in its physical sense at only just over 200 pages. Yet its stories are deeply personal and painful to read at times. The reader must prepare for this depth to really enjoy and appreciate the writing.
Date published: 2017-03-11
Rated 2 out of 5 by from 6/13 stories are worthwhile, 7 made me queasy I wanted to walk away from this book empowered and with more arsenal to take on society's obsession with female perfection, but I limped out of there wounded. Lizzie refers to Mississauga as Misery Saga, ironically the entire book can be summed up by that: misery saga. I chose this book for my book club and I feel sorry that I inflicted this on my friends. The stories that I found meaningful and worth reading are The girl I hate, I want too much, The von Furstenburg and I, Caribbean Therapy, Additionelle and Beyond the Sea. So... less than half of the stories. When we went against the universe, your biggest fan and she'll do anything made me sick to my stomach. I applaud Awad for addressing body images, female friendships, weight, dieting, self-esteem etc but I wish she had used a paintbrush instead of a knife. Searing is a good way to describe this.
Date published: 2017-03-10
Rated 3 out of 5 by from 13 Ways .... Didn't quite know what to expect when I picked up this book. I didn't really like the way it was written in short story/essay format rather than linear storyline. I did manage to get through it though and anyone who has struggled with body image will likely be able to relate to one of the essays. The overall message of this book about weight and learning to love oneself is a good one but I don't know that I would recommend it.
Date published: 2017-03-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from good Lend it to your judgmental friends
Date published: 2017-02-22
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Couldn't finish it Very depressing to read, maybe because I was expecting something more humorous and positive. Almost half way into the book, I just couldn't keep going. Lizzie's story was just too sad for me :( #plumreview
Date published: 2017-02-13
Rated 3 out of 5 by from This was not the book for me! This book is not what I was expecting. When I first started the novel, I though I would end up loving the book. I was disappointed what I received. First of all, the synopsis is very intriguing and the cover is absolutely brilliant. If I were to be basing my decisions on these two facts alone it would be a great read. The main character of Elizabeth experiences different things in life. For example, relationships, mom problems, men, as well as many others. Throughout these experiences, Elizabeth is challenged with the idea of her weight. She becomes almost obsessed with the idea of potentially gaining more weight and loosing what she already has. Overall, I think this could have been a better book if it was organized better. Some things confused me due to how they were placed within the book. This was not the book for me, however, others may love it. 3/5 Stars
Date published: 2017-02-06
Rated 3 out of 5 by from So-so... To be honest, I'm very surprised that this book got nominated as one of the Giller prize top contenders... It is very easy to read, but fails to draw emotional connection with the main character(s). I expected it to be something like "Skinny" perhaps, but more about binge-eating. Or a totally opposite: a girl, who thinks she's fat, when in fact she's average. This book is about a stereotypical fat girl, who is fat, doesn't really understand, why she is fat and everyone else is "perfect" and fails to climb out of her imaginary world and start living a life. This could be a good book about someone with a low self-esteem and how trapped someone might feel in such state, but the author decided to focus on all stereotypical cliches about fat people. I don't see any depth here or innovation. Disappointed. It's ok to read on a long flight maybe... and then leave the book on a plane to free some space in your bag.
Date published: 2017-01-20
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Interesting Complete story without actually having a lot of plot. Each chapter jumps to different part of her life or someone else's perspective. Examines body image issues really well. #plumreview
Date published: 2017-01-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Really great read A really great read with brilliant and interesting writing. The book is a complete story, but each chapter feels like a standalone essay with POV sometimes changing. Awad offers a fresh and honest portrait of a woman's body.
Date published: 2017-01-07
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Meh There were things I really liked about this book and things I really didn't. I enjoyed the focus on body image issues, as that is a huge issue in today's society. It just felt very anti-climatic and ended sort of abruptly. #purereview
Date published: 2016-12-30
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Take it or leave it Pretty good for a first novel, and subtext was pretty good, but subject matter; woman dealing with weight and relationships was not for me. There is an attempt to touch on universal themes. This s a book to be read by self absorbed millennials. I will not be looking with anticipation for the author's next novel
Date published: 2016-12-19
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Easily disgestable Well-written, compellingly organized into vignettes rather than a traditional narrative, but with a rather off-putting undercurrent.
Date published: 2016-12-19
Rated 1 out of 5 by from thirteen ways of looking at a fat girl. I did not like this book at all ! !!!!! Elizabeth, Beth, Lizzie, the main character spends her WHOLE life consumed with her weight issue. OMG!!
Date published: 2016-12-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Important This book has incredible observations on society. As a father with two daughters, it certainly made me understand the struggles of young girls today. It really resonated with me.
Date published: 2016-12-12
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Awful This book is awful. The author doesn't even try to make a connection between the main character and the reader. I found myself skipping pages just to get through it, but should have saved myself the time and just quit after the first chapter.
Date published: 2016-12-11
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Not as good as expected I found that it was hard to resonate or get attached to the main character. I did not like this story as much as I thought I would, as the story focuses on the struggles that many women face today.
Date published: 2016-12-09
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Meh This book is meh, either you love it or you hate it. Maybe i'll read it again and change my mind
Date published: 2016-12-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Not bad I read this book, I really did love it. It dealt with a problem that women today struggle with so much. As well as a problem I have struggled with everyday. Great writing, moved at the right speed, the only thing is, I didn't like the main character, but I think in a way that was on purpose.
Date published: 2016-12-05
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Not a fan I don't understand what the hype around this book is... I didn't find it to be thought-provoking, I didn't find the lead character to have any type of personality... I just didn't get it.
Date published: 2016-12-02
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Not a fun There is something in this book that kept me of finishing it.
Date published: 2016-12-01
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Really disliked this book Awad seems to have written this book to capture every single negative stereotype about women of all sizes in one fell swoop - fat women are all bitter, unhealthy, maladjusted try-hards; thin women are all vapid; those in between are frumpy, unattractive, pathetic things that are barely worth mentioning. To try and better yourself is pathetic and senseless, according to Awad, but to accept yourself and "let yourself go" is even more so. This is not a funny story. There is very, very little wit, and absolutely no "bright spark of humor." I don't know what book the reviewers read, because it wasn't the one I did - the only real saving graces of this book are that it is mercifully short, and Awad's prose is smooth enough to rip through quickly. If I'd had to spend much longer on this, I would have simply put it down.
Date published: 2016-11-29
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Not as advertised When I heard this book was hilarious, I expected a more literary Bridget Jones-esque tale of growing up fat. This book was not hilarious at all. It is a fairly depressing look at one woman and how her weight shapes her relationships with those in her life. Maybe I would have liked it more if I'd gone in expecting something serious, because I did like how the book was structured and written. A good book if you are looking for a depressing book about a young woman progressing through different kinds of relationships. #plumreview
Date published: 2016-11-24
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Easy read but boring I found this book quite boring and with body issues and weight being an easy topic to relate to, I found it hard to relate with the main character. I also found this book to be quite rushed and would have liked to see more character and plot buildup. I wouldn't waste your money on this book but maybe go to the library instead.
Date published: 2016-11-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from I enjoyed reading this book! I enjoyed this book. I wish there was more.... There are parts of this book that I can relate to that I have experienced and witnessed. I think you will enjoy this read. It is different...
Date published: 2016-11-09
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Quick Read Zipped through this book in a couple of days. Body image is a huge issue no matter the size of a person. I would recommend this read. Although I am not sure I get the Giller nomination. Read previous reviews and would agree to the Bridget Jones reference.
Date published: 2016-11-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Brilliant. Expertly crafted. Brilliant. This book is not for those seeking "another Bridget Jones." Awad's accomplishment lies in her brave and skillful mining of the complicated relationships we have with our bodies, with each other, with ourselves. She does not shy away from what is dark, painful, or ugly but rather draws it out, expertly, and renders it poignant, richly revealing, and often surprisingly funny. There is a rare and unconventional pleasure to be drawn from such writing, and the book should be commended for its significant contribution, not as "chick lit" or as merely "a book about body image" but as a brilliantly sensitive and innovative work of contemporary literature.
Date published: 2016-03-11
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Depressing but interesting This isn't what I was expecting. I was looking forward to a charmingly funny story about a big girl who's uncomfortable with her body at first, but learns to love herself at whatever size she is. This is not that book. Through much of the book, I found it hard to identify with Lizzie, but around the middle I started to get more into the story and was more able to appreciate it for what it is: a story about a human who has a hard time liking herself because of her weight and low self esteem, and how it affects all of her relationships - with herself, her female friends, her husband, and her parents. I've seen this book described as "hilarious" and "funny" multiple times, but personally, I found the funny parts few and far between. And even then, I didn't find them so much funny as I did relateable. I have a complicated relationship with this book. On one hand, I found it hard to identify with the sad, angry Lizzie, but on the other hand it's interesting to read how her relationship with herself affected her relationships with other people. This feels like something I would have read in one of my university English classes, and I did always enjoy dissecting these kinds of stories because they raise important and interesting issues. Ultimately, I found "13 Ways" depressing, but it certainly made me think.
Date published: 2016-02-28

Read from the Book

She knows I’ve been coveting the von Furstenberg ever since I first stood on the other side of her shop window, watching her slip it over a white, nippleless mannequin, looping some ropes of fake pearls around its headless neck.  I didn’t know it was a von Furstenberg then.  I only knew it was precisely the sort of dress I dreamed of wearing when I used to eat muffins in the dark and watch Audrey Hepburn movies.  Before I knew brands, I’d make lists of the perfect dresses – and when I saw this dress it was like someone, perhaps even God, had found the list and spun it into existence.  Cobalt, formfitting, with a V in the front and one in the back.  Cute little bows all down the butt crack, like your ass is a present.  The sort of dress I’d wish to wear to attend the funeral of my former self, to scatter the ashes of who I was over a cliff’s edge.   “Can I try this on?” I asked her.

Editorial Reviews

WINNER OF THE AMAZON.CA FIRST NOVEL AWARD SHORTLISTED FOR THE GILLER PRIZENAMED 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 BOOK RIOTONE OF THE NP99: NATIONAL POST’S BEST BOOKS OF 2016 LONGLISTED FOR THE 2017 STEPHEN LEACOCK MEMORIAL MEDAL FOR HUMOURLONGLISTED FOR THE 2018 INTERNATIONAL IMPAC DUBLIN LITERARY AWARDFINALIST FOR THE COLORADO BOOK AWARD FOR LITERARY FICTIONARAB AMERICAN BOOK AWARD HONORABLE MENTION FOR FICTION“Beautifully told, with a profoundly sensitive understanding of the subject matter, it’s clear that all of the anticipation for this particular fiction debut was entirely warranted.”—The Globe and Mail“A brilliant and disturbing first novel.”—Literary Review of Canada“As a portrait of the body-image issues and low-level eating disorders that afflict almost all American women, 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl is devastatingly thorough, its 13 short stories as addictive as potato chips and as painful as the prospect of eating nothing but 4-ounce portions of steamed fish for the rest of your life.”—Chicago Tribune“Once in a while an elusive moment occurs when an author boldly states the exact thought that has often gone through our own minds.” —Blair Mlotek, The National Post“In subject and voice, there are echoes of Margaret Atwood’s The Edible Woman and Janice Galloway’s The Trick Is to Keep Breathing, but neither has the wit of 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl.”—The Irish Times“Blunt and funny, 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl is a refreshingly honest look at how society views physical appearance, how we internalize those critiques and how that affects the way we navigate the world.”—Mashable “This is a very good book of short stories from a very good writer—a linked collection that is addictive, while at the same time, like any addiction, increasingly painful.”—Maclean’s“Awad portrays Lizzie's humiliations with unflinching honesty and a dose of dark humor.”—NPR“With wit, sass and brutal honesty, Mona Awad has written a series of vignettes capturing a young woman’s struggle with self-acceptance.”—Winnipeg Free Press“[An] insightful debut novel . . . Awad’s sensitive, unflinching depiction of [Lizzie’s struggle] is a valuable addition to the canon of American womanhood.”—Time Magazine“This book sparkles with wit and at the same time comes across as so transparent and genuine—Awad knows how to talk about the raw struggles of female friendships, sex, contact, humanness, and her voice is a wry celebration of all of this at once.”—Aimee Bender, author of The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake “Hilarious and cutting . . . Mona Awad has a gift for turning the every day strange and luminous, for finding bright sparks of humor in the deepest dark. She is a strikingly original and strikingly talented new voice.”—Laura van den Berg, author of Find Me and The Isle of Youth  “It seems that Mona Awad can describe the imperfect nature of any love perfectly: whether it’s love between friends, between mother and daughter, husband and wife, woman and food. With sharp insight and sly humor, she makes you feel like you never understood the obsessive half-life of a food addict before. Not a word is wasted, and yet the book is bursting with richness and insight and observation. Each story works beautifully as a stand-alone piece and together they make a luminous whole, like a perfect string of pearls.”—Katherine Heiny, author of Single, Carefree, Mellow“Remarkable . . . committed to the most honest and painful portrayal and comprehension of what it means to be human, with all its flaws and joys.”—Brian Evenson, author of Fugue State and Immobility“Honest, searing, and necessary . . . [13 Ways] peels back the curtain on the struggles of entering womanhood—from body image, to relationships, to merely navigating the oh-so-cruel world."—Elle, “16 Novels by Women Everyone Will Be Talking About in 2016” “[Awad] skewers our body-image-obsessed culture with wit and honesty.”—The Toronto Star, “Five up-and-coming writers to watch in 2016”“Mona Awad writes exactly what you’re thinking, and that’s one of the many reasons you’re going to love her debut . . . [13 Ways] announces her as a writer with real insight not only to the mind, but also to the heart.” —Bustle.com, “17 Of 2016’s Most Anticipated Books”“In this dark, honest debut, Awad sharply observes—everywhere from online chat rooms to office break rooms—the struggles of growing up, growing out, and trying to slim down, at any cost.”—Marie Claire “As Lizzy examines the body she's never loved, our thin's-in, thigh-gap-crazy world comes into focus.”—Cosmo“A laugh-out-loud funny read that skewers our obsession with beauty and status . . . Lizzie is a character to love—she's imperfect and at times frankly difficult, but real, relatable, and memorable. If this book is anything to judge by, you'll be hearing lots more from and about Mona Awad, so don't miss it.”—W Dish“A painfully raw—and bitingly funny—debut . . . [Lizzie] gets under your skin, and she stays there. Beautifully constructed; a devastating novel but also a deeply empathetic one.”—Kirkus Reviews, (starred review)“Assured and terrific.”—Publishers Weekly“Touching . . . Behind the title of Awad’s sharp first book, a unique novel in 13 vignettes, is brazen-voiced Lizzie, who longs for, tests, and prods the deep center of the cultural promise that thinness, no matter how one achieves it, is the prerequisite for happiness.”—Booklist “Luminous . . . full of sharp insight and sly humor . . . It seems that Mona Awad can describe the imperfect nature of any love perfectly: whether it’s love between friends, between mother and daughter, husband and wife, woman and food.”—Katherine Heiny, author of Single, Carefree, Mellow “I loved this book!”—Molly Antopol, author of The UnAmericans