13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl

Publisher: Penguin Canada
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.

PRAISE FOR

Winner of the Amazon.ca First Novel Award


“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

“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