Book Review – Fat Girl

Fat Girl: A True StoryFat Girl: A True Story by Judith Moore

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

This book is absolutely heartbreaking. I feel all raw and vulnerable and sensitized after reading it.

This memoir is non-apologetic. Moore isn’t looking for sympathy or understanding, she didn’t make any great discoveries or overcome her pain. She just wants to tell her story. And her story is achingly sad.

Moore was a fat girl, growing up. Her father left when she was only four, and her childhood became incredibly difficult. She was unwanted, and unloved. She began to hate herself, because if her parents and grandparents didn’t want her, if they didn’t love her, why should she love herself? In search of something to fill that huge, empty void inside of herself, she began to eat. And it’s as though once she made that decision, she couldn’t come back. Her body wouldn’t let her, even when she tried to lose weight, even when she starved herself, her body wouldn’t respond. She watched kids at school eat the foods she wanted, and even resorted into stealing food to try to comfort herself.

Once she started school, of course, kids were cruel. I went through a lot of very similar bullying, because I was a fat kid, too. I know how it feels, which is probably why I had such a visceral reaction to the book.

This book is a little hard to read, at least for the soft-hearted. It is well-written, though I wish that she had gone into the teenage years with as much depth as she treated her grammar school years.

The saddest part for me is that even as an adult, the author never worked through her self-hatred. I go through periods of it, but not with the viciousness with which she treats herself. And she’s passed away since finishing the book, which means she isn’t going to get to a self-love place in her life, which is a very sad footnote. She even mentions, toward the end of the book, the fact that one of her daughters is one of those women who can eat whatever she wants and barely exercise and still is thin. I wanted to shake her and tell her to stop comparing herself, but… I know how hard that is.

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