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Fat Girl [Hardcover]

Judith Moore
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Book Description

March 1 2005
A nonfiction She's Come Undone, Fat Girl is a powerfully honest and compulsively readable memoir of obsession with food, and with one's body, penned by a Guggenheim and NEA award-winning writer.

For any woman who has ever had a love/hate relationship with food and with how she looks; for anyone who has knowingly or unconsciously used food to try to fill the hole in his heart or soothe the craggy edges of his psyche, Fat Girl is a brilliantly rendered, angst-filled coming-of-age story of gain and loss. From the lush descriptions of food that call to mind the writings of M. F. K. Fisher at her finest, to the heartbreaking accounts of Moore's deep longing for a family and a sense of belonging and love, Fat Girl stuns and shocks, saddens and tickles.

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From Amazon

Judith Moore's breathtakingly frank memoir, Fat Girl, is not for the faint of heart. It packs more emotional punch in its slight 196 pages than any doorstopper confessional. But the author warns us in her introduction of what's to come, and she consistently delivers. "Narrators of first-person claptrap like this often greet the reader at the door with moist hugs and complaisant kisses," Moore advises us bluntly. "I won't. I will not endear myself. I won't put on airs. I am not that pleasant. The older I get the less pleasant I am. I mistrust real-life stories that conclude on a triumphant note.... This is a story about an unhappy fat girl who became a fat woman who was happy and unhappy." With that, Moore unflinchingly leads us backward into a heartbreaking childhood marked by obesity, parental abuse, sexual assault, and the expected schoolyard bullying. What makes Fat Girl especially harrowing, though, is Moore's obvious self-loathing and her eagerness to share it with us. "I have been taking a hard look at myself in the dressing room's three-way mirror. Who am I kidding? My curly hair forms a corona around my round scarlet face, from the chin of which fat has begun to droop. My swollen feet in their black Mary Janes show from beneath the bottom hem of the ridiculous swaying skirt. The dressing room smells of my beefy stench. I should cry but I don't. I am used to this. I am inured." Moore's audaciousness in describing her apparently awful self ensures that her reader is never hardened to the horrors of food obsession and obesity. And while it is at times excruciatingly difficult bearing witness to Moore's merciless self-portraits, the reader cannot help but be floored by her candor. With Fat Girl, Moore has raised the stakes for autobiography while reminding us that our often thoughtless appraisals of others based on appearances can inflict genuine harm. It's a painful lesson well worth remembering. --Kim Hughes

From Publishers Weekly

In her memoir of growing up fat, Moore, who previously wrote about food in Never Eat Your Heart Out, employs her edgy, refreshingly candid voice to tell the story of a little girl who weighed 112 pounds in second grade; whose father abandoned her to a raging, wicked mother straight out of the Brothers Grimm; whose lifelong dieting endeavors failed as miserably as her childhood attempts to find love at home. As relentless as this catalogue of beatings, humiliation and self-loathing can be, it's tolerable—even inspiring in places—because Moore pulls it off without a glimmer of self-pity. The book does have some high points, especially while Moore is stashed at the home of a kind uncle who harbors his own secrets, but the happiest moments are tinged with dread. Who can help wondering what will become of this tortured and miserable child? Alas, Moore cuts her story short after briefly touching on an unsatisfying reunion with her father and her two failed marriages. The ending feels hurried, but perhaps the publication of this book will give Moore's story the happy ending she deserves.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
This is not the first autobiographical memoir written by Moore. -Never Eat Your Heart Out- was a mixture of personal history with food factoids. Except for a few pages on being a fat adult most of -Fat Girl- is about Moore's childhood. Low self esteem ruled her life because of her abusive mother and grandmother. Days that were suppose to be filled with laughter, friends and special moments, were filled with routine torments of pinching, hair pulling and name calling. All supposedly because she was her father's daughter. The only sense of well being young Julia experienced was when she ate.
It's important to note this book is titled 'Fat Girl' not 'Fat Girls'. This is the story of one fat girl and her struggle to find love and is not meant to be a representation of all fat girls. Although any abused child (fat or not) may find glimpses of their life within these pages. Moore insists, "All I will do here is tell my story."
Moore divulges the history of fat amongst the people in her family but mostly her and her father. Many pages are dedicated to her father's love of food and their struggle with "This will be the last. I'll eat no more," syndrome. It's obvious throughout that young Judith is searching for and aches for love. Which she never seems to find.
The first person account is depressing on so many levels. After the first chapter I debated about not reading any further. In fact, numerous times I thought about quitting. There is a lot of self loathing which becomes quickly unnerving. It's interesting, in a voyeuristic kind of way I guess.
Little Judith comes across as neurotic numerous times. When she lived with her grandmother she would sic the dog on the hens and watch them die with "disorienting pleasure".
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars It reads like a takeout menu April 24 2009
Format:Paperback
I realy did try to enjoy this but in all honesty it was paragraph after paragraph of food she or others have eaten, would like to eat, think about eating, have seen others eat... There are very small bits of her history thrown in but not enough to hold my intrest.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I gulped down this book! March 8 2006
By Kay
Format:Paperback
I literally read this book in one sitting! It's sad and funny at the same time. I could relate to the author in some ways, not that I grew up fat but I grew up in a dysfunctional family with an alcoholic father. There was alot of emotional and verbal abuse. I laughed my head off at the "Nazi in the barnyard" part! (I had a mother like that!) It's difficult not to feel sorry for the author, I hope that it was cathartic for her to write this book, and that now she is in a good place in her life. I wish her the best! She is very brave and blunt.
Her story is inspiring to those who grew up with similar circumstances and to those who didn't. At least she has taught me to accept who I am and be brave and true to myself.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Understanding Abuse March 7 2005
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
This is one of those rare books to help you to understand what abuse can do to the inner workings of the mind. Judith moore shows strength and courage in writing about her life, her self inflicted pain, (just wanting someone to love her through thick and thin)and her fight to rise above it. Excellent book!
For those looking for similar reads, I want to point out-Nightmares Echo, Smashed and The Glass Castle
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Eye-opener July 13 2007
Format:Paperback
This book was popular a while back, and I read it then. Now, evidently more have discovered it. Why more is not made of family dysfuction/abuse and overweight children is beyond me. FAT GIRL is not the happy ending you might expect, but it will open your eyes to why you do the things you do regarding food and relationships. If you're interested in fiction dealing with dysfunctional famlies, I'd suggest the books "I Know This Much is True" and "Bark of the Dogwood," but if you want a great self-help one, try "You Can Heal Your Life" by Louise Hay.
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