"Even sad stories are company. And perhaps that's why one might read such a chronicle, to look into a companionable darkness that isn't yours." --Mark Doty, Firebird.
It took me less that 24 hours to read this tragic coming-of-age tale. Fat Girl is by far one of the most well written contemporary memoirs I have come across in these past few years. The writing is immediate and very very raw; it will tear your heart out as it draws you in.
Judith Moore's ability to weave a rich haunting tale about her girlhood in a loveless home leaves me wanting so much more from this writer. She uses every sense to evoke the feeling and the anguish of the girl at the center of the story. I tasted food and felt repulsion at smells and empathized in every way with this honest account of growing up and being fat. I could not put this down. I simply loved this story she wrote.
This is not a happy story. The writer warns the reader at the start that there will be no happy endings. She gets no repreive, no prince in a white horse comes riding in, she doesn't magically loose a lot of weight. But the truth is, in spite of the tragedy of this young girl's life, you know that the very act of writing this has brought the author to truth and healing. Writing can cure our deepest wounds and somehow nurture us in a way that no one else can.
In fact, Moore concludes with this: I never turned suicidal, and I never jumped up happy. As I recounted those boys in my second grade class or my terror on weigh-in days or the beatings with the belt when my mother hissed, "I'm going to cut the blood out of you," I felt relief. Among reasons people keep sad stories to themselves is that they do not want anyone to feel sorry for them. I don't, I don't want you to feel sorry for me. I do not feel sorry for myself. I am what I am. I am glad I wrote this, and I am grateful--very grateful--that you kept me company while I did.
This book--and anything by Judith Moore--gets five stars. Read this to learn about memoir and really amazing, immediate writing.