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Fat Girl: A True Story Hardcover – March 7, 2005

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Hudson Street Press; 1st edition (March 7, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594630097
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594630095
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.8 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (141 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,015,474 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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

Thank you Judith Moore for sharing your very personal story with the world!
C. Kalman
Fat Girl is the story of a woman with a very real struggle, who shows the power of consequences when a parent fails to do their job.
I just felt the end was a little rushed and she could've taken her time on it, but perhaps it's too painful for her.
Dead Kennedys

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

40 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Bruce J. Wasser on May 25, 2006
Format: Paperback
Judith Moore never tells us exactly how much she weighs. She doesn't need to. Throughout her sobering, scathing and terrifying memoir, we know. She is fat. "Fat Girl" ought be read by every American teen-ager; its unusual conversational voice, absolute candor and terrifying storytelling give the memoir a transcendent authenticity. Moore's courage is astounding; her willingness to divulge the most intimate aspects of her hellish life makes the memoir almost too-painful to read.

Self-loathing permeates Moore's description of herself. Her arms "are as big as those maroon-skinned bolognas that hang from butchers' ceilings." The skin on her thighs is "pocked, not unlike worn foam rubber." Her repugnant odors humiliate her. She doesn't perspire; she cascades sweat. Judith Moore is a "short, squat toad of a woman."

It is no surprise to hear her confide: "I hate myself. I have almost always hated myself...because I am fat." Moore unflinchingly instructs us that food provides comfort; it becomes "the mother, the father, the warm-hearted lover." But it is also the curse. As a "fatso," More knows that she elicits disgust, pity, disapproval, condescension and embarrassment. As one drunken date confesses, she's "too fat to [fornicate]."

The author is unrelenting in her staggering self-description and equally uncompromising when she details her horrifying childhood. Abandoned by her father and brutalized by both her mother and maternal grandmother, Moore spiritually "had been starved." She never experienced love. In an exquisite metaphor, she likens herself to the three little pigs; she was the one "who built a house of fat to keep from the door the ravening wolf from whose long teeth dark blood dribbled.
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76 of 89 people found the following review helpful By Dart on March 14, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This is one of the most intense books that I have read in the past few years. Having been slim and heavy during by life, I have experienced the perks and attention given to attractive people, and the invisibility given to someone when they are fat. I could feel her pain and longing, that I too felt as a child. A void that could never be filled. Her honesty is amazing and courageous, and on top of that the book is just beautifully written. Amazing.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By R.M. on January 15, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This book had me hooked from the first sentence. Judith Moore makes no apologies for her blunt and honest prose, and she even prepares you for it. She makes no attempts to "sugarcoat" anything about her life, and I admired her bravery in doing so.

What I did not admire were the instances where complete strangers ridiculed her or treated her with disdain, and she rehashes many of these scenes for the reader. Especially disgusting was the time a blonde woman, walking down the street carrying a bag of Kentucky Fried Chicken, had her bag of dinner attacked by Moore's little dog, who smelled the food and grabbed the bag with her teeth. The blonde's dinner went all over the sidewalk, and she reprimanded Moore for not keeping better hold of her dog. Moore sincerely apologized and handed the woman a $20. Was she grateful? Of course not. She gave Moore a dirty look and hurried away. Keep in mind that the chicken dinner probably cost six bucks at the most.

I am very sad for the author and immensely angry at a society that treats overweight people this way. I honestly had no idea that total strangers vocalized their disgust so readily, without thought to anyone's feelings. It really opened my eyes to the prejudices that obese people face.

What Judith Moore has done is something almost every woman has done at some point in her life--belittle herself. Most women do not publish their self-loathing, however, and that is what makes this book so astonishing. Fat or thin, male or female, this book has something that everyone can understand. Heartwrenching and true, you'll end up wishing it was just really really good fiction.
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53 of 65 people found the following review helpful By S. Edwards on March 12, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Why is it that all the size positive books out there seem to sink into oblivion, but yet another self- and fat-hating book gets touted to the skies? That the author had a traumatizing childhood is undeniable. That this childhood makes every woman smell like "meat" and every fat person worthless is ridiculous, offensive, and hateful. This book is anti-woman and anti-size, and is written with the language of an adult, but the emotional knee-jerk reaction of a child. The author's childhood makes my heart ache, but it's time to grow up.
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99 of 126 people found the following review helpful By K. Barron on March 7, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Judith Moore is a gifted writer. This is a horrifying book.

I could have seen it coming from the quotation on the inside cover from Frances Kuffel, author of Passing For Thin : "Judith Moore is lost in the seascape of the overweight, and food is the Circe whose enchantment turns humans into swine. Oh, but the words of that spell!" This is not the only time in this book that fat people are compared to swine, elephants, and a variety of other animals -- it happens frequently.

In spite of the fact that she mentions that not every fat woman is like herself ... and in spite of the fact that in her story it is clear that genetics has a LOT to do with being fat (in fact, in the end, she talks of her two daughters, the thin one who eats nonstop and is lazy and inactive, and the fat one who is so painfully careful about what she eats and is extremely active) ... this book is like taking all of the fat hatred that ever existed and giving it legitimacy and power. You can see where it comes from. You can see where this woman learned to hate herself and her fat. But it's not like other books such as Shadow on a Tightrope where there is dismay at the horrible treatment of fat people. There is no battlecry --which she states clearly in the beginning -- she is NO fat activist.

That was an understatement. If you want to read how fat people are ugly and disgusting ... and even if it isn't their fault, they smell and are out of control and deserve to be hated and ridiculed -- thisis the book to read.
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