Winner of the Amazon.ca First Novel Award
Shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize
Longlisted for the 2017 Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour
Longlisted for the 2018 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award
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.
About the author
- Long-listed, International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award
- Long-listed, Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour
- Winner, Colorado Book Award for Literary Fiction
- Winner, Amazon Canada First Novel Award
- Short-listed, Scotiabank Giller Prize
MONA AWAD is the author of Bunny and 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl, a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize that won the Amazon Canada First Novel Award, the Colorado Book Award, and an Honorable Mention from the Arab American Book Awards. It was also longlisted for the International Dublin Literary Award and the Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour. The recipient of an MFA in Fiction from Brown University and a PhD in English and Creative Writing from the University of Denver, she has published work in Time, VICE, Electric Literature, McSweeney's, Los Angeles Review of Books, and elsewhere. She currently lives in Boston.
Excerpt: 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl (by (author) Mona Awad)
She knows I’ve been coveting the von Furstenberg ever since I first stood on the other side of her shop window, watching her slip it over a white, nippleless mannequin, looping some ropes of fake pearls around its headless neck. I didn’t know it was a von Furstenberg then. I only knew it was precisely the sort of dress I dreamed of wearing when I used to eat muffins in the dark and watch Audrey Hepburn movies. Before I knew brands, I’d make lists of the perfect dresses – and when I saw this dress it was like someone, perhaps even God, had found the list and spun it into existence. Cobalt, formfitting, with a V in the front and one in the back. Cute little bows all down the butt crack, like your ass is a present. The sort of dress I’d wish to wear to attend the funeral of my former self, to scatter the ashes of who I was over a cliff’s edge.
“Can I try this on?” I asked her.
WINNER OF THE AMAZON.CA FIRST NOVEL AWARD
SHORTLISTED FOR THE GILLER PRIZE
A NATIONAL POST BEST BOOKS OF 2016
LONGLISTED FOR THE 2017 STEPHEN LEACOCK MEMORIAL MEDAL FOR HUMOUR
LONGLISTED FOR THE 2018 INTERNATIONAL IMPAC DUBLIN LITERARY AWARD
FINALIST FOR THE COLORADO BOOK AWARD FOR LITERARY FICTION
ARAB AMERICAN BOOK AWARD HONORABLE MENTION FOR FICTION
“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
“Once in a while an elusive moment occurs when an author boldly states the exact thought that has often gone through our own minds.” —Blair Mlotek, The National Post
“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
Other titles by Mona Awad
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