Lizzie’s suburban childhood struggle is compelling and as a former and current resident of suburbia the search for something unique is something I can relate to. Yet, the overwhelming sadness of the title character brings this story down, which I guess is the point.
I am no stranger to sad stories, my tween self was a huge fan of the dark and depressing, but one thing that those adolescent stories had that this one doesn’t was dimension. 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl would suggest that there is more than one way of seeing someone, but it felt very one note to me. The chapters are fragments of Lizzie’s life that were too disjointed to blend together. 13 Ways follows Lizzie through young teens to adulthood, but I never got the sense of any character development no matter how much the scale moved up and down. There is lots of self reflection of the brow beating kind, but little humor or lightness. Its heaviness felt oppressing and while I wanted to cheer for Lizzie I couldn’t get past the overwhelming self pity. While I truly appreciated the strong writing I wished some of that strength could have found its way into Lizzie’s psyche. I wouldn’t save this for a rainy day, but it’s worth a looksie for the curious.
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