Customer Review

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brutally honest and touching, 1 Jan. 2008
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This review is from: Passing for Thin: Losing Half My Weight and Finding My Self (Paperback)
I'm surprised at the negative reviews I've read regarding this book. It seemed to me that these reviewers disliked the idea that the author really hated being fat and was unable to fully accept herself at that weight. To me, this seems perfectly reasonable. It's WHY she wanted to lose this weight and WHY she finally DID lose this weight. It's why ALL dieting people lose the weight. They dislike fat. Aesthetically, many people find obesity unattractive. Although one may not like this fact of life, it IS indeed a fact of life. Furthermore, for some, obesity epitomizes the idea of indulgence and a lack of caring of themselves.

I found this memoir to be particularly touching. Frances is brutally honest when she recalls how she used to sneak food, and lots of it, as a child. She recalls the pain she felt being fat, how she knew she was considered and judged-- fairly or not.

What I found most interesting of all is how Frances had to learn behaviors that most women take for granted. As preteens and teens, we learn to flirt, to make ourselves attractive to the opposite sex, to talk to others, to dress, to put on makeup, etc. We learn how to attract attention from others, to meet potential dates, mates, etc. All this is natural for most of us.

For Frances, however, none of this was a natural progression. As an obese adolescent who never felt attractive, she never learned how to flirt because she never felt as if she was attractive enough to meet others. One of the negative reviewers stated derisively that Frances referred to herself as a girl. I didn't make that distinction when I read the book, but it's only fitting. She missed a normal girlhood-- the makeup, the hair, the sleepovers with girls where you giggle about boys and sex. All of this was foreign to Frances. And, she was never treated as a cute little girl or "an attractive woman" growing up. So, when she was all of a sudden thrust into the world of being considered attractive, of having people respond to her as if she was an attractive woman, she had to learn all of the behaviors that most of us just learned from living.

I have a family member who is the author's former size. I can see, in her, many of the qualities the author shares with us about being obese. It's really not her weight alone that makes her different from other women I know, it's what that weight caused her to miss out on as a child an adolescent and how it shaped her outlook as an adult.

I completely recommend this book to anyone. Whether weight has been an issue in one's life or not, this author's journey is inspiring and true.

ADDENDUM:
The author of this book included me on her blog postings on the US Amazon site. After this book was written, she re-gained much of her weight. And she has a hard time taking responsibility for it-- blaming society, her addiction to food, etc. I'm only mentioning it because the author really comes off a lot differently than she did in this book. This book was wonderful and presents one facet of her, only.
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