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by Julie Edelson
In between working for BOOM magazine,
maintaining her marriage to her unhealthy husband,
and dealing with her cranky mother-in-law and should-be-flown-from-the-nest-but-aren't kids, Rochelle Fabrikant tells us about her friendship with
her rock of Gibraltar, Gertrude, who one day suddenly rejects her
lifelong role of "the fat friend".
From the traumatic teen years
to cresting the hill of middle age, Shell could always rely on who she
was when she was with Tru. But now that Tru is redefining the
lines of who she is, Shell learns that there is truth in the
old idea that to have a
friend one must be a friend.
What worked for me:
This book gave me a lot to ponder about the place of women in the
western world, and though it could have come across as preachy I felt
that for the most part the messages were well couched within the
The dynamics of the relationship between Shell and Tru, and how much
they relied on Tru's weight, were fascinating. As her
weight changed, their relationship changed, and Shell was forced to
reevaluate her thoughts about her friend. (Which, in all honesty, is
only sensible. No one should freeze frame their angst-ridden
preteen mindset, not even toward their dearest friends.)
At the risk of gushing, I must say I just loved the ending,
bittersweet though it was.
Size-wise Shell sounded to be on the comfortable side of average and
Tru began the story as abundant.
What didn't work for me:
I had to agree with Shell when she queried Tru as to how she had all
the details in the stories she related about various people. And
with her pattern of speech, she sounded every bit as much the writer
as Shell! (Some of those conversational
vignettes seemed like they would work well in a stage play.)
The womyn's retreat, "Even Song," seemed like something right out of a
Margaret Atwood or Marion Zimmer Bradley
story. Very intense, to say the least.
not sure if I am just sensitive to the subject because of my personal
history or the fact that I have read several stories along similar
lines in the last year was lodged in my subconscious mind, but I
figured out long before Shell what was really happening with her dear
friend. What I am not so sure of is whether or not I was
meant to do so.
"The Fat Friend" was an interesting, thought-provoking read
with a few laughs thrown in to lighten the mood of an otherwise heart
Warning: there are some coarse words,
weight loss, and sexual references in this book. (Don't let the
weight loss piece put you off, though.)
If you liked
"The Fat Friend" you might also enjoy
"Love at Large", "All of
Me", "Inappropriate Men",
"The Saving Graces", "Sisterhood Situation", "Circle of Friends",
"Princess Charming", "Fast Women", "The
High Price of a Good Man", "Good in Bed",
"Etta Mae's Little Theory", or the
"Odelia Grey" series.
Have you read
this book and have a comment to
make on it? Join a discussion about the book at the Dangerous Curves
or submit a review
to this website.