Angry Fat Girls: 5 Women, 500 Pounds and a Year of Losing It...Again By Frances Kuffel

Some really amazing things about this book, and some disappointing stuff as well. I loved (and now would like to reread) Frances Kuffel's first book, Passing for Thin, which I found smart and moving and beautifully written. In a way, it's unfair to compare it to Angry Fat Girls, because Passing for Thin is a pretty straightforward memoir, and Angry Fat Girls a more ambitious nonfiction novel. So, kudos to Frances Kuffel for attempting something different, and probably much more difficult to write. And there are lots of other positives. Her subject matter is so important, and Kuffel has first-hand experience of being both thin and fat, and she writes bravely and honestly. I was never bored (though sometimes confused--more on that in a bit), and I did learn a lot. Kuffel makes a great case for the truly addictive qualities of sugar, and for the connection between sugar addiction and mood; there's a fascinating section about the theory that people who get addicted to sugar don't create enough feel-good hormones on their own, so they compensate by eating sugar (usually, a lot of it) just to feel normal.

But the disappointing bits were... disappointing--I suppose because I wanted to love the book more. I found it hard to sort out the other four characters and it took me until at least page 100 to begin to do so, probably because the writing jumps around from one woman to another so often, as well as back and forth between Kuffel's own story and scientific information related to weight/food/obesity. I was confused and sometimes frustrated, as well, because some especially interesting parts of the women's stories never get followed up on: there's a wonderful, sad, disturbing scene of one woman crying on her wedding day; when she re-enters the book later she's much older and clearly not married anymore, and she's also gained a lot of weight... what happened?? The book is organized chronologically, but even that didn't make sense to me; much of what happens in each chapter doesn't seem to have a connection to what happened in the previous one. Some of Kuffel's musings are so intelligent and relate-able, and others I found just mysterious. And she is such a likeable, smart, empathetic character... I suppose in the end I really just wanted to read more about her, and less about the other women I never really got to know anyway. I wanted to know more about her horrible abusive crazy boss, and being fired, and what the months after that were like, and how she got better. Now I hope she will write another memoir--she has so much important stuff to say. Frances Kuffel I read Kuffel's first memoir, Passing for Thin, a few years ago, and I remembered liking it, so I was looking forward to reading this follow-up. In that first book, Kuffel lost half her body weight and found herself on what she called the Planet of Thin. But her stay (like that of most people who lose weight) wasn't permanent. Over the next few years, during which she was promoting her book and blogging about her life, she regained half the weight. Through her blog, she met several women in the same situation, weight loss relapsers trying to lose the weight again. In this book, she tells her story as it intersects with these other women.

Unfortunately, this is where the book falls apart. She decides to write a non-fiction novel - while her own details are true, the other women are cast as fictional characters. My constant wondering about who these women really were kept distracting me from the story at hand. Kuffel also threads scientific research results about eating and obesity through the narrative. This is sometimes interesting, but mostly awkward. The writing style vacillates between straightforward journalism, nostalgic memoir, and florid prose, with chapter endings particularly susceptible to strangely philosophical meanderings.

The once-and-again-obese person trying to lose the weight for good is such a promising subject, but this doesn't quite feel like it was the book Kuffel was trying to write, which makes it doubly disappointing. Frances Kuffel I haven't read Passing for Thin and after reading this book, I don't think I will. Frances makes it sound like being thin is the holy grail. As a fat person, I don't want to be thin. I want to be healthy and Frances and her non fiction characters clearly aren't healthy.

I rarely will make it through a non fiction book unless it's about parenting and even then I have to force myself. This was a book I forced myself to finish as I've struggled with my weight and my demons all my 36 years. I don't know if I thought maybe this book would have an answer but I sure felt it would have more than it had. All it seemed to have were angry excuses.

However, the end about truth and facts really resonated with me and for that part alone, I think this was a worthwhile book. The facts are I'm obese, I have a bad relationship with food and I have always been overweight. The truths are that I'm a great person, a loving wife and caring mother. I'm more than the number on my scale and I hope one day Frances and her characters and her followers will believe the truths over the facts and let that guide them through life a little less angry if not a little less heavy. Frances Kuffel This book was NOTHING like I thought it would be. And not in a good way, either. I was bored out of my mind throughout most of it. It was very confusing because it switches from past to present to past over and over again, even though the chapters are set to read in chronological order. I felt like it was a fat power book... or a why we hate thin people book. It also made some fun of people who are only 100 or so pounds overweight, because those people couldn't possibly know what the author went through as a fat person.
A lot of this book seemed like a reference book about fat culture and thin culture, and the diet industry. Less than 5% of the book was about the Angry Fat Girls losing the weight. Frances Kuffel Fascinating, but kind of disorganized. Frances Kuffel

A funny, painfully honest memoir about five women as they diet and eat, lose and gain, and struggle to find their individual definition of freedom along the way
Like so many women, Frances Kuffel wondered: how could this happen again? She'd transformed her life by losing 188 pounds-but, like the vast majority of dieters, she transformed it again by gaining over half those pounds back. After all the struggle and hard work she somehow lost control, once again forced to carry nearly unbearable physical and psychological weight.
But she also found new friends, in particular, four women in similar situations-and similar bad moods-whom she met online. Frances, Lindsay, Katie, Mimi, and Wendy dubbed themselves the Angry Fat Girlz and shared not just rage but embarrassment and fear, fragile hope, and a mutual obsession with shoes. They asked themselves-and each other-the difficult questions: Who am I inside all this weight? How much am I allowed to enjoy myself, and how much do I have to deny myself? What could I do if I was thin?
In Angry Fat Girls, Frances Kuffel shares their story and struggle to find their best selves along the way.
Angry Fat Girls: 5 Women, 500 Pounds and a Year of Losing It...Again

This book was hard to read due to poor sentence construction and a lack of structure. Probably this book should have stayed a blog. Frances Kuffel A weird combination of fiction and statistics. You get the feeling that the author is incredibly unhappy. An interesting look into the world of the super morbidly obese. Scary. Frances Kuffel I couldn’t finish it! I was expecting to read about five women’s perspective on losing 100 pounds. It is one women dissecting what she think other women are thinking about why they are losing weight or can’t lose weight or why they blog or why they say thing to each other or I don’t even know. I never felt as if I was reading a story. So I did what o rarely do with books stopped trying to finish and returned the book( library) ! Frances Kuffel I understand about what readers say about her fictionalizing her friends or fellow bloggers, but I learned a lot. I've read a lot about women's issues, having been a woman for 65 years. The book brought to light how insidious (on not!!) the messages are that you get growing up. Those core beliefs (the story you make up for yourself) are there for life. All you can do is get better at overriding them when you become aware of them. Frances Kuffel This book gave me insight into the lives of women struggle with being overweight. But it is much deeper than just the extra pounds. There are the emotions, the psychology involved, the physical struggles that happen from carrying excess weight. It is the stigma, the self-loathing, the false and sometimes accurate self-perceptions or negative perceptions of others placed upon the overweight. Candidly and courageously written. Frances Kuffel

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