memoir / review

Fatty Fatty Boom Boom: A Memoir of Food, Fat, and Family by Rabia Chaudry

I didn’t read her first book until right before I picked this one up. As I read it, I thought she really should have made it a memoir about how she became obsessed with Adan Syed during what seemed like many low points during her life. She talked a lot about her personal life in that book in a way that was distracting due to the subject matter but clearly she had a lot of thoughts about her personal life she wanted to express.

Fatty Fatty Boom Boom seemed like a good way to do that. She barely mentions Adan Syed at all which is good, preferable even and instead focuses on her weight.

I read a lot of memoirs and they generally fall into two categories. They either are actual reflections on their life and have some introspection and depth or they are telling you stories that paint a picture of the type of person they are and their emotional state without seemingly realizing it. This book is firmly in the latter category.

I was hoping it would be more about food and family as the subtitle suggests but it’s really about weight and her obsession with fatness. She lovingly details meals she eats both here and on trips to Pakistan but always brings it back to how much she weighs at the time. She talks about her relationship with her parents but again, it’s always framed around her weight, their weight and physical appearance.

Twice she recounts the graphic death of different family pets in the childhood section and even they are linked to food and eating.

There is virtually no introspection at all. She briefly considers the idea that she has internalized fatphobia and then moves on. She describes years of binge eating and self loathing but never really looks at that. She never talks about her actual health or concerns doctors may have (if they have any) just that she is “fat” and “obese” and unattractive. Her family and first husband and his family make constant comments about weight and attractiveness to her. Her second husband is also a yo yo dieter but seems more supportive of her at any size. The largest size she seems to be is around a size 16 and this is clearly unacceptable to her. She mentions once that it is known scientifically that diets don’t really work but never really reflects on what that means in her life.

She decides to get a gastric sleeve, keeping it secret from most people in her life without doing seemingly any research. She is surprised at the changes to her body and ability to eat and immediately does not follow any of the post op instructions.

Towards the end she find some new scheme to lose weight via strength training and “resetting” her gastric sleeve and seemingly decides that will be enough. Maybe it will be but reading about the rest of her life and it’s patterns it seems unlikely. At one point she is losing so much weight so quickly her family and friends think she has cancer.

I think this book may be deeply upsetting to anyone who also struggles with disordered eating or is sensitive about weight issues. In it she shares exactly what size she is and what weight she is when she is what she considered disgustingly fat and it’s around the size of the average American woman. She shares this information, details about her binge eating, sudden extreme exercise and calorie restriction in a lot of detail dozens of times.

One positive is that the writing in this book is much better than the one she wrote about the Hae Min Lee case. I think it helped that she was just giving her opinions and feelings in this book rather than trying to connect it to any real facts or reality. I also think she may have had an editor.

I truly hope this woman gets the mental health care she needs. This book is the panicked, depressed diary of a woman obsessed with her weight who is clearly still in the depths of some sort of disordered eating and exercise patterns.

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