Fat Girl, Skinny
by Amye Archer

Big Table Publishing Company, 2016. ISBN 978-0-996-98870-4.
Reviewed by Cinda Brooks
Posted on 08/01/2016

Nonfiction: Faith/Spirituality/Inspiration

Amye Archer draws the reader into her battle of the bulge and so much more. She shares her reflections, questions, and brutal self-loathing as she journeys through a seemingly endless series of poor decisions. Bullied and wounded as a girl because of her weight, she fills the cavernous emotional wounds with secret addictions with food, alcohol, and boys.

At 265 pounds and 10 years of marriage, Amye's husband divorces her for a skinnier younger woman leaving Amye floundering. Determined to face her addiction, she begins the tumultuous journey to rebuild her lost self-esteem, find acceptance for herself, and find balance in her life. Archer gives the reader a realistic look into the battle with weight as she recounts her experience in Weight Watchers: "If you listen close enough you will hear the hum of something darker. Ribbons laced with bulimia, starvation, and self-loathing so deep the bottom could pop out at any second. Strings of pain, fear, absolute anguish. Whispers, really. Hushed stories..."

Amye Archer somehow makes the reader cringe, laugh, and cheer with her at the same time reflecting on his or her own battle with self-esteem and addiction. Her truths are universal-drugs, porn, or alcohol could be substituted for food when she says, "I think about what I've done and want to puke. I want to cry, hit something, drown myself, whatever will make the remorse dissipate. I have once again given in to my urge, the obsession, a force controlling the very center of me. This is the face of food addiction. We promise, we disappoint, we eat, we feel bad, we repeat. It's a daily struggle for metabolic sobriety. A vicious cycle of self-sabotage."

Archer's masterful writing is rich, real, and descriptive, giving glimpses into the cruel battle while giving truths to slowly win the battle against addictions integrating lifestyle change and self-acceptance. I would recommend this book to anyone that battles with low self-esteem or addictions of any kind or anyone who loves and supports someone who does. Reader be warned, it's a rugged battle told in a very real way. Perhaps a PG rating would be recommended because of its sexually explicit scenes.

Amye Archer holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Wilkes University, and currently teaches at The University of Scranton. Amye's full-length poetry collection includes BANGS, A Shotgun Life, and No One Ever Looks Up. Amye's work has appeared in Nailed Magazine, PMS: Poem Memoir Story, PANK, and various journals. She currently lives in Northeast, PA, with her husband Tim, and their twin daughters Samantha and Penelope. Visit her website.

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