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Passing for Thin: Losing Half My Weight and Finding My Selfby Frances Kuffel
Synopses & Reviews
An intimate and darkly comic memoir of a woman who does a 180 with her body.
In the opening pages of Passing for Thin, Frances Kuffel waits at the airport to be picked up by her brother, Jim. He strides past her without a glimmer of recognition because she barely resembles the woman he is expecting to see. Jim had last seen her when she was 188 pounds heavier.
What follows is one of the most piercing explorations of the limits and promises of a body since Lucy Grealys Autobiography of a Face. With unflinching honesty and a wickedly dark sense of humor, Frances describes her first fumbling introductions to the slender, alien body she is left with after losing half her weight, shining a light on the shared human experience of feeling, at times, uncomfortable in ones own skin.
Buoyed by support from a group of fellow compulsive eaters she deems “the Stepfords,” Frances adjusts not only to her new waistline, but to a strange new worldthe Planet of Thinwhere she doesnt speak the language and doesnt know the rules. Her lifetime of obesity had robbed her of the joys of lovers, a husband, childrenand even made it impossible to enjoy a movie, when standing in line was too painful, or travel, when airplane seats were too smalland hadnt prepared her for the unexpected attention from strangers, the deep pleasure of trying on a tailored suit, the satisfaction of a good run on a treadmill, or for the saucy fun of flirting and dating. She joyfully moves from observer to player, while struggling to enjoy the freedom her new shape has given her.
As Frances gradually comes to knowand lovethe stranger in the mirror, she learns that this body does not define her, but enables her to become the woman shes always wanted to be.
"Above all, Kuffel tells a great story. She possesses an eye for detail, a knack for dialogue and a remarkable sense of humor in the face of adversity....Kuffel sees humor even when writing of serious events." Publishers Weekly
"Not another how-to guide to weight loss, but a smart, sassy, offbeat, funny-sad account....Weight-loss programs suggest that happiness comes when fat goes, but Kuffel's clear-eyed account reveals a far more complicated truth." Kirkus Reviews
"[Kuffel's] trip from the 'Planet of Fat' to the 'Planet of Girls' is funny, heartbreaking, and very, very real." Library Journal
"This is a book that will grab you and hold you in its grip, and break your heart even as it inspires you. Frances Kuffel's memoir is so real, so alive with honesty and clarity, you will never forget it....Kuffel is our confessional poet of fatness, and the struggle toward fitness, beauty, love. She is entertaining and tough, vivid and funny, in a story of victory that will delight every single reader." Robert Morgan, author of Brave Enemies
"Frances Kuffel set out on a true adventure, navigated the dangers, endured, and emerged transfigured. What makes her tale intriguing is that the terrain in question was her own body and its tyrannies. This is a story for our times from a writer with the language, courage and experience to tell it." Deidre McNamer, author of Rima in the Weeds and My Russian
"This book is simply riveting. There is not a woman who's ever carried more than her share of body weight, who won't identify with every word that Frances Kuffel has written. Kuffel's journey is rich in wit and wisdom. Her book is a jewel and a must have for anyone who's ever contemplated improving their body as well as their mind." Pam Peeke MD, MPH, Pew Foundation Scholar in Nutrition and Metabolism, Assistant Professor of Medicine University of Maryland School of Medicine, NBC Today Show Medical Expert, author of Fight Fat After Forty
In the tradition of Drinking: A Love Story comes a fascinating, myth-busting window into what it's like to learn to live "normally" as a thin person after a lifetime of being viewed as freakishly overweight.
About the Author
Frances Kuffel is a literary agent who has published poems and short stories in literary journals, such as Triquarterly, the Georgia Review, Glimmer Train, Prairie Schooner, and the Massachusetts Review. A native of Missoula, Montana, she has an M.F.A. from Cornell. She currently makes her home in Brooklyn, New York.
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