In Clothes Called Fat tells of a woman’s journey towards happiness. The first line of the book’s synopsis is probably one of the most accurate (without spoiling) I’ve ever read:
No one comes out looking good, nearly no one at all…
I suppose I expected the story to run its course as it did–fat girl, food as a safe harbor, guy to impress, jealousy, losing weight, losing the guy, still not happy, return to square one, it was better this way–but not quite the way it did. The beginning was a hard read because she is a picture of a truth that I know exists for some people and it hurts to see. Also, if I was someone who allowed other people’s view of me or even how I thought they viewed me control me and define me, or if I did not think highly enough of myself, I could easily have been Noko.
It was also a hard read because I was hurting for Noko and upset with her for the same reason. She was weak willed and gained strength from all the wrong places and for all the wrong reasons. It’s so difficult to witness someone turn a blind eye to reality in hopes of holding onto imaginary things. Noko’s boyfriend was worthless, she was bullied at work, and she couldn’t even stand up to herself and she hated it, but did not have it in her to believe there was a better life to be had with no strings attached.
For Noko, everything rested on the shoulders of the thin and pretty version of her. Her boyfriend would stay with her, her co-workers would like her, and she would be happier, if not completely happy, when she becomes skinny. She walked a road littered in shards of defeat to make it to the other side, but she did not travel alone. All along the way she was accompanied by a cluster of equally tragic souls.
This story illustrates well the concept of misery loving company, but it also shows how some forms of misery, rather than company, just wants others to be worse off than they are. Though hard, it was a very good read and the ending suited my preference for questionably happy endings. I’m going with an unhappy ending, but I’ll leave it to you to decide for yourself.