In the battle of the big babe versus the anorexic boygirl, women can’t win for losing. In one of the strongest passages in Fat Girl, Moore fuses the emotional and physical hungers, grinding and voracious, that impelled her when young to slip into the empty houses of people who had shown her kindness and touch their things and eat their food. In doing so, she defines not just her own fat-fear and loathing, but the culture’s: “I believed that inside every fat person was a hole the size of the world; I believed that every fat person wanted to fill that hole by eating the world. It wasn’t enough to eat food. You had to swallow air, you had to chew up everyone who got near you. No wonder, I thought, that nobody liked me or liked me all that much.”
Alley’s lusty, vulgar exuberance feels like the antidote to Fat Girl’s pain. Fat Actress is a revenge comedy, which is why satire suits it and whimsy doesn’t. The form has antecedents—just about everything Mae West did, for example.
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