Saturday, December 10, 2005

Liza Palmer, Conversations With The Fat Girl

Liza Palmer

The book received favorable reviews in magazines like People and Entertainment Weekly, way to go, Liza!

Liza Palmer contacted me a while back asking if she could send me a copy of her debut novel, Conversations With The Fat Girl. I'm always interested in finding good books so I said of course. I couldn't wait to read it, but had a bunch of other novels to get through first. When I did finally open the book, I enjoyed it immensely from the very first page.

I relate so well to any character who is flawed or troubled or imperfect. Many people shy away from books that remotely bear the chick-lit stamp. I want to encourage you to pick up this novel and give it a try because it's wonderful and well written. I could be friends with Maggie, the character who is hanging on by a thread to her once fat, but now skinny and gorgeous friend Olivia.

I became emotionally involved with Maggie and wanted to give her a good shake a few times throughout the book or at least email Liza and ask why Maggie didn't see who Olivia had become. You just have to read the book to appreciate Maggie's journey to confidence and self assurance. Fat, skinny, pretty or not, we have all felt like Maggie at one time or another and Liza does a great job with the emotions of a character who finally figures out the truth about a friendship which has run its course.

What is the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?

Put on my glasses, check the time, walk downstairs, find the dog, pet the dog, make coffee. Breathe.

Which character do you identify with the most?

I think that's beauty of writing - I identify with all the characters. Every one of them has a piece of me - obviously Maggie being the one I most identifywith - it's her voice which is the most true to mine.

What do you think of Tyra Banks donning a fat suit to experience life as an overweight person? Do you think people are generally accepting of those who are overweight?

Gasp of all gasps. You mean overweight people are treated differently than Victoria's Secret models. What has this world come to? Blasphemous. I think - jeez, what do I think - I dunno.

On one hand I like that she's exploring prejudice and unearthing a truth maybe - but, that's kinda bullshit, I mean, we all know this Truth and I just think it's a tad bizarre that it's being treated as this expose or something. It's like someone drinking water and, it really is wet. But, the gist of my whole novel is that you never know how big Maggie is.

There are so many themes in this book- love, acceptance, following your dreams and your heart, friendship... What do you want people to take from the book when they finish it?

Stop wasting time hating yourself. It's exhausting and you're really the only one doing it. I always revel looking at pictures of myself - and I remember distinctly thinking I was fat when those pictures were taken. And now when I look back I was never as fat as I thought I was. I've ruined so many amazing moments thinking my Area was showing or that everything would be better if I were 10 pounds lighter. Start living now.

What is your favorite color and why?

I love pink. It's taken me a long time to really come to terms with being girly. And now I hope by embracing pink, I've learned to embrace my softness, feminity and feeling lovely. It's taken way too long.

I wanted to go to school to be an art restoration specialist so I was excited about Maggie's job opportunity. Is art something you enjoy, and if so, who are your favorite artists?

The LACMA is one of my great escapes. I adore art. I adore museums. There is something - well, everything about them I love. My favorite artist -it depends. I love the modern stuff - but, I love just getting right up next to any piece - looking at the brush strokes - the nuts and bolts of genius. Everything. I appreciate a something. I love seeing a manifestation of thought.

Who were Bella and Emily based on? They were so cute, their personalities came through very well.

I am blessed to have two such lovely little women in my life. I hope I did them justice.

Do you read your horoscope? Ever had tarot cards read? Would you want to know what the next chapter of your life holds if you could find out?

There is a huge part of me that loves horoscopes and tarot. The curious, hopeful part. The part that loves seeing myself as a courageous lion and not someone who sometimes may not feel so roar-y.I would love to say that I wouldn't look at that little chapter - but, there's no way I wouldn't look.

How has life changed for you since the book was published?

In too many ways to even begin listing - and in ways that I don't even think I know about yet. Life is a rollercoaster right now - and I'm not quite ready to let go of that security bar enough to really look behind me just yet.


Blogger Manic Mom said...
DJ--I love the new look of Conversations of Famous Writers.

I just finished Conv with Fat Girl, and I have to say, I didn't really get into it. The back of the book didn't even say ANYTHING about Maggie even having a love interest, and more of the book was about that, and not the friendship between the two girls. Kind of misleading.

I don't know, much of it just didn't ring clear for me. I stuck through it to the end though, but the beginning was hard to get into, and at the end, I was cheering for Maggie, but still, a lot of it just made me shake my head and wonder why anyone would put up with a friend like that for so long.

And there was no "conversation with the fat girl." That title didn't really make much sense, but the publisher probably chose it. Wonder what Liza's original title was?

Not writing this to offend or dishearten anyone, and of course, you and I both know my novel's never even seen a book shelf or the hands of an editor, but I think one of the points of CWFW is to share your thoughts on a particular novel so that's what I did. @ 5:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...
Manic Mom, maybe you need to get off your ass and publish your book so we can all say really critical things about it, then qualify our comments with some kind of a "it's in the spirit of sharing" blurb. @ 4:36 PM  
Blogger Manic Mom said...
Anonymous, do you even KNOW how to read?

I didn't say anything offensive about the book at all. @ 12:49 AM  
Anonymous Leslie said...
I read a lot (almost 2 books a week), and I have to say that Conversations With The Fat Girl was one of my favorite books of 2005. The book was much better than I expected - I know what manic mom is saying about the book seeming different from the cover, but for me, it was just SO much better (deeper) than it looked (and I thought it looked interesting to start with)! I thought the love interest added a lot of excitement to the book and showed how the main character grew. I hope Liza Palmer is nearly done with her next book. I would definitely run out and buy it. @ 5:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...
just read conversations with the fat girl ... ironic how maggie blames olivia n the rest of the thin gang for being pencil slim n yet is ever-obsessed with losing weight herself . and while olivia may be the world's worst friend maggie doesnt seem to be doing any better .at her best friend's wedding dress trial shouldnt maggie be thinking more about her friend n less about whether she's looking fat ? so actually the two of them are pretty well matched each one thinking about herself . finally as a fat person myself i would like to say i do not obsess about my weight 99% of the time as ms maggie seems to do . @ 2:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...
Good for you AnonII, it must be fantastic to not be self concious 99% of the time.

A lot of what she says is what a LOT of other fat girls have running through their heads. It can easily run along with the dozens of other things on their minds, it doesnt have to hold the center stage.

I never got that Maggie was "blaming" them for being pencil thin. What she was more going on about was her perception of what thin people must think of her and other fatties.

If I was at my "best friend's" dress trial (and I wouldnt be, the sort of high ended crap gags me to death) and said best friend would not SHUT UP about from which angle she best looks like a size 2, I would likely be trying my best not to slouch like a slug on the sofa either.

This book has the word "conversations" in it because the entire thing reads as one side of a conversation. Her side. We are not reading her as some PC person out there in the world, we are reading HER thoughts. She still has the capacity to let her own thoughts and feelings (in first half of the book) sit on the back burner, and smile nice for her BFF on her special... how long has the wedding plan been going on? How long did life get to be all about the bridezilla? Who knows. @ 7:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...
interesting discussions about Palmer's novel - i agree with the anonymous posting about the title, and how the novel is a one-sided account of a fat girl's struggles -this is also evident in her flashback memories to life with Olivia pre-surgery. Contrary to manic mom's posting about the novel's back cover being misleading, I believe the novel does follow the relationship of the two girls through and through - if Maggie isn't actually talking to Olivia or doing something related to the wedding, she's remembering times they spent together providing context the experiences and frustrations she has because of her larger body. Makes sense to me. Of course you would like to give Maggie's head a shake at times, but I think that is Palmer's point... driving home the whole low self-esteem angle.

to comment on the point made (again by an anonymous post) regarding the irony that exists between Maggie, the thin characters, and her own desire to be thin - this is interesting, and even more interesting is the fact that Inez (Peregrine's gf) is the only positive "larger" bodied character that Maggie encounters, and even she is described as only having a pot-belly <-- so really, how large can she be? @ 2:47 PM  
Blogger Hfizzle78 said...
I finished the book tonight and meant so very much to me. I am a divorced single Mom with two kids and have sat motionless the last 4 years to move on with my life and take care of myself and my needs!

I am wikedly cool, and fun. Have two beuatifull kids. And kick ass in my career.

I have not allowed myslef to go through motions on why I have packed on the post divorce pouns, and how to squash the olvias of world.

I LOVED IT! @ 2:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...
I read "Conversations..." in a day, tearing into the story, and not wanting to wait to see what happened to Maggie and the facets of her life. I adore Maggie and her faults, and her ability to see the faults that lead to her current status in life.
The story line, as always, deals with some circumstances that are unbelievable, including the characters' economic status. How does a woman working in a coffeeshop afford a house, car, dog, weekends in Las Vegas? How convenient that her mother and step-father are able to cover her expenses when she's quit her job and is waiting for her fantastic internship to begin. Adding some financial believeability would have made the book that much better.
These things aside, the author has made some fantastic points. I love her comparison of her body image as a, 'egomaniac with a self-esteem problem,' as I can totally relate to that morbid fascination with my own appearance. I felt as though I found a comrade, rather than a person that I could commiserate with and pity myself with.
This book as given me pride, but has also made me understand that even if I'm not the ideal, I spend just as much time obsessing about myself as those women that have achieved an ideal. The irony is fantastic.
Even without a "love story," catapulting this book to "chick lit" status, It is a great and relaxing read that makes a "fat girl" think. @ 1:21 PM  
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Anonymous nintendo dsi r4 said...
she look so nice in her fat body I like that girl she is so pretty.Liza is really a very nice girl I am very glad to see her she is very nice.and her conversion is over now.I stuck through it to the end though, but the beginning was hard to get into, and at the end, I was cheering for Maggie @ 4:38 AM  
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