Wednesday, January 11, 2023

January Read: Fatty Fatty Boom Boom by Rabia Chaudry


One of my reading goals for 2023 is to read more non-fiction. I had to wait a few weeks on the holds list at my library for this book but it was worth the wait. 

Rabia Chaudry is someone I wasn't aware of until I read a few reviews of this book and of course a food memoir always grabs my interest. Rabia is a Pakistani-American lawyer who is famous for her work in overturning the conviction of Adnan Syed. She's pretty impressive--but this memoir looks at her struggles with her absolute love of food (some would say a food addiction) and the battle to try to lose weight and fit in the traditional Pakistani ideal of a young woman who should make a great marriage. Looks have much to do with securing the right spouse. 

Rabia's family moved to the U.S. in the 1970's when she was a small child. Her father was a veterinarian who got a job with the U.S. Government, and her mom worked various jobs to make ends meet. They didn't have much money, and even though her mom was a gifted cook (she didn't like to cook, though), the pressures of money, working, and trying to care for two children quickly changed their eating habits to that delicious nemesis, American junk food. Prepackaged food also entered the household, and don't we all know the lure of chips, fries, burgers, frozen pizzas, and snack cakes? Rabia's appetite was off the charts. She loved food so much it was all she though about. She was also deeply enamored of her Pakistani food, and my gosh the descriptions of the spices, crunch, steam, and everything are pretty irresistible. 

Rubia grew from a chubby child to an overweight teen, to an obese adult. She tried exercising, cutting calories, but to no avail. Her food journey is fascinating, and her frustrations with it are heartbreaking. For a long time, she didn't see any problem with her eating habits and love of food, despite her family always telling her she was overweight and would never find a man to marry. 

In parts a love letter to her Pakistani heritage and food and a memoir about a young woman struggling to listen to her body and find peace with it, this was at times funny, sad, and  painfully truthful. Rabia is someone who has finally found her peace, happiness, and truth after one heck of a battle with herself. 

Rating: 4/6 for a memoir chock full of family love, squabbles, brutal truth, and generations of recipes. The food is amazing (some recipes are in the back of the book) and I could almost taste it. Rabia's memoir is one to read. 

Available in hardcover, ebook, and audio. 

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