Review: Fat Girl Dances With Rocks

Title (as given to the record by the creator): Review: Fat Girl Dances With Rocks
Date(s) of creation: 
February 1995
Creator / author / publisher:  
Selena, FaT GiRL
Physical description:
A zine page printed in black and white, this review is the left of two columns
Reference #:
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Fat Girl Dances with Rocks 

Book by Susan Stinson, from Spinsters Ink, 1994. 

Review by Selena

[image description: A black and white headshot of Susan Stinson, a fat, white dyke with glasses and short wavy hair. Her head is tilted down and she has a big soft smile. Photo by Susan Wilson.]

The title character is Char, a fat teenage girl who spends a summer smoking pot, dancing with and falling in love with her best friend Felice. They smoke, they drink, they cruise and go to discos, and Felice checks out the boys while Char checks out Felice. But then Felice goes away for the rest of the summer, and Char gets a job at a nursing home, gets to know some of the patients, and learns about friendship, having principles, and generally being a good person, as well as learning to be comfortable with, and like, her body. Not to make it sound self-conscious and moralizing, but it is, just a little. Don’t get me wrong-it was absorbing enough; I read it straight through; but it was more of a snack than a meal. For me, the book is strongest when it’s showing us the everyday adolescent stoner friendship between Char and Felice, and the details of their lives and interactions. Despite how much of what’s important in the book is taking place in Char’s head, she remains opaque to me as a character. I don’t know what she’d be like if I met her at a party or on the street, and the same goes for the women she’s friends with in the nursing home. Felice is more in focus, but whatever Char finds so compelling about her didn’t come across. One of the main things that happens to Char over the course of the book is her coming to terms with her body and deciding not to diet. Obviously, I think that’s a great message and all, but it seemed to drop out of nowhere on her, an epiphany from on high. My girlfriend, who also read it, said this book seems like a ‘young adult’ story, and I think I agree with her. It was interesting enough and didn’t bore me, but it’s kind of thin (so to speak). There’s only one thing going on at any given time, only one layer to the story. On the other hand, I might have found it more compelling when I was just coming out, since it is a coming-out story. But I think it’s the teenager in me that is left so unsatisfied. The bulimic fifteen year old I was would really like to know where Char’s appreciation and acceptance of her body came from; would like to know how the hell she did it. ls that even something that can be conveyed with words? I don’t think I could do it. While I enjoyed reading this book, it ultimately didn’t move me as much as I wish it had.