Fatty Fatty Boom Boom by Rabia Chaudry

Fatty Fatty Boom Boom: A Memoir of Food, Fat, and Family

Fatty Fatty Boom Boom: A Memoir of Food, Fat, and Family by Rabia Chaudry

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book hit everything for me; culture, history, family, life, and comedy. I was heavily enthralled with Rabia Chaudry’s story… like heavily. I stalked her Instagram page after I completed the first 1/2 of her book because I needed to know more about her, even while she was divulging it all to us in this book. For some reason, I just couldn’t get enough of Rabia’s life’s story, and I was thirsty for more. I have read other immigrant migration stories to the US before, and I keep feeling a sort of ‘shock and awe’ by their experiences here. For the rich life and success many people have in their home country, they continue to get shafted of the American Dream when they arrive here looking for bigger and better. I should know better than to think differently. There is no American Dream here. Only for the white and entitled folks do their dreams come true.

Rabia Chaudry bares a vulnerable part about herself in this book. This book centralizes over the area of body weight and her family, and her perception of how her upbringing and culture influenced her life. She also discusses in great detail how she as a child has struggled with weight her entire life, due to the food choices given to her at a young age.

The history she shared regarding her birth country and ancestral history was engaging and rich. I was surprised to learn about how Pakistan became a country, and how Muslims had to migrate to Pakistan because of religious reasons. Furthermore, learning about the culture in her country and how women are treated and expected to behave was eye opening. I also enjoyed the fact she included deep discussions of Pakistani food, and how it is prepared. I now want to sample and dabble in Pakistani food! I feel like it would be such an amazing experience on my palate. Chaudry delivered something so deeply layered and careful in our laps, that I just don’t want to destroy it with a paltry review.

Chaudry shares her shame, her vulnerability in the self-loathing she participated in while living a life at a weight her own family found as undesirable and detrimental to her being marriageable. Her tone in this book was so relatable and I could relate to her views about herself, as there were often times when I had similar feelings as an awkward and chunky adolescent. I moved into adulthood with a poor self-image, and for decades I constantly worried about my weight and appearance. Rabia told this story like we were friends/family. I really loved her voice here, she was like a big sister, friend, bestie who was sharing her life’s story and just being a beacon of wisdom as she shares the ups and down of just being alive.

I am so enthralled with Rabia, and I look forward to more works of hers in the future. Overall, I would rate this a 5.

Thank you to the publisher, Algonquin Books, and the author Rabia Chaudry (@rabiasquared2) for this book in exchange for a fair and honest opinion.

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Inciting Joy by Ross Gay

Inciting Joy: Essays

Inciting Joy: Essays by Ross Gay

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Reading this book made me feel like I was getting a warm hug. The words, the thoughts, the reflection, the epiphanies, that I had while reading this book, was joyous. This book definitely incited some joy into my life that I never knew I needed.

Inciting Joy is writen in a poetic voice. Punctuated by chapters called Incitements, these chapters share all sorts of joy, sorrow, love, silliness, seriousness, loneliness, abundance, healing, pain, and flatout life in general. I wasn’t sure what I would be getting myself into from reading this book. I am a novice Ross Gay reader, so I have not had the pleasure in reading his poems, his works, or his thoughts before this book. However, once I read the first paragraph, I was instantly hooked.

I say his book is like a warm hug because it really is… it meets you were you need to be met, and it greets you full on. Not shying away or backing down… it stops you right at the door with wholesomeness. This book made me look at things differently. Not only does this book invoke self-reflection, but it makes you want to explore things in your mind in a way that is useful and constructive; mindful.

Even though this book is about Inciting Joy, the books is more than just joy. This book makes you look and consider all of your emotions, and how you deal with them, and turn not-so-joyous occasions into a joyful practice or at least using what you experienced for a better time.

He talked about the death of his father and it made me automatically think about my father who passed 22 years ago. At first I didn’t want to deal with the memories of my father’s death, but slowly but surely as I learned about Ross’s father’s passing and the details he shared in those last moments, I couldn’t help but think of my dad who passed away quickly in the hospital. I was devastated for years, and I wasn’t able to process any of this at the time. However, as I read Ross Gay’s reflection of the time he spent with his father in his last few months, I was given a sense of comfort and peace in dealing with the emotions of my own father passing. There is joy in reflecting back on times of the loss we experience. Even if the pain is still there, which it will continue to be, there is still something joyful you can look back on and appreciate the memories you have of that person you lost.

Inciting Joy is an impossible book to decompress down into digestible parts. It’s just a book you have to read and experience for yourself. It is a perfect balm to those who are looking for something soothing, wholesome, joyful, purposeful, and wholistic. Ross Gay shares that in every aspect of life, there can be joy found, even in the difficult times. There is joy in just sharing, and when people share and others can relate, it helps us all in this journey of life to be more open to joy; we all win.

I really enjoyed his topics surrounding community, growth, planting, sharing, laughter, falling apart, death, gratitude, and family. I could read this book a hundred times and get something different out of it each time. This book is something that will stay with you for decades. Joy is resistance, and we all need more of each in our lives.

Don’t overlook the footnotes in this book that may seem sometimes to overwhelm the text in some places. These footnotes are a delight, inasmuch that it gives an expanded view of his ideas in the essay that allows him to really wander through his thoughts and gives you a place to really delve deeply into what he wants to impart to us.

His writing was refreshing for me, as it was very poetic, eloquent, dense, complicated, and rhythmic. However, his subject matter sometimes varied esoterically in many parts, but I could still follow his thought patterns with help from his footnotes. When people are looking for solace, comfort, peace, and guidance during these complicated times of life, these essays may spark some joy from you and help you think of things a bit more differently and allow you to process things in a different mindset.

Overall this book for me is a 5. I recommend to all.

Thank you to Algonquin Books and the author Ross Gay for this book in exchange for a fair and honest opinion.

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