Fatty Fatty Boom Boom by Rabia Chaudry

Published: November 8, 2022

Algonquin Books

Pages: 352

Genre: Memoir

KKECReads Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I purchased this book on Amazon, and I leave my review voluntarily.

Rabia Chaudry is a wife, mother, attorney, and currently a Jennings Randolph Senior Fellow at U.S. Institute of Peace, where she researches the intersection of religion and violent extremism. Her regions of interest are Pakistan and Sri Lanka. She is owned by the cutest cat in the world, Mr. Beans, and can cook a five-course meal in under ninety minutes. When she grows up, she wants to be a renowned author of many books, a fearless traveler, and the mother of the first female American Muslim President of the United States. She’s pretty sure it’s all going to happen.

“My entire life I have been less fat and more fat, but never not fat.” According to family lore, when Rabia Chaudry’s family returned to Pakistan for their first visit since moving to the United States, two-year-old Rabia was more than just a pudgy toddler. Dada Abu, her fit and sprightly grandfather, attempted to pick her up but had to put her straight back down, demanding of Chaudry’s mother: “What have you done to her?” The answer was two full bottles of half-and-half per day, frozen butter sticks to gnaw on, and lots and lots of American processed foods.

And yet, despite her parents plying her with all the wrong foods as they discovered Burger King and Dairy Queen, they were highly concerned for the future for their large-sized daughter. How would she ever find a suitable husband? There was merciless teasing by uncles, cousins, and kids at school, but Chaudry always loved food too much to hold a grudge against it. Soon she would leave behind fast food and come to love the Pakistani foods of her heritage, learning to cook them with wholesome ingredients and eat them in moderation. At once a love letter (with recipes) to fresh roti, chaat, chicken biryani, ghee, pakoras, shorba, parathay and an often hilarious dissection of life in a Muslim immigrant family, Fatty Fatty Boom Boom is also a searingly honest portrait of a woman grappling with a body that gets the job done but that refuses to meet the expectations of others.

Chaudry’s memoir offers readers a relatable and powerful voice on the controversial topic of body image, one that dispenses with the politics and gets to what every woman who has ever struggled with weight will relate to.

“I was supposed to be turning into a woman, not James Earl Jones.”

Most people struggle with their weight at some point in their lives. Be it because we like to eat, we don’t like tenderize, or some other reason. We live in a world where our value is based on our looks.

And fat people just don’t matter. We are looked at with disdain, pity, and loathing. We are often the punchline in jokes. We have to figure out how not to let the constant stares, comments, or the latest fitness fads destroy us.

Rabia shares her journey with her weight struggle so openly in this book. She loves food. Delicious food, comfort food. And she struggled to find a balance between food and fitness.

The biggest takeaway from this book is that your weight does not, and should not, determine your merit. And everyone struggles—even your thin, fit friends. Like the Queen herself said, the BMI calculator lies.

This was a beautiful testimony to life, culture, and finding yourself. I love that Rabia shared her journey, for better or worse, with us. She was open and honest. She admits to struggling, failing, overeating, lather, rinse, repeat.

What I am taking away from this book is that until we truly love and respect our body, we can’t change it. When you attack yourself with workouts and strict diets from a place of hatred, insecurity, and fear, you will find the challenge almost unbearable.

Our relationship with our bodies is such a delicate topic. But we only get one body. One life. And while being healthy obviously has benefits, hating yourself to achieve “happiness being skinny” isn’t the answer.

As someone who has always been the fate friend, so much of Rabia’s story hit me in the feels. I was born in the US, and I don’t have a rich culture, so much of what Rabia wrote spoke right to me.

And I cannot put into words how much I needed to hear this. Thank you, Rabia. For allowing me to see myself from a different perspective.

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