Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Not Fat and Old, but Proud and Wise

Fat Girl by Judith Moore has been sitting on my “To Read,” pile for about six weeks now. It’s a slim tone, with an inviting cover of the bottom half of a plump young girl. My husband, who rarely reads memoir, picked it up one night and enjoyed it so much he finished it within a week, which is fast reading for him.

Moore is one of those Bay Area authors who is accomplished, yet under-appreciated. Her book about her struggles with obesity came out months ago and was well reviewed around the country, but she didn’t get a lot of accolades in the local press.

So I was delighted to read David Kipen’s article in Tuesday’s San Francisco Chronicle. He apologizes to Moore for not reading her book sooner – and goes on to compliment her writing style, her struggles to overcome her lonely childhood, and her incredible attitude toward her weight.

“At a cultural moment when Brooke Shields can milk a few weeks of fully insured and successfully medicated postpartum depression for a book deal -- and now a bestseller -- there's something invigorating about a writer who says, in effect, "I'll never be thin, I'll never be well-adjusted, but I can write like a banshee and that'll just have to do."

I haven’t gotten to Moore’s memoir because I am way behind in my reading. I am fully engrossed in what should be one of the big books of the summer, The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova.

This is the book that sold for a $1-$2 million advance and just this week was optioned by Sony Pictures for another $1 million. Lest jealous hives break out over all of us, Kostova, who graduated from Yale and got an MFA from the University of Michigan, took 10 years to write the book. It tells the story of a 16-year old girl on a search for the secret of Dracula, who may still be alive, or Undead, as his state is described in the book. The Historian will be released July 7 and will be published in 22 languages.

There will be a lot of press about The Historian. Bookends, the Book Place magazine interviewed Kostova, who is just 40.

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