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Big Girl by Meg Elison #BookReview

“El Hugé” reveals how small-town, small-time teens can accomplish Big Ugly Things on their own. “Big Girl” chronicles the media’s fascination with the towering anxieties of a sixty-foot tall teen. “The Pill,” the collection’s previously unpublished centerpiece, celebrates a “miracle cure” for obesity that sends society to a grimly delightful new utopia. “With Such People in It,” also new to readers, welcomes us to a brave new world where cowardice is a virtue. “Gone with Gone with the Wind” is a nonfiction analysis of privilege, denial, literary classics, and personal honesty. “Afterimage” is a one-way trip into a VR world that’s more “real” than our own. Also included is “Guts,” which is about just what its title suggests, as well this volume’s characteristically frank and thought-provoking Outspoken Interview.

The image has a red bar spanning the vertical length of it on the side. The cover is in black and white, otherwise. A photo of the author is centered, with the title and author name to the top right of her picture.

Title: Big Girl  Author: Meg Elison | Publisher: PM Press  | Pub. Date: 01 June 2020 | Pages: 128 | ISBN: 9781629637839 | Genre: Sci fi/Humor | Language: English |  Source: self-purchased | Starred Review

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Big Girl  Review

Meg Elison is my Stephen King. Don’t get me wrong, King remains a favorite author, but imagine my surprise when, at the age of 41, I discovered another to parallel that position. I started with The Book of the Unnamed Midwife, read through the series, then moved on to Finding Layla, random short stories, and now Big Girl. I’ve followed Elison from science fiction to YA to post-apocalyptic horror, and back again and I can say with conviction that I will continue to do so.

Unique voice, a biting and yet welcoming style, plus imagination combine with an uncanny ability to add words to issues so many cannot. The stories within Big Girl range from science fiction to non-fiction. All are well worth the reading time. All deserve succinct reviews and scholarship. What follows are a few of my favorites.

“El Huge” – This is the opening story and it certainly serves its purpose. On the surface, some kids in a small town wreak havoc. Go a little deeper and we are given our first instance of the destruction of “bigness”. The idea that bigger is not better and must be handled, is in a seemingly innocuous story. I recommend re-reading this one after reading all the rest.

“Big Girl” – The titular story does not disappoint. I managed to listen to Elison read this one aloud and when I re-read it, having her voice in my head made the experience all the better. Set up as sort of an epistolary story, this teenager and her experiences push the boundaries of duty of care and expectations of body size.

“The Pill” – I want this one to win all the awards. Meg Elison blends science fiction, family life, body image, sexuality/sensuality, and more in this treatise on how far people will go for the “right” body shape. There are so many quotes and moments that twisted something inside me. To keep reader discovery alive I’m keeping it to the quote below. Oh – and go buy this book. Now.

“I knew when I frightened people and I pushed my advantage. I took up their space. I haunted them with my warm breath an my soft elbows, I fed on their fright.” – Meg Elison, “The Pill”. Big Girl

  You can purchase a copy of this book via your normal retailer, but please consider purchasing it from a local indie bookshop instead. It can be found here at Indiebound or at BookShop. Please note the Bookshop link is an affiliate link and each purchase you make through it helps to support Sci-Fi & Scary and keep the site running.

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