Big Girl

PM Pr. (Outspoken Authors). Jun. 2020. 128p. ISBN 9781629637839. pap. $14. SF
This collection of short stories by Philip K. Dick Award winner Elison (The Book of the Unnamed Midwife) delves into world of obesity and society’s attitudes toward those considered to be “too big.” A group of small-town teenagers commit big, ugly acts in the story “El Hugé.” We follow the trials and tribulations of a 15-year-old girl who wakes one morning to find she’s 350 feet tall in “Big Girl.” In “The Pill,” we discover a twisted utopia when a “cure” for obesity is found, while “Such People in It” illustrates a world reminiscent of George Orwell’s 1984. In “Guts,” readers get an idea of what it means to have guts, both literally and figuratively. Also included is a nonfiction essay about Elison’s journey of self-discovery in “Gone with Gone with the Wind” and an interview of Elison by Terry Bisson (Fire on the Mountain).
VERDICT Through the lens of sf/fantasy, Elison’s works bring to light topics we generally prefer to keep in the dark: obesity, body shaming, privilege, poverty, and governmental control. With concise, sharp prose and a satirical point of view, Elison take us places we never wanted to go, but in the end we are grateful that we went.

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