Picks and Pans Review: Conversations with the Fat Girl

updated 10/03/2005 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 10/03/2005 AT 01:00 AM EDT

by Liza Palmer

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For spinsters of Jane Austen's day, poverty was a near-fatal flaw. Singles compete in other ways now; with apologies to Austen, it is a truth universally acknowledged that a woman in possession of a plus-size figure must be in want of a total body makeover. Take Maggie Thompson, who hides behind loose clothing, a menial job and her friendship with fellow fat girl Olivia Morten. When Olivia deserts her after having gastric-bypass surgery, Maggie's sister urges her to become a butterfly too. Kudos to Liza Palmer for tackling the life and loves of a "before," striking a breezy tone without being trivial.

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