espect is the basic right of every person regardless of their gender, status, and job position. But in Pakistan, we mostly respect people on the basis of their wealth and power.
This is one of the many standards we have set as a society and are carrying it forward to generations.
Similarly, there are many unethical practices such as calling people with their nicknames, or their flaws (which isn’t their flaw actually but is considered a flaw by the society such as being, dark, short, disabled, or Fat). It has become a norm and people don’t find it wrong to do.
The Quintessential Fat Girl is a journey of a girl Zoie, who’s frustrated for being overweight and the way society treats her. She’s done with people who have put all her abilities, skills, achievements aside and judge her for being fat only.
However, Fat isn’t the only topic in the book. The author Hina Shamsi has also covered mental health, kitty parties culture, Pakistanis obsession with food, and how long women take to beautify themselves just to fit in the so-called definition of “Perfection” told by society.
The book is a quick read, simple, and short. The best part is that the writer doesn’t feel the need to cover all pages with words. The empty spaces in the book made me realize that one can convey the message while keeping the book to the point, and short of words.
Also, in Pakistan, the worth of a woman is limited to her beauty, appearance, and her marital status. We don’t think beyond that. The author took the courage to address this issue as well by saying:
“Why can’t we have a princess who’s a scientist or a cardiothoracic surgeon, saving lives, and not waiting for a prince to rescue her? These contemporary fairy tales are so messed up.
And by the way, why is it a woman’s job to tame the beast? Why is it always “beauty that kills the beast” and never her intelligence or intellect?
From a young age, we tell our girls that they need to be rescued, by a prince. WHY? Wouldn’t it be nice if we encourage our young girls to find solace in their career or passion?”
A quite thought-provoking excerpt from the book and also much-needed to fix the rotten society standards.
Similarly, when you go through the book, you’ll find many actions that we do “just for fun” and it leaves people heartbroken.
As an avid reader and learner, I always pick books that widens my horizons on life, business, relationships, and religion. But we can’t progress on other things if we remain confined to the way people look. And if the author felt it important to address the incorrect society standards then it means as a nation, we are really lacking in ethics. Since our religion emphasizes more on service to mankind, we shouldn’t shame others based on their appearance.
On the other hand, there were some parts that weren’t a fit such as surge in prices, and the take on prime minister Imran Khan. In an effort, to keep the book light and comic, there’s also some unnecessary humour that has dragged the book a bit.
One thing I really missed is learning more about Zoie. Since there are many characters in the novel, you’ll feel the real character Zoie is somehow left behind.
So who should read this?
Anyone who enjoys reading social satire. Or people who are body-shamed or fat-shamed in their lives. This book is great to sympathize with them and also reveals the ways to address this problem.
Secondly, in Pakistan, women go through phases of rejection when they don’t act according to societal norms. This book is also a fit for them as it will tell them how to make shut-up calls and how important it’s to accept the way Allah has created all of us.
But whoever picks this book, can finish this in the first go. It’s that simple and easy to read.
The author Hina Shamsi is a Pakistani writer. She holds a Masters degree in Business Administration from Southeastern University. The Quintessential Fat Girl is her debut novel and recently she has also published her second book “Love-Knot.”
You can reach the author at @Hinashamsiwrites
I prefer books and diaries more than phones and Facebook. Soulfully connected to Pakistan. And I passionately believe that I can change the world through blogging.