FOREVER FAT: Essays by the Godfather

Lee Gutkind, Author . Univ. of Nebraska $26.95 (177p) ISBN 978-0-8032-2194-9

The godfather in question is the author, who was credited as a major advocate of "creative nonfiction" in an uncomplimentary Vanity Fair article six years ago by James Wolcott, who criticized this emerging field of writing. The founder of the journal Creative Nonfiction, Gutkind has published widely in the field (Many Sleepless Nights: The World of Organ Transplantation) and is also a professor of English at the University of Pittsburgh. This collection of beautifully crafted personal essays, previously published in various periodicals, demonstrates the author's mastery over his chosen genre. Always engrossing, the pieces convey emotional pain leavened with humor and are written with piercing honesty. Several deal with Gutkind's relationship with his father, Jack, who beat and belittled him. In "A History of My Father," he discusses his reaction to a letter he received from Jack that describes his own equally horrible childhood. With astonishing clarity, Gutkind expresses understanding, but not an acceptance of his father's cruelty toward him when he was growing up. "Waiting Away" is a witty and angry article about the incompetence of a physician. The title essay explains how the author needed the solace he found in food when he was a child, even though it led to ridicule because he was a fat kid. During basic training in the Coast Guard, he found the motivation to lose weight and define a new self-image based on independence and a positive direction for his life. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 07/21/2003
Release date: 09/01/2003
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 177 pages - 978-0-8032-3358-4
Open Ebook - 202 pages - 978-0-585-47128-0
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