|Are You EVER Going to be Thin? (and other stories)|
Are You EVER Going to be Thin? (and other stories) chronicles artist Samantha Mallory’s battle with weight, family, molestation, love, marriage, sexuality, the Catholic church, traumatic cultural events, and death.
A family reunion awakens the voices of Samantha’s relatives, dead and alive.
“Time, An Other,” the opening story, describes Samantha’s first memory; other stories move forward and backward and forward in time. “In the Name of God” places Samantha’s daughter and granddaughter in New York City during 9/11; “Psychedelic Bingo” moves forward to 2035; “Time, Suspended,” the last story (set in 1990), reveals a family secret.
“Are You EVER Going to be Thin?”: the title story, interweaves childhood letters from an aunt with a grandmother’s dire warnings.
“Cut,” a bonus story added to the Kindle version, delves into Samantha’s fascination and fear of fire and her willingness to court danger as she befriends a prisoner via mail.
Also included: “Are You Thin Yet?” the essay that inspired the title story and this collection.
For Educators and Book Clubs: The Kindle edition includes questions for discussion and 25+ creative writing exercises.
Sample Discussion Question and Writing Exercise:
In the title story “Are You EVER Going to be Thin?,” Samantha is a silent presence as two alternating voices address her in various ways. Who are they, and how do their own attitudes toward Samantha’s weight inform her own self-awareness and body image? In what literary form does each voice address Samantha, and why are both forms important to Samantha’s understanding of her familial relationships? The author has said that she was influenced by Jamaica Kincaid’s classic short short story “Girl.” How are the two stories similar? How are they different?
Writing exercise (about 250 words): Based on a “voice” from your own past (or made up), write a short fictional passage in which an adult is addressing a child (who remains silent).