July 16, 2010

The Fatttening Hut by Pat Lowery Collins

Date Started: July 15
Date Finished: July 16

Summary: Helen is now of marrying age and must move into the fattening hut to plump up for her new husband. In her world, a small island reminscient of sub-Saharan Africa, to be fat is to be beautiful. Helen's Aunt Margaret knows secrets about the practices of the fattening hut that could almost kill her. Helen decides to run away and follows the little clues left behind that lead her to safety.

Likes: The writing is absolutely beautiful. I loved the writing first and foremost. It was poetic and although it was in passive tense, it was really evocative and lyrical. I liked that the story bringing to light the horrors of what is happening in Helen's world. I also liked the story for the same reasons that the author wrote it. I wanted to know more about this world and I do like that it was a non-description place and didn't rely on stereotypes. The ending was sad, but well-written and justifiable. I only hope(wish) there is a sequel about Helen and her younger sister, Suba as they adjust to their new lives. 

Dislikes: I wasn't too keen on the prose poetry format. I don't think the format did the story a complete justice. There was a lot of punch packed into such a small space, but I didn't feel like I got to know more about the characters. I also wish there would have been more about the times and the setting because I wasn't entirely sure when this story takes place. I wanted more of Aunt Margaret, she was a really compelling character that I feel didn't get enough face time.

Overall: This story is an engrossing tale and appropriate for a YA audience. As an older young adult, I would have liked a little more, but the story wasn't geared towards people in my age group and I feel that it was well written for the demographic it was written for. I still enjoyed it and it's still haunting to think of what Helen was running from and that these things really happen.

Recommended by: There were no recommendations. This is a case where the cover drew me in. I heard about fattening huts on Oprah on the episode about cross-cultural beauty. The cover is posted above and I thought that it looked really interesting. I'm glad I picked it up.

Acquired: Library.

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