Archive for the ‘writers worse than me’ Category

about sucking fiction

Posted: November 12, 2012 in writers worse than me

a fat molecule of some sort

i’ve taught “the fat girl” (by andre dubus) many times in the past few years. i first read it in college. something always bothered me about this particular story, and, no, i’m not talking about how well it fits the definition of the “workshop story.” i don’t use it in class because i think it’s awesome, but because of how well it illustrates key fictional concepts of “supporting characters” and “metaphorical unity.” after reading and discussing the story, students can understand and define them well. it isn’t my type of story but, on a technical level, this piece is shiny.

but it bothered me.  i didn’t know why until we discussed it in connection with morals. sometimes, to illustrate the uselessness of morals, i ask classes to write down three morals that everybody should live by. we get a lot of repeat answers.

anyway, when we got to the end of our discussion of “the fat girl,” we talked about what we thought about the girl’s situation, what the writer might be suggesting we feel at the end of the piece. people shouldn’t worry so much about their appearances, one student said. they have to love themselves before anyone loves them.

she’s right. that’s why this story sucks and i hope to never read it again.