Published: April 7, 2016
Amye Archer, the writing center coordinator at The University and author of “Fat Girl, Skinny,” was recently nominated for the
memoir/non-fiction Pulitzer Prize.
“Fat Girl, Skinny” is a memoir about Archer’s life after an eye-opening divorce and battle with weight as she lost a hundred pounds on the Weight Watchers plan.
After a two-year experience, which is documented in the memoir, and another five years of writing, Archer began writing the story as fiction. Then, she realized her story is pretty simple.
“An overweight girl, with no confidence, stuck in a bad relationship, has to re-build her life,” she said. “The more I talked to people, the more people started to identify with the idea of being stuck somewhere, because they do not have the confidence to crawl out of it.”
Archer reasons on her blog, thefatgirlblog.com, that this stage in her life may not be physically permanent, but the impact of being overweight will be.
“I think once you are ‘the fat girl,’ — even if it’s only for a short amount of time, even if it’s only in your head — it stays with you forever,” Archer said. “It colors how you see the world, how you imagine the world sees you.”
Archer then realized that what she wanted to portray was fit for a diverse range of audiences.
“Anyone who has had relationship problems, body image problems or weight struggles, so that’s a lot of people,” she said. “I originally thought women would resonate to it but a lot of men are reading it and really relating to it.”
As a mother of twin girls, Archer explained that this memoir is for them and her 20-year-old self. She explains the values that everyone should aim for.
“I hope that young people will read this book and realize that the most important thing they can work on is building a home inside themselves, a strong place that they can take shelter from the world,” she said.
Archer recognizes the difficulty of finding a sense of self in younger generations.
“I am a big advocate for writing down our stories,” Archer said. “So I would hope that if I could send a message to our students, it would be that even if you think you don’t have a story that is worth writing down, you do.”
Archer’s thoughts on the sequel can be compared to having a child.
“Writing a book is like having a baby. They keep asking when the next one is going to come,” she said.
Archer explained that if there was to be a sequel, it would focus on motherhood and the relationship with her mother, where “Fat Girl, Skinny” left off.
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