Fatty Fatty Boom Boomby Rabia Chaudry
Genres: Biography & Autobiography / Personal Memoirs, Nonfiction
Published on November 8, 2022
Format: Audiobook Source: Audible
From the bestselling author and host of the wildly popular Undisclosed podcast, a warm, intimate memoir about food, body image, and growing up in a loving but sometimes oppressively concerned Pakistani immigrant family.
"My entire life I have been less fat and more fat, but never not fat." According to family lore, when Rabia Chaudry’s family returned to Pakistan for their first visit since moving to the United States, two-year-old Rabia was more than just a pudgy toddler. Dada Abu, her fit and sprightly grandfather, attempted to pick her up but had to put her straight back down, demanding of Chaudry’s mother: “What have you done to her?” The answer was two full bottles of half-and-half per day, frozen butter sticks to gnaw on, and lots and lots of American processed foods.
And yet, despite her parents plying her with all the wrong foods as they discovered Burger King and Dairy Queen, they were highly concerned for the future for their large-sized daughter. How would she ever find a suitable husband? There was merciless teasing by uncles, cousins, and kids at school, but Chaudry always loved food too much to hold a grudge against it. Soon she would leave behind fast food and come to love the Pakistani foods of her heritage, learning to cook them with wholesome ingredients and eat them in moderation. At once a love letter (with recipes) to fresh roti, chaat, chicken biryani, ghee, pakoras, shorba, parathay and an often hilarious dissection of life in a Muslim immigrant family, Fatty Fatty Boom Boom is also a searingly honest portrait of a woman grappling with a body that gets the job done but that refuses to meet the expectations of others.
Chaudry's memoir offers readers a relatable and powerful voice on the controversial topic of body image, one that dispenses with the politics and gets to what every woman who has ever struggled with weight will relate to.
I found this book a hard one to review because discussions of weight and body image are so personal. There were times when I found this book totally relatable as a kid who was always on the heavier side of the spectrum. Other times it was a bit uncomfortable to listen to her talk about how horrible she felt at a weight that was less than I weigh right now.
I tend to really hate memoirs that focus on stories from a person’s childhood unless they are famous for events as a child. A lot of the stories here are about growing up but these were ok. Rabia moved often as a child in addition to going back and forth between the U.S. and Pakistan. She was always an outsider and that perspective makes her stories more interesting than most people’s ramblings about their childhood. Plus, bonus points for her dad being a veterinarian even if the intro to that was her mother not wanting to marry him because he wasn’t “a real doctor.”
I did think that the book got much better though as she got older. It started to really pick up as she got to college and started making decisions for herself – both good and very, very bad.
This book is a love letter to Pakistani food. I listened to it on audio but there is a PDF that can be downloaded with many recipes. She loves food and that has always been part of her issues. She didn’t understand how anyone could stop eating when there was still more food that could be eaten. Portion control was not a thing. Struggling with her weight most of her life made her feel completely out of control and helpless. She didn’t hate her body. She hated how she just couldn’t stop. The book discusses weight loss surgery and what did and didn’t work about it for her. It shows how she has finally learned how to develop a healthy relationship with food and her body through a lot of hard work in the gym.