Exploded View by Carrie Tiffany – Book Review

Our young narrator sneaks from her house at night to play with, drive and sabotage the cars that come to Father Man for repair. She is playing a game where she doesn’t speak and this goes mostly unnoticed. She is sneaky, escaping from her reality when she can.

I found this a hard book to read. I struggled with the voice of the main character and found myself re-reading passages to try to place them within the world, and to discover the truth which, through the unreliable narrator, was often hidden. I love an unreliable narrator, and it was extremely effective telling this story, because some truths don’t want to be told. However, I struggled to get past the description of the fat woman next door. If it was just that she was fat, that would be fine. But it was the way the word fat was used to convey value, moral judgement. This woman wasn’t fat and horrible, or fat and lazy, or fat and whatever, it was that the fact that she was fat made her bad, which sucks. Swap fat out for short and you start to see what I mean. Our society tells us that fat is bad, and for all of us who grew up fat and felt like lesser people for it, reading something like this really hurts. I understand that this is how the character is viewing things, but that doesn’t make it seem any less hurtful. These descriptions ruined the book for me, to the point where I can’t tell if I would have appreciated the book were they not in it.