By Myriam Laabidi
Out of breath. This is how we’re left after reading «Grosse», the recently published French novel written by Lynda Dion. Eight drawings, fashioned in charcoal by the author without much artistic value, make up the eight chapters of her book. They have a meaning, a coherence, and a chronology.
And then, the author pulls us into the depths, drowning us in a ravenous and crazy-paced read, void of punctuation, or pools of air to breathe.
She is overweight and it kills her. She didn’t make herself that way. She was born that way. She mistreats her body, abuses it – is blinded by the fact that it is colonized. Colonized by beauty diktats – the same that makes one detest their hair, their skin color, their nose, their acne, the grain of their skin, and so forth.
The decolonization of her body is a process of revolt, an outbreak that manifests violently. Lynda slices, cuts and eviscerates herself. She becomes a butcher. Everything is done in excess as a way to dismiss her body from her mind, with her alcohol addiction, sex or food binging. We wish to help but are pissed at her defeatism. We thus try to understand, and sincerely hope she comes out of it.
Lynda Dion is not a woman of color. She is an overweight woman who has suffered from a physical disparity, but her pain is universal. The minute we go through an episode of exclusion because of physical attributes and do not feel represented, we see ourselves in her life story. Any woman who’s at war with herself and her body will find words to relate to in Grosse.
This book is a vibrant testimony that is not always easy to hear, but nonetheless necessary. For ultimately, it is salvaging and helps in reconciliation with oneself. A must read.
Myriam is a model, a mother of two beautiful daughters and also a writer. Catch her pieces on Me, Myself and Montreal.