Faith Duckle tries to reinvent herself at high school by losing weight at an institution after a failed suicide attempt. Despite the weight loss, Faith doesn’t make any waves until a single, violent act forces her to flee her home and meet up with a friend whose disappeared into a circus.
Faith, fearing capture, renames herself Annabelle and goes on a multi-state journey before finding the circus–only to find that her friend is long gone, his whereabouts unknown. She begins working at the circus as Annabelle, doing various grunt and dirty work until she becomes part of the show, thanks to her involvement with the elephants.
Throughout her physical journey, the Fat Girl she once was offers commentary and criticism. Most of the time, Faith/Annabelle fights with the fat girl, but when her newfound life at the circus is threatened, the fat girl teaches Faith/Annabelle a few important things and proves a well of strength.
I really liked this journey of self discovery, it is unfortunate that author Amanda Davis died so soon after it’s completion. The afterword by Michael Chabon memorializes this bright light of American literature that was extinguished too soon.