My obituary (for Colleen McCullough)

Colleen McCullough has died. She had a devoted audience and sold loads of books. She worked hard at her craft and was lucky enough to make some money doing what she loved. And she got an obit that led with an opinion of her appearance, because, as we all know, that’s what matters most with a woman: how her looks measure up against someone else’s ideal. 

So I figured the least I can do is help out some obit writer who might be struggling beneath a blinding cloak of sexism and stupidity — you know, be a sweet and quiet assistant, behind the scenes — and write my own obituary. I hope you like it. Oh, don’t worry: I got my husbands permission.

Golly, do all these words make me look fat?


An overweight woman who had trouble keeping her opinions to herself, Michelle Butler Hallett somehow managed to help raise two children. Her husband, Dr David Hallett, who teaches English at Memorial University of Newfoundland and who specializes in Canadian historical drama, Shakespeare, twentieth century British fiction, and the novels of David Adams Richards, insists his wife could cook a decent meal when she felt so inclined and points out that no one starved to death. Gifted with a large nose, Hallett’s wife collected and curated a wide collection of internet-based slow cooker recipes and liked to debate the use of something called the Oxford comma. She complained a great deal about her minor aches and pains, despite repeated advice to “Suck it up, Princess, you don’t look sick,” and it seems she enjoyed writing little stories on evenings and weekends. Sources close to the family note do admit that Mrs Dr David Hallett suffered from problematic hair and a regrettable tattoo habit, though she did sometimes wear makeup and always looked better for taking the time to make the effort.

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