Book Reviews from our November/December Edition
As redirected from the magazine, find the book reviews from our November/December edition
There’s nothing I hate more than finding a book that checks all boxes: acclaimed, promised page turner with an overweight woman about to discover herself, settling down in my favourite reading position cracking open the first chapter and realizing “discovering yourself” means losing weight. Finding a great book with a fat protagonist is rare-finding one with a protagonist who does not lose weight and doesn’t want to kill herself because “she feels so ugly” is a blessing sent only by the literary gods. Here are three books with fat protagonists who love themselves for who they are-and don’t need to slim down to stay cool.
Dietland by Sarai Walker
Wether fat or skinny, anyone with a uterus should read this book. Dietland is a slap in the face to any diet-and-you’ll-be-fulfilled chick lit garbage, and a battle cry for any woman sick of being told she’s less. Dietland follows Plum, an overweight sympathy aunt for the popular magazine column Dear Kitty, who is a few weeks away from weight-reduction surgery. Bullied mercilessly by her boss and co-workers and everyday strangers for her weight Plum’s resolve to “get skinny and get a life” isn’t tested till she finds herself targeted by an underground rogue feminist group called Jennifer. This begins a unique and incredible journey that digs its fingers into the worst parts of society and drags them to light. Visceral, sardonic, engaging and witty, Dietland gives us an unfiltered look into the way the world treats women; emotionally, physically and sexually, in an honest way like nothing else has before. With lines like “Telling her she’s pretty was the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, the winning lottery number, the healing hand of Christ on top of her head. He had been made to believe he had such power. It had been given to him by women like her” Dietland is a book about terrorism: the wild rapist-killing and molestor-torturing Jennifer cell and the daily terrorism that fat women face from the outside- and deeper within. No one ever reads this book and comes out the same.
Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy
There’s a special place in heaven for Julie Murphy for writing this book. The novel follows Willowdean an obese teenager in a Southern-American small town who thinks she’s always been comfortable with her body until she’s convinced to apply for her town’s beauty pageant-against her mother 1987’s winner and the head judge’s wishes. Dumplin’ is a book for fat girls who are already confident (Yes, that’s a thing writers!) but still have to struggle with the regular day-to-day in-and-outs of being big around small minded people. While it’s designated young adult fiction, it’s a novel for all ages that explores healthy female friendships, dating while curvy and the true meaning of bravery. For any big girl who’s sick of the funeral parade of low self esteem and negative self image novels with fat chicks, this is the book for you! (If you’d rather see this on screen, a movie starring Jennifer Aniston is getting released next year!)
Landwhale by Jes Baker
A memoir on Turning Insults Into Nicknames, Why Body Image Is Hard, and How Diets Can Kiss My Ass as self described on its web page, Landwhale is the only non-fiction entry on this list and my personal favorite. Written by famous body positivity activist Jes Baker, Landwhale talks about fat in a brand new way. For those of you who didn’t grow up fat but got fat halfway through your lives this is a great book for you and if you were a fat kid growing up like me this is still a great book for you! It discusses everything from not fitting in rides at amusement parks to how much our parents influence the way we see our bodies. She’s also one of the rare fat positivity writers who turns the conversation on race and intersectionality, and how being black and fat has more repercussions than being a fat white girl. If you’re already down the path of acceptance this book should be your Bible on where to go from here. If you’re interested but unsure check out Jes Baker’s blog: The Militant Baker.
Reviewer: Melssa Mordi