Monday, June 8, 2015

I am the internet's token fat girl

It's been a long time since I accepted a book for review. I had been burned way too many times, so when I got an email asking me if I wanted to read this book called Fat Girl Walking I side-eyed it a bit. But then I saw it was from a publisher I recognize (HarperCollins) so I thought sure, I'll give this a try. Made the right choice. Good job, me! (Oh also, thanks Harper for being awesome and asking me if I wanted a copy of this in exchange for a review.)
Fat Girl Walking: Sex, Food, Love, and Being Comfortable in Your Skin...Every Inch of It by Brittany Gibbons aka Brittany Herself is a bit of a mouthful for a title. But I very much like what they did with the cover and the text. Reminds me a lot of Caitlin Moran's How To Be A Woman and Jenny Lawson's Let's Pretend This Never Happened covers. Good company to be in. It's a memoir where Brittany talks about her life growing up fat*, how her weight was a central part to how she developed, how she sees herself, and ultimately what she's doing now. She has a pretty successful blog. She was on Good Morning America wearing a bikini in Time Square. She gave a TED Talk that got a standing ovation. That's some pretty snazzy stuff.

I feel like I sort of made this sound like a feel-good type memoir and while yeah, I guess it DOES make you feel good and it encourages you to love you, it does it by being hilarious, which is what I need in my memoirs. There are a lot of embarrassing moments (sex-ed classes at a Christian school can cause some interesting/sad misunderstandings). The comparison to Jenny Lawson's book goes beyond just the cover; the two are very similar in terms of style and even content. Sure, Gibbon's book features way less taxidermy but if you like one, you're likely to enjoy the other. And her weight isn't the ONLY thing discussed. Her father is hit by a truck and suffers brain-damage when she's a kid. She has a bit of a breakdown in college that results in her never leaving the house. I realize those are dark things, but she handles them so well. Probably because she got some great advice from her grandmother:
You are going to fail at a lot of things, so when you do, do it on such a grand scale that half the room gives you a standing ovation, and the other half gives you the middle finger.
So yeah, good stuff.

As part of this review, they also gave me an excerpt to share so you can get a flavor of her style. And I can just copy and paste this instead of having to copy out a bunch of quotes, which is probably what I would have ended up doing instead.
My fitness and body aspirations at thirty are different from my aspirations at twenty. At twenty, I just assumed I’d work out until I was so tiny, people became concerned for my health and I’d roll my eyes at them from my Victoria’s Secret bras and Abercrombie jeans. Now I just want to maintain my current weight so I don’t need to buy new clothes. When you look at weight loss, it’s often clothing driven. Weddings, vacations, and high school reunions, all things you are supposed to be thin for. But what if you have a gorgeous wedding dress in your current size, loads of flattering bathing suits, and a killer pair of jeans? Starving myself has suddenly become a moot point. I have options; I’m no longer a fashion pariah. So where does that leave my weight? Well, unless I’m sitting atop you, what I weigh is really none of your business. 
I like to put good food in my mouth, and while I am aware of the calories I ingest, instead of cutting them I make them count. I have a full-on love affair with food, appreciating the different cultures and processes within it. In fact, I take entire vacations around eating. It’s how I remember where I’ve been; I’ve either eaten, thrown up, or started my period without the proper supplies there. 
Beignets with my best friend in New Orleans. Too much rum on the beaches of Playa del Carmen on our second honeymoon. Orlando, Florida, the city of emergency men’s tube sock maxi-pads. 
You see, these flabby parts aren’t problem areas; they’re parts of a scrapbook.
I can see this being a book I revisit, even if I haven't had the same issues with weight that Brittany tackles throughout. You don't need to be exactly like her for this book to be relatable and entertaining.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go check out her TED Talk.

Gif Rating:

You also have an opportunity to win a copy of the book. So that's neat.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Or you could buy it, either from your local bookstore, or here are a couple links:
HarperCollins, Barnes & Nobel, Amazon.

Title quote from page 2

Gibbons, Brittany. Fat Girl Walking: Sex, Food, Love, and Being Comfortable in Your Skin...Every Inch of It. Dey St, 2015.

*I honestly had trouble writing "fat" instead of "overweight" or some other word here, which is stupid because fat shouldn't be a bad word and IT'S RIGHT IN THE DAMN TITLE. Stupid society.