Monday, September 12, 2016

Pain takes up a lot of space

After Blackass I decided to pick up Dietland since it was on sale and hey, let's keep going with the satire, yes? Besides, I'd heard some good things about it and hey
The story follows Plum, a woman who has been battling her weight since forever, trying every fad diet that's come out, including spending awhile as a member Waist Watchers, with their packaged meals and support meetings. But nothing has worked. At this point Plum spends most of her time alone, either in her apartment or else at a local coffee shop. She works from home for a teen girl's magazine, answering letters to the editor "Kitty". She's scheduled gastric bypass surgery and is now just waiting for her real life to begin.

Then one day, Plum notices a girl seems to be following her around. And she meets the daughter of the women who founded Waist Watchers and joins a group of women at a place called Calliope House who are working on their own projects to break away from the societal pressures put on women to look or act a certain way.

There's also a feminist terrorist organization called Jennifer, though really they consider what they're doing counter-terrorism to all of the expectations and rules and violence perpetrated against women. As these two story-lines begin to come together there's a tonal shift I did not anticipate, though that may be my fault since I only ever seem to get a vague gist of what a book will be like before I pick it up. I thought this would be a satire of diet culture and obsession with weight and appearance and policing women's bodies and yes, it is that, BUT ALSO it's about a terrorist organization that's killing rapists and kidnapping people and making demands on magazines that they have to feature mostly naked men instead of women.

These were two interesting premises that sort of got muddled when they were brought together. I feel like things would have been better if the focus had been on one or the other. Or maybe even if one was a spin-off of the other. I liked the idea of both of them, and the beginning of the book I was 100% there for but as it went on, I went down to like 70% there. And then...

So if it's on sale or maybe you can get it from the library, check it out.

Gif rating:
Title quote from page 196, Location 2833

Walker, Sarai. Dietland. Mariner Books, 2015. Kindle