Fat Girl Walking
Hardback: 288 Pages
Publication: June 2, 2015
by Dey Street Books
Hardback: 288 Pages
Publication: June 2, 2015
by Dey Street Books
Brittany Gibbons has been a plus size her whole life. But instead of hiding herself in the shadows of thinner women, Brittany became a wildly popular blogger and national spokesmodel--known for stripping on stage at TedX and standing in Times Square in a bikini on national television, and making skinny people everywhere uncomfortable.
Talking honestly about size and body image on her popular blog, brittanyherself.com, she has ignited a national conversation. Now in her first book, she shares hilarious and painfully true stories about her life as a weird overweight girl growing up in rural Ohio, struggling with dating and relationships, giving the middle finger to dieting, finding love with a man smaller than her, accidentally having three kids, and figuring out the secret to loving her curves and becoming a nationally recognized body image advocate. And there's sex, lots of it!
Fat Girl Walking isn't a diet book. It isn't one of those former fat people memoirs about how someone battled, and won, in the fight against fat. Brittany doesn't lose all the weight and reveal the happy, skinny girl that's been hiding inside her. Instead, she reminds us that being chubby doesn't mean you'll end up alone, unhappy, or the subject of a cable medical show. What's important is learning to love your shape. With her infectious humor and soul-baring honesty, Fat Girl Walking reveals a life full of the same heartbreak, joy, oddity, awkwardness, and wonder as anyone else's. Just with better snacks.
Fat Girl Walking is an important book in that that it brings up topics that society has been hesitant to address. Topics that we should address: such as the impossible-to-achieve beauty standards that the media propagates. And about how beauty is subjective. At the same time, Fat Girl Walking is a book that I would hesitate to recommend to some readers because of the explicit content. I will be explaining my reservations about the content at the end of my review so that readers who may not be as comfortable with such content can determine if they should pick up this book.
What I like about the book:
- Gibbons's story is relatable. No matter our size, most if not all of us have felt out of place in our bodies at some point. We've also dealt with growing pains, love and feelings of rejection, perhaps even depression and anxiety. We also, at some point, must decide who we are and what we should accept about ourselves. To this end, Gibbons gives us both the good and the bad. She doesn't prettify her story for us.
- Gibbons is candid in the telling of her story. The way Gibbons tells her story, it's from one woman to another. I love how personal the reading of this book is. Gibbons isn't here to tell us what to do, nor is she here to make her story about her body. While her body does play a role in her experiences growing up, it is a part of her. It isn't something she talks about as if it were separate from her essence or as if it is something to be controlled. Her story is about a woman who has become comfortable with who she is, and learning to love her body happened to be a part of the process.
- Important message: That said, it is important to remember that, if we don't love our bodies, we really can't love ourselves, and we won't treat our bodies, ourselves, right. As Gibbons mentions, it's not very comfortable to diet. It's much more comfortable to accept our size (though this doesn't mean that we should gorge on junk food—that's not very healthy).
- The last pages: I especially love the last part of the book. The first, and larger, part of the book covers Gibbons's life and what she dealt with growing up. The last part of the book follows Gibbons after she becomes more comfortable in her body and is filled with opinionated statements that are humorous and also inspiring. For example, she covers the pros and cons of subjects such as pregnancy. There are also some humorous email exchanges between Gibbons and her husband.
- We're beautiful when we love ourselves. Reading this book, I remember thinking that Brittany Gibbons is a beautiful woman. Yes, it's evident in the pictures that she includes in the books, but it's also evident in the words that she writes. When I read this book, I see a strong, confident woman who knows herself and loves herself. I understand that even now she might be dealing with some issues; our problems never entirely go away. However, she's chosen to confront her problems, and we can see in her story that her determination has made a great difference in her life.
What I didn't like so much: Brittany is a very candid and casual writer. This is charming and, at the same time, potentially off putting. While I love how she deals so frankly with issues that women face, I was not prepared for the explicit content. Rarely does a page go by when Gibbons uses explicit language. There is also quite a bit of frank talk about her sexual endeavors. While her language may seem commonplace to some readers, more conservative readers may find it off putting.
I was surprised that sexuality appeared as much as it did in this book. While I knew this wasn't going to be a weight loss book, I did expect a larger focus on body image, loving oneself, and having self esteem. I do understand that relationships play a large role in influencing how we grow up and how we view ourselves. It makes sense that Gibbons talks a lot about her relationships, especially about her relationship with her husband, and I respect that she wants to talk about sex given the role it plays in her coming to terms with her body. That said, it's a very personal subject. This book isn't for readers who aren't comfortable with explicit talk about sex (or about explicit, frank talk about any subject for that matter). This is a candid book in many ways.
Content (potential spoilers)
- Casual use of explicit language and use of profanity (not in moderation)
- Frank talk about sexual endeavors, including but not limited to a brief attempt at lesbian sex and her first lessons in masturbation as a ten-year-old girl. There is also frank talk of other matters. For example, when she was young, her dog slept on the bed with her and had its period, which got on Gibbons. Be prepared for a lot of frank talk on uncomfortable matters.
- There are also some domestic problems. Gibbons's dad got into an accident when she was young, and his behavior causes problems for the family. For example, he follows a boy to school for a reason that doesn't seem to warrant such extreme measures.
- Gibbons dealt with strong feelings of anxiety in college, and she talks about her experiences with it.
* There is a LOT of content in this book. I can't remember all of them. My advice is to treat this as a book filled with mature content. If this were a film, I'd give it an R rating for the language and sexual content. Do not read this if you aren't prepared to handle a lot of language or sexual content. Or frank talk about any subject.
A copy was provided by Harper Collins for review