First things first – please don’t look at this list of six books and assume that this is my complete big, fat book collection. I have many more books, including ones on my favourite subject – body positivity. Some of them are so good that I have lent them to friends – I like to spread the word, sometimes literally!
I’ve been an avid reader from a very early age. It was almost unheard of when I was younger to find books with fat characters; on the rare occasion that this happened, inevitably the fat person was the butt of all the jokes. No one was writing about any kind of fat role model. I had nothing to aspire or compare my life to.
That’s all changed over recent years. Now, as well as strong, confident fat characters popping up in novels, we are also seeing many more books written by plus size authors for a plus size audience. It’s about time, isn’t it? Here are just a few books from my collection that you might want to check out.
If you’re lucky enough to live in a country that can access Hulu streaming service, you could currently be watching the serialisation of Shrill. Unfortunately, I’m not. It’s not something we get in the UK. The good news is that previous Hulu series’ have been picked up by Channel 4, so fingers crossed that this will follow the same path, because the book is excellent.
Lindy West really gets it, you know? The whole existing in a fat body while living in a world that has something against fat bodies thing. And she is funny – really funny. If you haven’t already read this one, check it out – I promise you won’t be disappointed.
This one was a Christmas present and is my current read. I must admit, I haven’t really been keeping on top of body positive literature lately (at least two of the authors featured here have had subsequent book releases. Bethany Rutter is working on her second book and I haven’t even read Plus+ yet!) and I hadn’t actually heard of Mara Altman or her book. I didn’t know what to expect but I’m always willing to read material from people with whom I have had shared life experiences. I’m only a couple of chapters in, and I’m loving it! Again, very highly recommended and very funny.
Perhaps better known as the co-creator of Red Dwarf, Rob Grant is possibly not the first name that springs to mind when you think of body positive writers. This is quite an old book (2006) and has been in my possession for quite some time. The back dust cover has a snippet from the book:
“Guaranteed to help you lose weight.*
‘It’s unclear, precisely, when it became illegal to be fat. Of course, technically, it’s not, even in this day and age. Even with the blatant persecution of all tubbies, there’s no official legislation on any statute book that comes right out and says fatness is against the law. But it is.’
*In conjunction with a starvation diet and a chronic debilitating disease.”
As you would expect from someone who dreamed up Red Dwarf, the story is very funnily written, but the subject matter is surprisingly moving.
Another fictional story here, about “growing up, growing out of your best jeans and growing apart from your best friend.” This is so much more than chick-lit, I loved the story and could identify so much with Maggie, one of the two main characters. If you enjoyed this article by our own Sophie Griffiths about what happens to a friendship when one party changes drastically, you will love this book. (Currently available for just 1p plus postage on Amazon, so grab yourself a bargain!). ,
If you follow the link to buy this one, you’ll notice that it’s now called ‘My Mad, Fat Diary’ – presumably following the release of the TV series, starring Sharon Rooney. The cover note says “if Adrian Mole had a sister …” and that sums this book up in a nutshell really. Another laugh out loud story, (are you sensing a theme here?) this one will ring very true with any of you who were (like me) fat throughout those impressionable teenage years.
The first time I read that, I cried. Buckets of tears, it felt like Jes was talking directly to me. This book is an extension of that article. Pages and pages of truth and revelation. The tag line on the front cover is “A Handbook for Unapologetic Living”. I would go further, I would say it’s a bible of sorts. My copy is a bit battered now, I have read it many, many times over. I’ve sought solace in the pages and garnered strength from each and every chapter. This is your life” – Changed. My. Life. If you are only going to buy ONE of these six books – this one should be it.
Don’t be surprised to see an article from me entitled My Bigger, Fatter Book Collection sometime in the future. If you have bopo recommendations for me to grow my collection, please jump in the comments and let me know.