taking up space
January 2, 2006 07:25 PM

I've been meaning for awhile to sit down and write a review of Pattie Thomas's new book, Taking up Space. It actually came out in October, and I wrote a little bit on my livejournal at the time (here), but here's a full review...

This book rocked.

End of review!

Really. It is, I hope, seminal in the way that Paul Campos's 'Obesity Myth' (or should I say 'Diet Myth') has turned out to be. If you go to Amazon these days and look up his book, there are at least 20 others related to it, telling essentially the same story with a different angle or newer facts. I want Pattie's book to do the same thing, because it's the sort of book I've been waiting for. It's an Official Fat Chick Book that has something serious and smart to say - equal parts memoir and sociological study, as promised, but also a guide to living in and changing a world that really hates fat people.

That last bit is what makes it extraordinary and rocksome. I wouldn't argue that we don't need Paul Campos and others writing all those other books critiquing the 'science' behind the Obesity Crisis! Egads! - because we undoubtedly do need that kind of writing to debunk all the ridiculous legend-making about fat done by much of the mainstream media and the diet industry. Someone's got to point out that there's a problem with what we're hearing - and probably a lot of someones, if we're going to get anywhere near balanced, rational thinking on the subject.

But. Equally necessary are the people living fat and speaking out about it, particularly the folk like Pattie who can help connect both other fat and non-fat people to their experience. It's a weapon against hearts, not just against minds and science. It's a weapon for hearts, too - fat people's stories get told so rarely, except as the 'success story' of not being fat anymore. Those stories make it sound like the real person was the Skinny Chick Inside, and not the fat one afterall.

Pattie's story is absolutely nothing like that.

Read the book. I truly enjoyed it, and not just for what it represents - the writing is frank and thought-provoking, too.

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