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A book on fat

I picked up a book yesterday at Borders because I figured I would need something to read while donating blood. The book is Fat Chance, by Deborah Blumenthal. It's a "chick pick" by People magazine, which might have been a clue, but I thought, could be okay, a book about a "fat acceptance" woman who suddenly is determined to lose weight because she is about to meet a Hollywood idol.

It's intended to be funny but I see another side. What I didn't see before I bought the book was the description of the writer. She's a nutritionist who writes columns. That would have tipped me off.

In essence, it's another book about fat people that doesn't understand fat people. The fat people in it overindulge in the most obvious of ways, never failing to fall for the fattiest, sweetest foods and always hating the greens and other healthier foods. The fat people are a size 16. The fat people don't seem to have trouble walking around town or hefting themselves upstairs.

Before our heroine, Maggie, goes on her desperate race for thin, she pulls Godiva candies from a bag and luxuriates in every one. She goes to lunch and savors the fat on the meat, the fries with the meal, the rich desserts. It's one meal after another, delicious and horrifyingly artery-thickening.

Then when she has lost some weight she starts referring to her former self as ugly, fat, unbeautiful, unhealthy, suggesting that her job as fat acceptance columnist might come screeching to a halt.

To be fair, I haven't finished it yet. But what annoys me: it only takes a few hundred calories a day extra to make you fat. It doesn't have to be fatty calories, can be any calories. If you eat like these people in the book every day you will be monstrous and won't even be able to get into the restaurant, much less enjoy your favorite foods there. Many people with high metabolisms eat more than people who are fat. None of this comes out in the many "columns" printed in the book, although there are, of course, many tidbits of truth in them.

People can be fat and healthy if they exercise. There is a suggestion in here that this may be so but no real recognition.

At the same time that I am being annoyed by this book I am also thinking it may be time to start editing my own book, which is, after all, on fat.

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
dangerouslysane
Sep. 2nd, 2005 12:30 am (UTC)
I hope I get to see your book soon!

As a rule, I tend to avoid the "Self Help" section @ the book stores, as, generally, these books seem to have a pop-psychology, exploitative angle, which turns me off.

But sometimes, I'll find something in the "Humor" section (think Nicole Hollander's Inner Bitch books), that will also fall into the "Self-Help" genre.

I have confidence that your work will be a rewarding read! :)
judith
Sep. 2nd, 2005 12:35 am (UTC)
I avoid self-help books also. This book is fiction but I am wondering if it is a cleverly disguised self-help book really.

Love Nicole Hollander.

My book...right now it's really bad. But somehow reading this book has made me think maybe i can make it good.
dangerouslysane
Sep. 2nd, 2005 02:13 am (UTC)
I am so totally confident that you will make it good! &hearts
attelage
Sep. 2nd, 2005 08:58 pm (UTC)
Interesting.

I'll buy your book, a signed copy of course. =)
judith
Sep. 2nd, 2005 09:20 pm (UTC)
I am almost done with Blumenthal's book, and my opinion hasn't changed. It has developed into a cute fictionalized self-help book. Lots of suggestions on how to control overeating. Still not enough recognition of real weight problems - Maggie is all of 35 pounds overweight, and loses it in 6 weeks! Oh for heaven's sake.

My book, as I've said before, really is not good. But I do think it can be. You will surely be one of the first to get a copy if it ever gets off my computer and into a binding.
judith
Sep. 4th, 2005 06:56 pm (UTC)
oh yeah. The book ends with...a diet plan and cutesy "tips". Any of which you already know.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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