Saturday, July 26, 2008

A book I read

Last week, one of the Fat Acceptance blogs I read reviewed a romance novel that the author had read. In it the heroine engaged in a lot of "diet talk" which has come to be the equivalent for small talk for most women. In fact, "small" talk is probably a good term, since everyone seems to be wanting to be smaller.

I've never been small, really. I was a curvy little kid who grew into a curvy and large adult. It's a struggle for me, as a very clear representation of most people's fears about weight, to be happy with who I am. But I'm continuing to stay on that path of loving who I am, feeding this body in a way that it's (especially my bowel) is happy with, and moving pleasurably in this world.

That said, most of what I read, regardless of genre, is about people who don't reflect my size...and most certainly don't reflect my philosophy. So after reading this piece on the blog I mentioned, I went looking for romance novels that featured plus sized heroines. I'm still open to recommendations...and if you have non-romance you want to recommend as well, throw it my way.

The first book that I found and ordered from my beloved Paperback Book Swap site was Wanting What You Get by Kathy Love. I was a bit worried when I first started reading the book because it seemed a little slow in starting, but I gradually got pulled into the story of 2 people in a small town who are struggling with their own demons.

I'm not going to do a full book review, but I will critique a few things: first, the character goes from being grossly insecure to being confident overnight...more than a little unrealistic, but not necessarily unheard of in a relatively short romance novel (one of the rules is that there be Happily Ever After, after all), and the same thing happens with the male characters drinking problem. But more problematic for me was the characterization of the woman (a size 14) as really overweight.

A size 14 woman in this country is averaged size. She is a shorter heroine which may have added problems, but most size 14s can walk into any store and find clothing. They see a lot of other size 14s in the grocery store and among their families and friends. Especially as these characters were in their 30s at the beginning of this story.

I am happy that there is a woman who's body is average shaped in a romance novel. I suppose that many of us when we read put our own spin on the size of our heroines (I, for instance, had pictured a size 20 for the heroine before her size was mentioned in the bood), and I'm guessing for most the spin is what the culture throws at us as "norm."

I want to have more books with men and women that are like me. I want to have more books in which men and women like me are not sitting around worrying about their size and getting out to live their lives.

Like SS today. S & I will be traveling to the Presidio where we will watch her and her hula class perform their ho'ike (graduation performance). She has worked incredibly hard to achieve this, and is a large woman. Yay!


Cody Bones said...

So what is happening between you, S, and SS?

spinsterwitch said...

Still as ambiguous as ever. However, yesterday was a beautiful day on so many fronts. I'll probabaly have more to say on that later.

Hyde said...

I agree with your sentiment, but wonder how that would actually play out in a book. The only context in which I've seen a large sized woman is mentioned in literature/tv, etc. is usually because it's tied to some plot line about her self-esteem. It can never just be a given. Annoying...