Books I Hate.
Today I saw an article about an interview with Jessica Weiner and I immediately catapulted into a semi rage. Confusing Jessica Weiner, with Jennifer Weiner, the author of at least two books I cannot stand and more that I will never read. The reason I cannot stand JW’s books is because, even 6 years ago when I read the first one, her weird weight issues really pissed me off.
It seems, that in order for a book to have a happy ending the character must fulfill their Fantasy of Being Thin. At least in the world where JW writes.
The book “Good In Bed” which I guess was supposed to be revolutionary in that it focused on an “overweight” female character, and treated her like she was an acutal person, has often been recommended to me. I hated this book, not because it was about an overweight woman, but because the overweight woman does not find happiness until two things happen:
1. She loses weight.
2. She finds a man.
Now I read this book a long time ago, so you’ll have to forgive me if I’m oversimplifying her weight loss stuff, this is what I vaguely recall. I don’t really recall the book saying specifically that she couldn’t be happy until she was skinny. However I think it is important to note at the end of the book she is thinner than she was originally, even after having a child. It is not so much that the weight loss is important in her journey to happiness, in fact I vaguely recall some of it being the result of depression, it is that it exists and theoretically is supposed to make the ending just THAT much happier.
(Again possibly totally wrong. But that is the conclusion I drew the first time I read it, and I don’t want to re-read it in case that conclusion is correct and will result in me throwing things. So if you think I am 100% off, just comment and I will believe you.)
EDITED: It turns out I think I am confusing the end of Jemima J with the end of Good in Bed. (Jemima J by Jane Green.) So I hereby replace Good in Bed with Jemima J.
My question, mostly to the author, was Why? Why couldn’t the fat girl have stayed the same weight she was at the beginning of the book and lead a happy life?
I recall better the movie “In her Shoes” which could have been totally awesome. The story about two sisters with all kinds of issues and their family. Having a sister who I am very different from in a lot of ways, I really relate to this movie, and I cry a lot. But weight loss comes up here again, and again, one of the sisters is not happy until she has lost weight.
Again, it is not that she tries to lose weight, or that she says she can’t be happy until she lost weight. She gets a job as a dog walker, and gets in better shape as a result, and has a total career change and is generally much happier. Totally great. But she loses weight, and it comes up in the movie, now she is pretty and thin, and engaged and everything is great. Total FoBT.
I guess my general frustration is that JW’s books, the two that I have read, while purporting to be about real fat women, completely feed into our desire to be thin. (Not to mention female stereotypes. Here is my manifesto: I have a Vagina, and I don’t really care all that much about shoes. )
So, thoughts, do you think I misread these books completely? Any recommendations for better, more fat friendly literature, any genre is welcome. (I prefer books with strong female heroines, just saying.)