Dear Fat People,
Chapter 55 of Diana Spechler’s novel “Skinny” is only five-words long. Five provocative words, don’t you think? How did you feel when you read them? What did you think?
But wait. This book is not about hating fat people or being skinny. Not really, anyway.
After a life of restrictive and controlled dieting, Gray Lachmann finds herself compulsively eating at the age of 26 following her father’s obesity-related death. Desperate to stop bingeing, she goes to work at a weight-loss camp even though she is not fat.
Do we hate her? Do we love her? Diana describes her as a “Not-Entirely-Likeable Protagonist.” As I read the book, I had no ill-regard for her at all. In fact, I could relate to the character in many ways.
She doesn’t hate fat people, she hates herself. In her words, “You are the visible manifestation of the parts of ourselves we hide.”
She doesn’t hate the players.
She hates the game.
I struggle with disordered eating in all its forms but I’ve never been overweight. Naturally, I was curious about this book and the issues it might address. Diana kindly offered to send me a copy to review. She’s on my list of awesome people.
The book is engaging, hilarious, honest and multi-themed. It’s a great read that, among many other things, poignantly chronicles the reality of compulsive eating in all its forms.
Here are a few of the many lines that resonated with me:
Bingeing on food is not like binge drinking. I was not the sad, mysterious girl at the bar. There is no sexiness in a family-size bag of Bugles.
I’ll admit there was something relaxing in it. I was consumed and consuming and unfit for public consumption. The things that normally moved me – love, money, a yearning to be remembered, a fear of self-absorption – were muted.
Toward the end of the day, the worst I had was a mild headache. A small pang of hunger. Or…not hunger. A longing to eat. But the longing was contained….in a structured environment. It wasn’t until nighttime that I felt the familiar pull of food.
I’d wanted to purge. Plenty of times. But I’d always stopped myself. I’d been afraid to do it, afraid that if I did it once – ate all I wanted, then vomited – I would spend the rest of my life doing nothing but eating and vomiting.
God, I wasn’t even that thin. I wasn’t as skinny as I’d been believing I was. I’d been walking around believing my arms were bony, that my clavicles were standing at attention, that my legs were skeletal. How shameful that I’d been imagining myself as skinny.
It seemed absurd that I had ever eaten two packages of cookies in one sitting. Who was that person?
I won’t say “as if in a hypnotic state.” I know how the Ouija board works. I know that nothing is magic.
- Read Charlotte’s thoughts on the book and the website here
- Dr. Katie’s (Dr!) review of the book here
- Read Katie’s Interview with Diana here.
- Ashley’s thoughts on the website Diana started here
- Watch the trailer for the book here
- Visit the Body Confessions website