by Sarai Walker
Plum Kettle does her best not to be noticed, because when you’re fat, to be noticed is to be judged. Or mocked. Or worse. With her job answering fan mail for a popular teen girls’ magazine, she is biding her time until her weight-loss surgery. Only then can her true life as a thin person finally begin.
Dietland is a bold, original, and funny debut novel that takes on the beauty industry, gender inequality, and our weight loss obsession—from the inside out, and with fists flying.
I bought Sarai Walker’s book Dietland after I read an article she wrote http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/07/opinion/sunday/yes-im-fat-its-ok-i-said-it.html, and a friend asked if I had read Walker’s book. I hadn’t but I knew I needed to. I immediately ordered the book on my Kindle and started reading it and I knew from almost the first words that this was a book that was going to speak to me personally. I couldn’t put the book down and I stayed up late reading, anxious to find out what was going to happen next. All of the challenges I’ve faced in my 65 years of living seemed to be captured in this one book. It was like Sarai Walker plugged a USB cord into my brain and downloaded all of my thoughts, feelings and experiences.
If you’ve ever been judged for how you look, been told “if you just lost weight, you would be beautiful”, tried every diet under the sun and none of them did any good, been sexually harassed at school and/or work, or even on the street, or worse been abused, molested or raped, something in this book will touch you. The main character of Plum experiences most of these or knows someone who has.
Plum goes from a young woman who does everything society tells her to do, especially in trying to lose weight, living for the day when she is thin and beautiful, that she essentially has no life, no identify, no rights. She is judged by what she wears, what she eats and how she lives, always trying to do the right thing but getting no where fast. Finally she meets a group of women who help her see her own real potential and to liberate herself from everyone else’s opinions, all the while watching a very strong role reversal going on in the world around her. I felt like Plum was me.
I mourned the ending of the book simply because I didn’t want it to end. But I was happy for Plum and it gave me hope that there was hope, and Plum was an inspiration for me. It’s just too bad it took me this long to see that.