Saturday, August 21, 2010

What's On My Toilet Right Now

Like many moms, the only place I can read a book is in the bathroom.

Right now I'm reading Little BIG Things by Tom Peters.  I try to read a non-fiction/business book at least one a month.  This one is a pretty easy read.  Plus, I've always liked Tom Peters.  He's zany.

I re-read My Antonia by Willa Cather.  I love that book.  I read it every year.

But my new FAVORITE is The Fat Girl's Guide to Life by Wendy Shanker.  SO AWESOME!  I need to make a big HOOP-DA-LA about it!  (holla Alexa O!)

Books about confident fat women resonate with me.

When I read Wake Up I’m Fat by Camryn Manheim I felt like she had written my entire life’s story. I shared every one of her experiences. Every one.

I always thought that except for her being Jewish & me being Catholic, Camryn Manheim and I were exactly alike. After I read it a few times -- I’ve actually probably read it at least ten times -- I realized that she & I weren’t all that similar. She’s tall, I’m not. She’s Liberal, I’m not. (Not anymore, anyway). She’s an actress, I’m not.She was a thin kid, I wasn’t.  She won an Emmy, I didn’t.

But she’s fat, and so am I. She’s confident. Me too! She’s successful. Ditto. She refused to let being fat get in the way of her goals. I love that about her.

I love how she is an advocate for fat girls. I love how she calls it out -- makes it plain that she knows she’s fat and doesn’t care if you have a problem with it. (Remember her Emmy Acceptance speech where she said proudly "This is for all the fat girls!"?  -- Love You Camryn!  Can I call you Camryn?)

Camryn knows she’s fat, but she also knows she’s pretty. She knows she’s talented. She knows she’s sexy. She knows she’s smart. And being pretty talented, sexy & smart is good enough. She doesn’t have to be thin too.

I got the same sense of kismet when I read Such a Pretty Fat by Jen Lancaster. I was a little bummed at first when I read it, because I was already writing The Gift of Fat and the idea that there can be TWO confident, successful, hilarious women writing memoirs about what it’s like to be fat. . .

Camryn Manheim’s book doesn’t count because she won an Emmy already.

Lancaster is an every woman. She looks like me  (I mean, she looks like I would if I didn't have kids.)  I felt like our stories were very, very similar. Upon closer examination, however, we don’t have that much in common after all. I am not a big dog person, for one. I have three kids. I don't drink anymore.  I’d be perfectly happy in the suburbs of Chicago, having grown up there myself. I'm not quite as preppy.  (Sorry, but polo shirts look like crap on me).  Differences aside, Jen & I would totally be bffs.

And now there's Wendy Shanker.  She nailed my position on Fat & Health Care, The Weight Loss Industry and Fat in the Media.  And funny?  Oi Vey -- she is a stitch. 

This time, instead of feeling jealous that someone else wrote my book, I feel vindicated that I am not alone.  There is room on the book shelves (and the blogosphere) for more funny Fat Girls.

Know what would be FUN?  If Camryn, Jen, Wendy & I all got together for lunch.  Someplace yummy.  Someplace with tiramisu.  We'd have a blast!

You don't have to be fat to enjoy these books.  Why don't you run to the library, pick one up & then head to the bathroom?

You'll thank me!

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