Book Review: Fat Girl Walking by Brittany Gibbons
Posted by Patricia @ Lady with Books
Fat Girl Walking: Sex, Food, Love, and Being Comfortable in Your Skin…Every Inch of It by Brittany Gibbons
Published: May 19th 2015 by Dey Street Books
Format: Paper Book
Length: 240 pages
Genre: Nonfiction, Humor, Memoir, Autobiography, Adult, Body Acceptance
Goodreads | Amazon
Dear person holding Fat Girl Walking
First of all, thanks for picking up this copy of my first book. I hope you buy it—and not just because each purchase gets me one step closer to buying the leather pants of my dreams.
I hope you buy Fat Girl Walking because I want to start a conversation. Or continue a conversation, one I inadvertently started a while ago when I took my clothes off on a stage in front of 700 people. A lot of people thought I was awesome for doing that. A lot of others thought a size 18 woman had absolutely no business showing off her body. Unfortunately for them, I’ve made it my personal mission on my blog, in social media, on television, and now in this amazing book you’re holding, to destroy the ridiculous myth that every woman who is overweight hates her body and herself. I, Brittany Gibbons, and the Curvy Girls I speak to every day on the internet, beg to differ. We love our bodies. We love fashion. We are in loving relationships, having lots of sex. We aren’t just a fetish, we’re normal women. Sure, sometimes we doubt ourselves, we’re not robots, but not anymore than EVERY OTHER WOMAN ON THE PLANET. See, Fat Girls aren’t freaks of nature. We’re just like you. Maybe we are you.
Fat Girl Walking is a collection of stories from my life, my thoughts about the issues that I have faced as a woman, wife, mom, daughter, daughter-in-law, and internet personality in regards to my weight. I have tried to be as honest as I possibly could—apologies in advance to my husband and parents, but hopefully any discomfort you feel is quickly replaced by laughter. The insecure texts to my husband and summer camp hijinks are hilarious if I do say so myself. And I also ask some tough questions, things like “What if my husband weighs less than I do?” and “Is my body hate ruining my daughter’s life?” Read Fat Girl Walking and let’s start having these conversations. No pressure, but we may just save all of womankind.
I don’t often read nonfiction books. In fact, the last time I can remember reading a nonfiction book was back in college, which was (cough) a long time ago. The body acceptance movement has been gaining momentum in the last couple of years and autobiography books like Fat Girl Walking by Brittany Gibbons have been popping up on book shelves everywhere. I’ll admit I picked this book up because it was the book of the month featured on The Militant Banker, a website that also advocates body acceptance and positivity. As an overweight gal myself, I didn’t know what to expect when I began reading Fat Girl Walking. Was I going to read about someone’s miraculous journey to fitness and health; i.e. – skinniness? Perhaps a very long pep talk about taking control of your life and your weight? It was a mystery to me what I was going to be getting with Fat Girl Walking.
Well, it was a miraculous journey but the end goal was not achieving the perfect body according to society. We follow along with Brittany Gibbons as she tackles life as an overweight person and get to share in her struggles to accept herself and change a prevalent social stigma that make countless people like her (like me) absolutely miserable. As she chronicles her life as an overweight teenager and young adult, I found someone I could relate to and sympathize with. Being constantly harassed, belittled, and ignored can crack even a healthy mind. I found myself nodding along as she described her anxiety and mere inability to just fucking function. Because, sometimes, just getting out of bed is too fucking much. I’ve been there. I’ve done that. And seeing this courageous woman blatantly baring those same hardships to the world was amazing.
As Brittany shares with us getting married and having children I found a woman I could admire and desire to emulate. It was seeing that her hatred of her own body and habits were being passed on to her daughter that drove Brittany to change how she sees herself and how other people see her, becoming a body acceptance advocate. That catalyst had Brittany stepping out of her comfort zone in a big way. It takes courage to put yourself out there as an overweight woman and not let other people’s comments and views chase you back into hiding. (This is our society people. Marvel at how shitty it is.) Courage is not the absence of fear; it is getting stuff done even as you are scared and throwing up in the bathroom from nerves and anxiety. It is as you are swimming in fear that you rise above yourself to be brave.
Fat Girl Walking has its hilarious moments and its heartbreaking moments. I cried as Brittany described her TED Talk. It was poignant and moving. However, one problem I had is that segments and timelines jump around in the first half of the book. We’d get a story about college days and then after that we’d backtrack to her childhood. It was hard to keep things straight when that happened. (Ho, ho! I made a funny. Read the book, you’ll understand.) Thankfully the second half of the book was predominantly after Brittany’s marriage and having kids and was less jumbled. There were also typos left in the text; which for a published book is kind of annoying. Those things should have been caught before the final printing.
Fat Girl Walking by Brittany Gibbons is a powerful memoir that encourages people to love themselves, no matter their size. It shows the world that sometimes the person hardest on us is ourselves and that fitting society’s ideal isn’t everything it’s cracked up to be. In Fat Girl Walking, Brittany tells us that at her lowest weight people called her stunning and the best she ever looked but it was at the cost of her health. It didn’t matter if her hair was falling out and her nails were breaking from poor nutrition as long as she wasn’t fat. This is bullshit and Brittany is all about teaching society that this is bullshit. Destroying yourself is not the way to do anything in life.
I enjoyed Fat Girl Walking. It was encouraging to see another woman’s journey to gain confidence and acceptance in herself. Learning to love yourself can sometimes seem impossible with the media shoving images of skinny girls in your face. It’s hard to stand in the face of society’s disapproval when you don’t fit the prevailing definitions of beauty. This can go beyond your weight to the color of your skin and eyes, your race, and even your economic class. Brittany Gibbons is one of the people taking steps to change that, to allow everyone to feel beautiful.
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About Patricia @ Lady with BooksI'm a 33 year old female. Brown hair. Blue eyes. I spend a great deal of my time surfing the internet and blogging. I enjoy cooking. I make a mean sautéed vegetable dish. I write. I read.
Posted on October 20, 2015, in book review, books, Nonfiction and tagged body acceptance, body positivity, book, book review, books, Brittany Gibbons, fat bullying, Fat Girl Walking, fat shaming, non-fiction, nonfiction. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.