Archive for the ‘Jen Lancaster’ Category

I’m so tired of books where a self-loathing heroine is teased to the point where she starves herself skinny in hopes of a fabulous new life.  And I hate the message that women can’t possibly be happy until we’re all size fours.  I don’t find these stories uplifting; rather, I want to hug these women and take them out for fizzy champagne drinks and cheesecake and explain to them that until they figure out their insides, their outsides don’t matter.

Unfortunately, being overweight isn’t simply a societal issue that can be solved by positive self-esteem.  Rather, it’s a heath matter, and here on the eve of my fortieth year, I’ve learned I have to make changes so I don’t, you know, die.  Because what good is finally being able to afford a pedicure if I lose a foot to adult-onset diabetes? (P.135-6)


Such a Pretty Fat by Jen Lancaster has been on my TBR list since it was published in 2008.  It is also one of those books where cover design played a significant role in catching my attention.  Underwear!  Lots of text!  Purple and green!  (The spine is also green, which I love).

Yes, I can be just that shallow.  Happily, so can Lancaster.  She’s bitter, rude and downright mean.  I adore her.  I can’t help it.  Anyone who makes me laugh out loud at six in the morning, breaking my code of stern silence while I’m wedged between dour bankers on the bus, gains my devotion.

Despite its fetching, rather flippant cover, I think this book might stay with me longer than most of the volumes I pick up when I’m looking for an amusing diversion.  Such personalized memoirs dealing with weight issues are rare, particularly ones that don’t preach or judge or where the authors don’t blatantly hate themselves for being fat in the first place.

I love Lancaster because she is so confident, regardless of her size.  Even her husband (who is wisely quiet most of the time) notes that once she starts dieting, her self-image becomes significantly worse.  Focusing so much on food and what she’s ‘supposed’ to look like make her, briefly, judge her worth based on how much weight she can lose and how she looks.  By the end of the book, Lancaster is still fat, still mean (bless her) but healthier and happier.  And she’s happy not because she lost weight, but because she finally decided to grow up and to stop being afraid of failure, which had been holding her back from doing all sorts of things.  Sounds clichéd, doesn’t it?  It’s certainly common enough to be, but I still appreciate how much people have to go through to actually come to that realisation.  Even after you’ve realised what is holding you back, you still have to find the courage to confront it and go forward.

I think Lancaster’s writing style is amusing enough to win over most readers and I’d hope that they would chose this from among her other books if only because it would give them what could be a rather shocking insight into how it feels to be fat.  Also, hopefully it would teach them that, if one phrase must be banned from their vocabulary, let it be “you have such a pretty face…”

What gets me is the ‘pretty’ face bit.  ‘Cause I won’t mind being reminded I’m fat as long as you water it down first.  Why not say, Hey, I’m going to insult you, but first I will congratulate your fortunate genetics and appropriate application of Bobbi Brown cosmetics to prevent you from hitting me.  Shit; I kind of prefer being called a ‘fat bitch’.  At least it doesn’t pull any punches. (P. 146)

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