Review: Fat Girl Walking: Sex, Food, Love, and Being Comfortable in Your Skin...Every Inch of It

If you read our weekly What the Wenches Are Reading posts, you'll know that a little while ago, Barb and I both read Fat Girl Walking: Sex, Food, Love, and Being Comfortable in Your Skin...Every Inch of It by Brittany Gibbons. Well, Barb read it first and then, knowing me like she does, insisted that I read it as well. And, I am so glad she did. I'm here to tell you my thoughts on this lovely book. And, in the process, hopefully convince you to read it as well. But, first, a summary of Fat Girl Walking....sort of:

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.
As you can see, in her book, Brittany tackles some tough subjects with humor. I was literally laughing out loud at some points in the book. I actually woke up my husband while reading in bed, because I was laughing so hard. So, keep reading after the break to find out more on my thoughts of this wonderful and important book.

Fat Girl Walking is more than just a memoir. Like Brittany says in her little note above, she is looking to start a conversation about how we, as a society, ​view people who are overweight. This is an extremely important conversation to have. No matter how you look or how you feel about your body, the way society views overweight people NEEDS TO CHANGE. It's unacceptable that children talk about how they are too fat or too thin. It's unacceptable that grown women have to read books like this one to feel better about their bodies. It's unacceptable that men and boys feel as though they need to have bulging muscles and six packs to be considered masculine. It's unacceptable that women feel the need to strive for completely unattainable bodies and weights.

Did you know that models meeting the body mass index criteria for anorexia? And, that plus sized models wear anywhere from a size six to a size 14? Let me reiterate that for you, MOST PLUS SIZED MODELS WEAR A SIZE SIX TO A SIZE 14!!! PLUS SIZED MODELS WEAR A SIZE SIX!! Do you know how ridiculous that is? Do you know what size the average regular woman wears? A fourteen. So, by using these skin and bone models, we are telling women and girls that these living stick figures are what they need to attain to achieve beauty. That is completely and thoroughly fucked up. That is why we need women like Brittany to take a stand. We all need to take a stand and say that we are all beautiful just the way we are. Are people who are overweight unhealthy? Sometimes, yes. But, it is also possible to be perfectly healthy and be overweight. Take, for example, the woman behind the blog Fat Girl Running. She is obviously in shape and healthy. But, she is overweight. As a personal anecdote, my husband is also pretty overweight for a man of his height. He also has a comprehensive health screening done every year through his job as a teacher. Every year it comes back perfectly healthy. Low blood pressure, low cholesterol, no signs of heart disease, diabetes, etc. In fact, the only thing wrong with him is a bum ankle from a break that didn't heal properly.

We've all heard the saying "Don't judge a book by its cover" but, when it comes to people's weight, all of us do just that. We need to stop that. We need to reshape our outlook on ourselves and other people. We need to do it together, or it won't be possible. We might not all have a thigh gap or a six pack or even just a flat stomach. I know I don't have any of those things. But, that doesn't mean I'm not beautiful. It doesn't mean that I'm worth less than someone who does have those things. We need to stop judging others because they look heavy. We need to stop judging people based on any sort of physical appearance, good or bad. Don't get me wrong, I still have bad self-esteem days. But, after reading this book, I'm working on it. And, those days are getting to be less and less painful. That is why I want everyone to read this book. I don't care who you are , EVERYONE SHOULD READ THIS BOOK.

Ok, enough ranting. On to the review!

​The Humor
Brittany brings an amazing sense of humor to her writing. It's self-deprecating. It's irreverent. It's accessible. With the subject matter she covers, a sense of humor is necessary. You need it to bridge the gap from uncomfortable and preachy to revealing and enlightening. There were so many times where I literally laughed out loud while reading this. I actually woke up my husband because I laughed so loudly at one point. Without the humor and lightness Brittany brings to her writing, we'd be left with some sad stories and a message that sounds like a cry for attention, not the extremely important start of a conversation and paradigm shift that it is.

The Stories
The book is told in a series or stories and vignettes. The subjects of some of them are right there in the title, sex, food, love, and being comfortable in your own skin. But, those aren't all of the things touched on in this book. There is at least one story that everyone can relate to. She talks about growing up poor and the influence that had on her weight and her self-esteem. She talks about her awkward teenage years. Who can't relate to that? We were all awkward teens, preteens, children, adults, etc. Everyone has an awkward phase. She talks about life with anxiety and depression, which is something else that needs to be talked about more openly. But, that's another post. She talks about falling in love, getting married, having children, parenthood, being a working parent. She covers all of the perils of adulthood. All told with her unique brand of humor and grace. 

The Message
Finally, the main reason everyone should read this book, the message it leaves you with. It leaves you thinking about how you should love yourself, just the way you are. Fuck what everyone else thinks. It tells you that being fat isn't a bad thing. It doesn't make you a pariah. It tells you that our society's standards of beauty are totally skewed and unrealistic. It helps you see that you don't need to be a size 2 to be beautiful. Now, of course, just reading this book won't magically solve all of your problems. But, it can at least set you on the right path. That's what it's done for me. It's opened my eyes to a lot of things about society and myself. My deeply rooted self-esteem problems aren't gone. But, I'm finally trying to deal with them by accepting myself the way I am, instead of trying to change things that most likely won't change. I've finally accepted that I most likely need help dealing with my anxiety issues. I actually talked about my anxiety with my friends, who have already sought help, and got some good advice about where to go from here. Now, you may be thinking to yourself, I don't have any problems with self-esteem or anxiety or anything like that. Why should I read this book? First of all, it's hilarious. That should be good enough. Second, you might not have these issues, but you might know someone who does. This will give you some much needed perspective on their lives. Husbands, boyfriends, fathers, I'm looking at you here. Third, the major theme of this book is changing the way we think about people who are overweight. We ALL need to change this. That's why you need to read this book.

Favorite Quotes
“I’ve actually long suspected there was a skinny girl inside me, but not in a metaphysical way. More like I probably had a twin, but I ate her.” 

“Side note: is anyone else grateful social media wasn’t a thing when they were a teenager? It’s like Draco Malfoy and all three Heathers smooshed into one invisible organism that thrives on Internet memes and passive aggression.” 

“Instead, I realized that people are allowed to say whatever they want to me about my weight, but it’s entirely up to me how much power I let those words have over me. I’m not obligated or required to accept negative commentary about my looks. I’m not less confident or honest for ignoring that it’s there. I’m just confident enough to know it’s not true.” 

“I banned the use of fat as a slur hurled toward myself and strangers. I'm not saying I don't see fat; saying that is akin to the people who make grand statements about 'not seeing color.' Seeing color doesn't mean you're a racist. It means your eyes work, but that you are hopefully able to see color not for a discrepancy in normal, but as a beautiful component of diversity.” 

These are just a taste of some of the hilarious and poignant quotes contained in this fantastic book.

My finally rating has to be: 

I hope I've convinced you to read this amazing book, beautiful and saucy Readers! Let me know what your thoughts below!


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