This was definitely not the light and funny comedy memoir I was expecting, but I urge you to read it anyway. Even if you have no idea who Whitney Thorpe is (like me) or refuse to watch reality TV on TLC (like me), you will probably get something out of it.
The book basically covers two main concepts: the times that Whitney struggled with her weight, and how she’s learned to accept to love herself. Her problems with her self perception of her weight began when kids teased her an elementary school. I say “self perception” of her weight issues because she was not a fat kid. She wasn’t even a slightly chubby kid. She posts pictures of herself from that time and she was thinner than I was, and I never once thought of myself as an overweight kid. But I also didn’t have parents who were loudly obsessed with my weight, or peers who teased me for it. Whitney dealt with all of those things from young age. She threw herself into exercising and dieting, and eventually eating disorders. But nothing helped her lose weight, which led to depression and anxiety. Even her parents, who framed their obsession with her weight as supportive and caring, only served to damage her self-esteem further. She talks about everything she tried during this time, and more importantly, how people reacted to their perception of her as a fat person. It wasn’t till years later that she finally began to accept herself for who she is, and embrace her weight and her looks.
I absolutely believe that obesity is a huge problem in the United States. And while I totally support body positivity, I do worry that it sometimes excuses people from taking care of themselves. I feel completely differently after finishing her book. She discusses this topic head-on and talks about how her campaign for body positivity is about mental health and physical health — no matter what size you are. It’s about taking care of yourself and fuck the haters. It’s really a very very good book and I wish only that it had been longer. She’s a funny intelligent person with a lot to say and I highly recommend this memoir.