Updated: Jan 30, 2020
TITLE: Dietland: A Novel
AUTHOR: Sarai Walker
PUBLISHER: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
PUBLISHED DATE: May 26, 2015
There are parts of Dietland I truly enjoyed, and parts I wanted to skim. Overall this was a delightfully subversive novel flipping the bird to our body-obsessed-rape-culture-society and encouraging women everywhere, but particularly pluscious women, to love and embrace their bodies and to stop starving themselves to obtain an unobtainable weight and beauty standard. That...I absolutely loved.
Plum has the ever fascinating and hopelessly depressing job of answering the fan mail of a popular teen girls magazine. Responding to mail ranging from body image issues to domestic violence and attempted rape, Plum sends her messages of hope off into the void of society and tries unsuccessfully not to think of these young troubled girls again. Though Plum herself is fat, she writes as the pert and perky Kitty, trying to encourage young girls to love themselves and their bodies when all she does is hate her body and wish for invisibility.
After weeks of being stalked, she is given an invitation by a mysterious girl to Dietland, a fat camp that forces camp attendees to subsist on 850 calories a day and an intense workout regime in order to gain quick weight loss results. Of course, it's all a part of a corporate marketing scheme to keep the women controlled through low self esteem so that they continue a vicious cycle of quick weight loss, eventual weight gain, guilt, and then return to the same diet cycle. Plum's hunger - so powerful it causes her to shake - results in her sabotaging her weight loss program and diving right back into the decadence and deliciousness of her favorite foods and treats and sends her on a rampage against predatory f*ck boys and the body negative beauty culture we all hate to love.
Recommendation: This is for grown folks, and ones who are not easily offensive. If you're looking for snarky chick lit with a subversive bend, this one is for you.
Audience: Millennials and Beyond