What a horrible, shallow, degrading, boring, piece of garbage this book is. Lindsay Faith Rech, in writing Losing It, has spawned an abomination. Let me explain:
Diana is a size-sixteen 32-year-old woman who works as a waitress at a truck stop. Her co-workers and customers degrade her. Her thin mother degrades her. She wishes she were dead, like her father, and is delighted when she is told by a doctor that she might have a tumor. Why all the degradation and death wishes? Because Diana is fat.
I’m not even going to fully review this book; it doesn’t deserve paragraphs. Instead, let me give you some examples of how horribly fat women are represented in fiction — and remind you that the author is choosing to do this to a fictional person:
- From Diana’s mother: “You can pay me back by losing some of that weight so you don’t keep breaking my heart and my wallet every time we go to lunch.”
- The narrator: “…cosmetics would only turn her into a decorated fat person.”
- When Diana starts going to a bar to pick up men, whom she compares to pizza: “Woops, food analogy. As a woman on the road to thinness, Diana wished not to have those anymore. She had to keep in mind that in her new life, nothing was a bowl of cherries, the whole enchilada, as easy as pie, a piece of cake or the icing on it.”
- About an exercise class: “Diana felt like a big, fat blueberry in her navy terrycloth jogging suit.”
- When her 93-year-old neighbor brings over stuff to make sundaes: “The presence of such no-no delectables could only mean one thing: she would get fat again” but then she learns her friend brought “fat-free frozen yogurt, sugar-free chocolate sauce, and reduced-calorie whipped cream, and that each cherry was only ten calories apiece.”
- From Diana’s diary: “No matter what happens with TJ, I will not let myself get fat and pray for death again.”
- After a guy with whom she had a one-night stand blows her off: “She was in the 150s [pounds] now. She wasn’t a big girl. She’d even started to believe she was beautiful. Why was he taking that away?”
- Diana starts working at a day camp for children, and this is how she describes one little girl:
And then there was Debra, the playground bombshell, who, despite Diana’s valiant efforts not to be jealous of a four-year-old, constantly drove her to the greenest hills of envy. Here was a little girl with big green eyes, gorgeous auburn hair, and all the signs of perfect bone structure and a lifetime of carefree beauty. [emphasis mine]
Either the author is incapable of realizing her own hypocrisy, or her main character is a flaming idiot. When she talks with a man about his recent divorce, he notes that his ex-wife would never leave the house without make-up and dressing nicely. She kept a brush in every room in the house in case someone stopped by uninvited. Diana raves about what a vain peacock this man’s ex is, not realizing the entire novel has thus far focused on what she puts in her mouth and her fat cell count. How boring. What a boring woman. If she thinks she hasn’t found happiness because she’s 5’4″ inches and 178lbs., I’d like to remind Lindsay Faith Rech that she brought to life a vapid creature whose weight-obsession would make a plant yawn.
This book was been selected as part of my search to find positive representations of folks who identify as fat women in fiction, nonfiction, or poetry. That positive representation will not hinge on the character being miserable and then happy after losing weight or falling in love. Characters can lose weight or fall in love, but it is not the catalyst for their happiness. I also will not recommend books in which the character pulls her body apart (I call this the “chicken dinner”) and criticize pieces.
Thus, books will either meet or not meet my criteria, which will factor overall into my recommendations. I purposely use the word “fat” because it is not a bad word. Using plump, curvy, plus-sized, fluffy, big-boned, shapely, voluptuous, or any other term suggests that fat is bad and thus needs a euphemism.