I had The Dirty Girls Club by Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez on the calendar for my Fat Women in Fiction pick, but the author chose to burden her six (!) main characters with eating disorders, abusive husbands, and identity crises. Valdes-Rodriguez’s characters spout microaggressions everywhere, and there’s no need for me to tolerate horrible behavior and slurs being normalized. DNF.
I purchased They Don’t Make Plus-size Spacesuits by Ali Thompson, a fat activist known as Ok2BeFat, just recently. Her stories, however, reiterate all the vitriolic garbage society says about fat people. Why not use her stories to create fully-realized, empowered fat characters? The ideas are simplistic, too. Instead of a family working to make their daughter less fat, she eats diet food and exercises to be less…tall. Just why? DNF for feeling horrible while reading. Her content warnings don’t excuse the abusive thoughts and actions in the stories.
If novels are like a professional boxing match and short stories are like a “see you in the parking lot after school” fight, then flash fiction is the sucker punch of the story world. However, that sucker punch can’t always be killing off the character we’ve known for one paragraph. It gets old. Tender Cuts by Jayne Martin tends to rely to heavily on shock value when flash fiction can be more, you know, tender. DNF for losing interest.