It’s now 2020, and I haven’t stopped my quest to find books about fat women who don’t diet or date their way to happiness. While it’s been a weird, challenging road, I appreciate the recommendations each and every one of you share with me! Did you know my quest just turned 3? It’s now toddler-aged.
Misadventures of a Curvy Girl by Sierra Simone gets points immediately by including a fat woman on the cover. She’s sexy, she has large breasts and a wide rear end, and you see the way her skin folds. I love it.
Plot-wise, Simone’s work is lacking. Ireland, a twenty-something who works for a marketing company, heads to farm country in Nebraska to take photos for the Nebraska tourism folks. Her Prius gets stuck in the mud, which leads to her being rescued by a thirty-something farmer named Caleb who is looking for a third to complete a polyamorous relationship with his lover and friend, Ben. Caleb is the open, happy one and Ben is the veteran with PTSD. Ireland is a fat woman who is strong, confident, but new to self-acceptance after years of dieting, dating a guy ashamed to be seen in public with her, and a sister who fat-shames Ireland.
Although Sierra Simone’s plot is about as complex as a fish stick, there is loads of goodness throughout. Ireland does not learn it’s okay to be fat because she gets boyfriends; she was working on it — and making great progress — before. She points out misogyny where she sees it, such as Caleb telling her that he will speak to her boss about Ireland needed to stay overnight in the tiny Nebraska town. Granted, Caleb is friends with Ireland’s boss and that’s how the boss chose Caleb’s farm as the location for the marketing photos. However, Ireland impatiently tells this new guy that she can handle her own manager, thankyouverymuch.
Ireland is also given space to have doubts about how she fits into society. Yes, she’s taking charge of her life and accepting herself, but that doesn’t mean people won’t pick at her. She recalls the time she told her ex-boyfriend that she wasn’t going to the gym anymore because she wanted to take dance classes. He points out that those classes aren’t meant for weight loss, so she should compromise and keep going to the gym until she hits her target weight, then she can take dance classes as a reward. Oh, my. Simone writes an empowered woman who is still subject to the ills of society, but without writing vile material to the point where I felt I couldn’t read anymore.
While a polyamory in fiction is new to me, Simone worked it into the story in an incredibly natural way. No one declares, “I’m polyamorous!” on the first page. I could see how it worked, why, and feel the deep love and concern Caleb, Ben, and Ireland feel for each other. It was quite sweet, quite romantic. But be aware that Misadventures of a Curvy Girl is not romance; it’s more erotica. Much like Get a Life, Chloe Brown, Simone’s book is one of those smutty treats that make you feel all confused inside if you’re not used to reading them (I’m not).
I will say that I’ve been thinking about the trio in this novel for days now: the love, the trust, the lack of shame about their dating situation, the differences they bring to the relationship. I also initiated loads of conversations at various points during the novel, meaning it got me talking and thinking — always a positive point for a book.
What could have made Curvy Girl better was to remove several sex scenes (there are plenty, trust me) and show more of Ireland, Caleb, and Ben working to repair Ben’s bar that was destroyed during a tornado. We hear about the reconstruction, but don’t see it, and what story is complete without a “we can fix it together!” montage? A missed opportunity to give the plot and characters some depth.
If you’re comfortable with highly sexual novels that don’t put on a shadow show with euphemisms, or if you want to be, then Misadventures of a Curvy Girl is an excellent read that delivers great concepts and fat acceptance in addition to erotic situations.