Misadventures of a Curvy Girl by Sierra Simone

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.

23 comments

  1. While you so elegantly pointed out the “plot is about as complex as a fish stick”, it sounds like there was still a lot to unpack here. I don’t mind it when plots are lacking if there are quality characters. In fact, if the characters and their development are well done I often don’t notice a complete lack of plot. Oops. Was the plot so boring that you felt it distracted from your experience reading this novel?

    I’ve never read polyamorous fiction, but I do know a poly couple. It’s a liberating and wonderful thing to observe and experience. I should seek some poly fiction out. What sorts of conversations did you end up starting?

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  2. One of my kids was in poly amorous relationship. I met the others, it seemed to work ok and they are all still friends. The ‘kid’ (older than you I think) has been in bi-sexual relationships off and on, and doesn’t keep any secrets. Sometimes I wish that were not always the case!

    I find it’s difficult to have a rule about sex in books. Some experimental work is highly specific but the sex is not the most important bit. But in general fiction, if there’s lots of sex, then that seems to be what the book is about and all the rest is just filling. Given the title, the author intended this to be about a fat woman having sex – not a woman having sex who happens to be fat. Still, if you didn’t find it exploitative then that’s a good thing.

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    • I felt like everything was done respectfully in this novel. The title was likely created by the publisher. There are a whole series of books called Misadventures of [fill in the blank] that are written by different authors. While there was too much sex for me personally, I also thought it was done well. There were conversations about consent, parameters, being able to revoke consent — things I don’t see in romance/erotica movies or books because people think it isn’t sexy. I’m glad that conversation is changing.

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  3. Hahaha “complex as a fish stick”… I love your turns of phrase! It’s too bad the plot wasn’t a bit more impressive, but it sounds like the characterization was done well at least. It’s good to know the poly relationship worked so well also, I’m trying to keep an eye out for a good poly story to read because I don’t think I ever have yet!

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    • I’m not sure why I forgot to add this part, but I remember that I wanted to include something in my review about how the trio have conversations about consent. What do they consent to, to what extent, and revoking consent. I really appreciate seeing these conversations in fiction (I have yet to see it in film) because ever since #MeToo became a movement, I hear people say things like asking for consent ruins the mood. If people are going to engage in sexual activity with someone they don’t know will be grown up enough to talk about consent, then maybe that person isn’t ready for sex.

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      • Ah, that’s great, proper dialogue about consent is something I love to see in fiction as well! It’s become very noticeable to me when it’s absent or considered unimportant, especially in romance novels. And hard agree, anyone who’s more concerned about the mood than consent is not worth the time or attention, imo.

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  4. I genuinely laughed out loud at “complex as a fish stick!” Good stuff. I’m on the side of less is more with romance I think… I can take about three or four steamy scenes and that’s plenty for me. Call me a prude! 😂

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    • The interesting thing to me about reading fiction with sex is it’s all on a scale. I mean, am I a prude? Am I just new to x, y, and z and will get used to it? Are the sex scenes “meh” to the hard-core erotica crew? What exactly is “hard-core erotica”? It’s all interesting to me in ways that make me feel loads of emotions: shy, sexy, confused, etc.

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  5. I like your reiteration that although there’s lots of sex there’s lots of consent and checking in with stuff – and it sounds like Ireland is a pretty positive character. i’ve noticed a lot more consent stuff in the modern more romance than erotica books I’ve been reading, so seems to be coming in everywhere – always a good thing of course.

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  6. I love the sound of Ireland! What a fantastic character, and I’ve never (really) come across polyamorous relationships in novels, but I’m (sort of) reading about one in Three Women by Lisa Taddeo. I think you may be interested in reading it too! Although I will say, as someone pointed out to me already, it’s about white cis-gendered woman, and it’s non-fiction, so not a huge variety of viewpoints unfortunately.

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