Reading Fat Women Challenge

Here is a list from my 2017 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.

  1. I Do It With the Lights On by Whitney Way Thore (recommended)
  2. Dietland by Sarai Walker (highly recommended; must read)
  3. Fat Girls and Lawn Chairs by Cheryl Peck (not recommended)
  4. Fat Girl, Terrestrial by Kellie Wells (recommended)
  5. Faith, Vol. 1: Holywood and Vine by Jody Houser (recommended)
  6. Fat Girl by Jessie Carty (not recommended)
  7. Scoot Over, Skinny: The Fat Nonfiction Anthology co-edited by Donna Jarrell (some essays recommended; not all essays are positive for fat people)
  8. What Are You Looking At? The First Fat Fiction Anthology co-edited by Donna Jarrell (some stories recommended; not all essays are positive for fat people)
  9. Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman by Lindy West (highly recommended; must read)
  10. Misadventures of Fatwoman by Elizabeth Julie Powell (not recommended)
  11. Fat Girl Dances with Rocks by Susan Stinson (recommended)
  12. The Fat Friend: A Novel by Julie Edelson (not recommended)
  13. Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay (highly recommended)
  14. 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl by Mona Awad (highly not recommended for triggering, degrading content)
  15. The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen (recommended, though the focus is less on fat and more on restrictive/secretive eating and eating happily)
  16. Belly Songs: In Celebration of Fat Women by Susan Stinson (highly recommended)
  17. Everything Beautiful by Simmone Howell (recommended)
  18. Outside the Bones by Lyn Di Iorio (not recommended)
  19. Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy
  20. Skinny by Diana Spechler
  21. Martha Moody by Susan Stinson
  22. Fat Girl: A True Story by Judith Moore
  23. Good in Bed by Jennifer Weiner
  24. Certain Girls (squeal) by Jennifer Weiner
  25. Fat Girls and Fairy Cakes by Sue Watson
  26. Hot & Heavy: Fierce Fat Girls on Life, Love & Fashion by Virgie Tovar
  27. Losing It by Lindsay Faith Rech
  28. Giving Up the Ghost by Hilary Mantel
  29. If the Dress Fits by Carla de Guzman
  30. Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean
  31. Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie
  32. This is Just My Face: Try Not to Stare by Gabby Sidibe
  33. Push by Sapphire
  34. Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls: A Handbook for Unapologetic Living by Jes Baker
  35. The Corset Diaries by Katie MacAlister
  36. Venus of Chalk by Susan Stinson
  37. A Reason to Stay by June Stevens Westerfield
  38. Larger Than Death by Lynn Murray
  39. Fat Assassins by Marita Fowler
  40. Fat Bodyguards by Marita Fowler
  41. Morning Song by Susan Simone
  42. Circle of Friends by Maeve Binchy
  43. Invisible by Jeanne Bannon
  44. Fat Shame: Stigma and the Fat Body in American Culture by Amy Erdman Farrell
  45. Moose: A Memoir of Fat Camp by Stephanie Klein
  46. The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli
  47. The King of Bourbon Street by Thea de Salle
  48. Fat! So?: Because You Don’t Have to Apologize for Your Size by Marilyn Wann
  49. Guardian of the Dead by Karen Healey
  50. Vintage Veronica by Erica S. Perl
  51. Knit One, Girl Two by Shira Glassman
  52. Piecing Me Together by Renee Watson
  53. Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli