Not Recommended

The books on this list are not recommended by me. I choose not to recommend a book when the character focuses on dieting as a redeemable quality without learning otherwise, only finds self-acceptance through love or dating, contains fat-shaming that is not discussed or goes unpunished, or promotes surgery as a means of “correcting” the “unruly” fat body. I also don’t recommend poorly written books with fat people. Fat readers deserve good editing, realistic characters, and books with focus, too.

I ask that you read these books yourself to make your own determination. I will never suggest that my recommendations are a reason for readers to avoid certain books, as in the United States we promote The Freedom to Read. I do not ban books nor shame anyone for reading a book or author I don’t like. If you have more questions about the books on this list, please ask!

  • What Are You Looking At? The First Fat Fiction Anthology co-edited by Donna Jarrell
    • Reasoning: the collection looks at fat people from all perspectives, including some stories in which a fat person is shamed, belittled, or even changed as a result of thin or straight-sized characters.
  • Scoot Over, Skinny: The Fat Nonfiction Anthology co-edited by Donna Jarrell
    • Reasoning: same as her fiction anthology above.
  • Misadventures of Fatwoman by Elizabeth Julie Powell
    • Reasoning: Powell’s main character hates her fat body, assumes her husband is going to leave her because she’s fat, and only feels validated when her husband says her body is fine and he loves her.
  • The Fat Friend: A Novel by Julie Edelson
    • Reasoning: While one character is fat, she starts losing weight and restricting her eating. The ending confused my thoughts on why the character lost weight — we get one reason by were led to think another.
  • 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl by Mona Awad
    • Reasoning: I don’t care what Awad says in all of her interviews, she implies her character must be friendless, depressed, and slutty because she is fat. The character gets thin through excessive exercising.
  • Outside the Bones by Lyn Di Iorio
    • Reasoning: The main character fat shames herself.
  • Fat Girls and Fairy Cakes by Sue Watson
    • Reasoning: Loads of diet talk and food shaming.
  • Losing It by Lindsay Faith Rech
    • Reasoning: Diet talk, losing weight and being “better,” validated through dating a man who raped her when she was younger (he didn’t really “mean it.”)
  • Soft on Soft by Em Ali
    • Reasoning: just that it’s a poorly written book, so I could even finish it. Fat readers deserve better.
  • I Do It With the Lights On by Whitney Way Thore
    • Reasoning: As much as I’m rooting for her, the author subjects herself to restricted eating and a trainer who shames her.
  • Fat Girls and Lawn Chairs by Cheryl Peck
    • Reasoning: a poorly written book with little focus; fat readers deserve better.
  • This is Just My Face: Try Not to Stare by Gabby Sidibe
    • Reasoning: a whole section on gastric surgery without discussion of the horrible consequences (such as death or zero health improvements), making this surgery seem like an easy option fat people should take to better fit into society.
  • Fat Girl by Jessie Carty
    • Reasoning: the speaker of the poem often resorts to body shaming.
  • Soft in the Middle by Shelby Eileen
    • Reasoning: a poorly written collection of poems that sound like something a teen would write. Fat readers deserve better.
  • Vintage Veronica by Erica S. Perl
    • Reasoning: The fat main character is bully who shames others for their nationality, disabilities, and language. Perhaps this is realistic — fat people can be mean — there are so few books with positive representations of fat people that this felt like a waste.
  • Pigs Don’t Fly by Mary Brown
    • Reasoning: the main character is told by one of the novel’s heroes that her mother purposely overfed her because only a pervert would love a fat woman. She had been a strong, capable, fat woman.
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