Review: Lessons from the Fat-o-sphere

Lessons from the Fat-o-sphere: Quit Dieting and Declare a Truce with Your BodyLessons from the Fat-o-sphere
by Kate Harding

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Lessons from the Fat-O-Sphere / 0-399-53497-0

A perfect introduction to fat acceptance (FA) in particular and self acceptance in general, this book is a wonderful read for beginners and veterans alike. The writing is witty, direct, and insightful; never do you feel that the authors are being less than honest with you or that they are blowing smoke in your direction. The incisive writing is seasoned with a deep empathy for the reader - Kate Harding and Marianne Kirby speak to the reader like a tough-but-fair friend, able to bring reassurance and understanding without condescension and pity; exhortations and encouragement without being insensitive or cruel.

"Lessons" contains a little bit of everything: useful scientific data that even the veterans of FA may not have memorized (and so easy to whip out in paperback form to show the family!), tender and insightful dating advice, and practical exhortations (and blessings!) to live and enjoy life now, as you are. Excerpts from guest bloggers are included and are always up to the high writing standards of the authors: an African-American blogger gently points out the dangers of assuming that other cultures are more accepting than yours (and especially the downfalls of making those assumptions based on a small sample data of popular music and movies); a Fashionista blogger points out the silent despair behind the "buy clothes you can't wear as motivation" phenomenon; another blogger rips apart the serious and unacceptable dangers of fat-hating within the medical community and what harm and be wrought by doctors who tell patients they have no right to proper health care until they pass an arbitrary weight limit.

More than anything, "Lessons" is worth having, reading, and keeping because of the much-needed and strong feelings of camaraderie and acceptance that it provides. "You are not alone," the book assures readers, "and you are not a morally bad person simply because of your genetic makeup." Embracing fully the purest principles of self-acceptance, the authors never make the mistake of falling into different types of hate - instead they strongly exclaim the importance of gender-acceptance, race-acceptance, body-acceptance, and even fashion-acceptance. You cannot, they insist, truly love yourself if you are constantly judging others based on their hair, clothes, body shape, or anything else, as though those aspects of their physical person yield some kind of insight on their overall worth as a person. And, for that message alone, these "Lessons" are for everyone - no matter how fat or thin the reader may be.

~ Ana Mardoll

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