Good Luck With That: Chapter 2

[Good Luck With That Content Note: Fat Stigma, Eating Disorders. Please take this content note seriously.]

Good Luck With That: I picked up an advance review copy of this book after some twitter hubbub about the cover copy being fatphobic. This is a record of my live-read on Twitter. I do not recommend reading any of this if you are fat or have lived with disordered eating.

Good Luck With That, Chapter 2

(Tweet Link) Okay, I'm going to do chapter 2 of this book, which is where the last owner of this ARC had to bail. We may have to review this book in pieces, like scribes copying out Cthulhic texts to preserve their minds. Go into your settings and mute to avoid seeing this.

Chapter 2 is set in the present day from the perspective of Marley (the Athletic One). (I forgot to mention that the girls are color-coded as blond, brown, and black hair.) She's at Emerson's deathbed, having driven across 4 states to get there.

I'd started [the day] by thinking about what I'd make for breakfast, then lunch, then dinner. I'm a chef, and a fat girl. Food is everything.

So we're still continuing with this fat = food. Would it astonish thin people to know that many (most?) fat people don't think about food more than they do? I sure don't. My main thoughts about food are "ugh, I have to make dinner and I've made every dinner on earth twice and surely there is something new that can be done with chicken."

Emerson is in a hospital bed while nurses bustle and scurry (lol no) and we get some vitals which seems like an ~interesting~ choice in a book which said it wouldn't give weight.

HR 133, O2 87%, BP 183/99

Emerson is wheezing. Apparently Emerson is literally dying of Being Fat. Being Fat is not fatal, so that's one problem there. A friend pointed out to me that this premise would make much more sense if Emerson had, say, cancer but the doctors missed it because fat people are routinely dismissed. But no, apparently she is just shutting down from fatness.

Extra trigger warnings.

I wasn't even sure it was Emerson. That was her face--sort of. Hard to recognize admit the tubes and wires and the second chin so big it rested on her chest...and God, the mountains, the ACRES of flesh. had she become so huge? Why hadn't we known Emerson was this far gone? Why hadn't I reached out more?

Being fat is now a terrible condition at which one can be 'far gone'. I just.

Emerson appeared to be sleeping, her eyes closed. Apparently, she was exhausted from greeting us, and from...existing.

This fucking book is so hateful. That is not how any of this works.

The blanket and sheet had pulled to the side, as if there [sic?] weren't big enough to cover her, revealing her knee, the elephantine thigh, the hugely muscled calf--muscled from carrying her body.

*beats own head repeatedly into my desk* no.

Her skin was red and stretched so tight it look [sic?!] like it might burst with the slightest touch, like an overfilled balloon.

Lotta errors in this ARC. WHAT is she dying from? Being Fat doesn't make you a water balloon!

My heart twisted. Every time we'd seen each other--every single time since we met--the three of us had talked about how this was a new chance to do what we'd all sworn we'd do before.

Lose weight.

NO. This is not how fat friends do!

Because all three of us had been fat/heavy/overweight/metabolically challenged/curvy/big all our lives.

And here we were. Still not skinny. But my God, the stakes were life and death now.


I was fat--let's just call it what it is--forever relegated to Lane Bryant and the plus-sized corners of department stores.

Okay, at least we have SOME sense of Marley's weight now, though that isn't VERY helpful since LB carries inbetweenie sizes. (And I just. Georgia is a LAWYER, Marley is a PROFESSIONAL CHEF, but when they get together they ONLY talk about their weight? Not about their jobs, their love affairs? FAT PEOPLE HAVE LOVE AFFAIRS, BY THE WAY.)

Georgia, while currently on the smaller side of things, had yo-yoed [...]

But Georgia and I had never been like THIS.

Ah, I see we're doing fat-shaming of the death fatz fatties. Fuck you too, Marley.

Marley flashes back to fat camp (I'm thinking the prologue was a later addition to this novel) and how she "only got to go...after begging, whining, and guilt-tripping my parents." The romanticization of torture camps continues, just... great. Stellar.

I still don't know anything about Emerson, the dying girl. Did she have a job? A cat? A dog? I don't know. I don't even know what she's dying from except "Chronic Fat".

From the hallway, we could hear someone giving a tour. "This is one of our bariatric rooms, specially designed to fit the super-morbidly-obese patient. Our walls are reinforced with steel plates to support the grab bars for patients up to a thousand pounds"

Marley has to echo that for emphasis to the reader.

"for patients up to a thousand pounds--" a THOUSAND pounds --"and our toilets allow extra room for aides to assist patients. The doorway is bigger, as you can see, and--"

A reminder that you are allowed to NOT read this thread, please don't hurt yourself. Go into Settings and mute the phrase "#ANAGLWT". Right now I'm kinda continuing just to show the thin people on the feed what we're subjected to in books in the year of our lord 2018.

Georgia tells off the tour guide.

"Thank you," whispered Emerson, her eyes still closed.

My mouth started to quiver. She didn't sound so good. Not at all. That squeak in her lungs, her labored breathing...

Just then, the door burst open again. "Bath time!" announced a nurse, one who was carrying a good sixty-five extra pounds herself. (Estimating weight is one of the superpowers of the fat.)

NO IT IS NOT, WHAT IS THIS BULLSHIT. I don't know someone's weight when I look at them! I don't know what their "ideal" weight is such that they're a number over that! Who thinks we can do this? Who? I will fight them!

She gave Emerson the once-over and sighed. "Why do they expect me to do this alone?" She stuck her head out in the hall. "I'm gonna need an assist out here!"

I really do think this book is trying to scare us into being thin? Like, This Will Happen To You. Okay, a doctor grabs them in the hall to tell them Emerson's condition, because she said she could, which hahahahahahaha lol no.

"She's had a blood clot travel from her legs to her lung, which is why she's having trouble breathing. She's hypertensive, has fluid around her heart, lymphedema....that's what causes the swelling. Her organs are shutting down."

From fat, apparently. He says Emerson is dying and there's nothing he can do because she's been fat for too long. ("overweight this long")

Wow, how would you like to HATE the protagonist of this book? That's always a good choice, right? Well, here we go, Marley thinks:

We've all seen the shows--thank you, TLC--and let's be honest. We watch them to make ourselves feel better. Sure, I was fat, but not 600-pounds fat! I wasn't having KFC fed to me through my bedroom window, was I? I didn't need the firefighters to chainsaw around the front door so I could fit through, didn't need a team of eight to drag me out of the house on a sheet. And I ALWAYS ate healthy food while watching that show. No ice cream during that one, no sir. Ice cream was for The Walking Dead (another show that made me feel good about my appearance).

But seeing it--seeing EMERSON--in person was different. There was no feeling good now.

So Marley ENJOYS seeing fat people in pain, because she's thinner than they. Brave choice to make your protagonist the most unlikeable asshole in the room.

I wondered how Emerson had managed to get her food. From someone like me? [Marley is a personal chef.] God! The image of her mountainous body...I couldn't get it out of my head.

Does... does all this read weirdly fetishitic to anyone else? Several of you have pointed out that the really bad fetishy eroticas read like this. It's weird. I would never think to write about a fat person this way. It's not just that it's stigmatizing (it is!), but it's stigmatizing in a very specific way that is difficult for me to describe.

Georgia googles the medical stuff and...

"Listen to this. The cardiovascular and pulmonary systems aren't equipped to support all that weight. Edema...that's swelling, no wonder her skin is so tight. Her skin is literally an open wound, leaking [...] fluid. that's it then. The #GoodLuckWithThat book IS saying that Emerson dies of Being Fat. And all that backpedaling of "oh no, the cover copy wasn't correct" was..........lies? If I was the cover copy person, man, I would be fucking pissed. I'll bet they've been stomping around their apartment since that happened.

"Acute shortness of breath...yep, she's got that. Diabetes. Kidney failure. Cardiopulmonary failure." She shoved her phone back into her bag [...]. "We need to lose weight."

Marley says that Georgia doesn't need to lose weight because she looks "almost thin".

[Georgia] "I think I might have an ulcer."

[Marley] Lucky, I almost said before the words really sank in.

[Georgia] "I've never wanted chocolate cake more in my entire life."

[They laugh.] It was our story, after all, the story of all fat people. Eat those emotions.




FUCK. Fuck this book.

[Marley] "We'll be there for [Emerson]. [...] We know what she's going through.

[Georgia] "No, we don't, Marley. We're just....normal fat."

They argue about who can shop at what stores, then Emerson dies. Georgia and Marley are left with an envelope (contents unknown) and a vague deathbed promise they made (details unknown).

@CZEdwards: Which hair color is Marley? Because I need to make a pincushion anyway, so I’m gonna make a Marley one so I can get stabbity.

That's the funny thing: I have no idea. We got hair colors in the prologue but no names to match them to. I know NOTHING about these women except that they're fat fat fat tiddly fat fat fat.

Again, SERIOUSLY, please do NOT feel bad about muting this hashtag. PLEASE. This is pure hate, you do not need to read it. Go do something better with your life. I'm doing this because I'm masochistically hoping the publishing industry will never do this AGAIN if I meticulously document how harmful this is. (What's more likely is I'll probably get blacklisted by agents and pubs, but I gotta try.)

I'm going to lay down a prediction for this book: Marley and Georgia will learn to enjoy life despite being fat (good!) and enjoying life will make them stop obsessing over food and they'll lose weight (no fuck you).

I enjoy life. I don't obsess over food. I exercise when I want, I eat when I'm hungry, and I am a happy wee clam. I'm still fat. I will *always* be fat. Weight loss isn't the reward we get when we reach inner peace.

Something has been nagging and me and I'm becoming angry. Marley watches shows of GROSS FAT people so she can feel better about not being them--then says it's awful to see it happen with her friend. But that.... is what this book is? Thin(ner) people will read about the GROSS FAT woman dying and be glad they aren't her.

@FishWithSticks: Was there any part of that book so far when weight wasn’t a part of it? Like a Bechdel test for talking about being fat?

This is a great question because no, there has not been. 11 pages in and EVERYTHING has been about fatness. The characters are ciphers; I know nothing about them except their relative dress sizes. Marley seems to be 22-24 at the most (Lane Bryant isn't great about size availability after that) and Georgia is maybe a 16. I can't tell what dress size Emerson should be because the descriptions are over the top, but she seems to be maybe 600 pounds.


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