What I'm Reading: Fatropolis
Tracey Thompson's Fatropolis has come with me on many solo coffee dates and a few trips.
I'll admit something to you: I am not a fiction/fantasy reader. So I always have this period of reluctance right when I think I'm going to start reading a work of fiction. It goes like this:
"Hmmm... well, I could read this or I could read something about the ethnobotanical history of Honduras."
I know, I knooooow. But ethnobotanical thrillers are like my kryptonite, ghurl! I've been a non-fiction reader/writer for a long, long time, but occasionally a book will come along and lure me away from my usual literary fare. Fatropolis was totally that book for me this summer!
The story follows Jenny, a super sized woman who falls through a portal in a dressing room in Manhattan that takes her to an alternate universe where fat is the norm and thin people experience the sort of oppression and aggression that I've known as a fat person my whole life. She meets cute boys and takes lots of baths and has lots of donuts. What's not to lurve?
Yes, I'm hooked on the story, but the book also gets deep and real about fatphobia and self-hatred. There were descriptions of internalized fatphobic/dieting patterns that reminded me how far I've come in my body liberation journey and Thompson's alternate fat universe really highlights how far we have to go in our fight against fat oppression.
I love that Jenny is a super sized character, and Tracey Thompson writes very frankly about the struggles that Jenny faces romantically and professionally, as well as in public spaces like restrooms and movie theatres. There were moments, I admit, that were educational to me as a a mid-sized fat woman (and these moments reminded me I needed to step up!). As Jenny's relationship to her body morphs, Thompson doesn't shy away from showcasing the complexity of the relationship that even fat positive people face with our bodies.
This book is accessible with a compelling plotline. I can't wait to finish it!
You can buy Fatropolis on Amazon & if you want to commit to two amazing fat positive books, pick up a copy of Hot & Heavy while you're at it!
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Virgie Tovar, MA is one of the nation's leading experts and lecturers on fat discrimination and body image. She is the founder of Babecamp (a 4 week online course focused on helping people break up with diet culture) and the editor of Hot & Heavy: Fierce Fat Girls on Life, Love and Fashion (Seal Press, 2012). She writes about the intersections of size, identity, sexuality and politics. See more updates on Facebook.