5 Stars for “Dietland”

“We’re different in a way that everyone can see. We can’t hide it or fake it. We’ll never fit society’s idea for how women should look or behave, but why is that a tragedy? We’re free to live how we want. It’s liberating, if you choose to see it that way.” -Sarai Walker, Dietland

This quote, from the phenomenal book, Dietland, struck a nerve. This is the story of one woman’s journey, a woman who “exceeds” society’s ‘standards’ of size and beauty, as she learns to love herself for who she is, the size she is. That’s not all, though. Sarai Walker’s book also touches upon rape culture, modern-day body image concerns (particularly among young girls), and the immorality and lies lurking behind today’s diet industry.

Yes, some parts were explicit. It was a  well-detailed novel. The truth isn’t always clean and pretty. Still, it made for a terrific read!

This book touched me, and it’s precisely why I believe things need to change. WE can be that change. Women, and people everywhere, should not be made to feel insecure and live in fear. At one point, the main character, Plum, states “I’m every American woman’s worst nightmare. It’s what they spend their lives fighting against, it’s why they diet and exercise and have plastic surgery—because they don’t want to look like me” (Walker).

They don’t want to look like me.” You read that correctly.

Plum Kettle is feared and dejected simply because she’s fat. She’s afraid to go out in public, having convinced herself she should remain hidden, as though it’s her fault. She’s determined gastric bypass surgery will make her happy and finally set her free. It isn’t until a young woman, a stranger on a mission, leads Plum to an underground world of  self-righteousness, harsh truths, and independence. Like I said, the truth isn’t always pretty.

There is much to be learned from Plum’s struggles with weight, image, and acceptance. I’ll leave you with one final (albeit lengthy) quote:

“There was a phantom woman in my mind that I was comparing myself to, and I had to force her from the dressing room. When she was gone, I looked at my body, the body that had kept me alive for nearly thirty years, without any serious health problems, the body that had taken me where I needed to go and protected me. I had never appreciated or loved the body that had done so much for me. I had thought of it as my enemy, as nothing more than a shell that enclosed my real self, but it wasn’t a shell. The body was me. This is your real life. You’re already living it” (Walker)

You read that?This is your real life. You’re already living it.

Sarai Walker’s words hold true for people everywhere. It doesn’t matter what size you wear or what others think. This is your life – it’s not worth living in fear or self-loathing. Take a page from Plum Kettle (literally!) and just be who you are. You life is worth living – not in fear, but in freedom. ♥

*I found this book at my local library. It’s also available here on Amazon and here from Google Books.

**For a great review/synopsis, visit npr.org where author Annalisa Quinn affirms “Fat is not a four-lettered word in ‘Dietland.'”

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