The first book in my Sunday Brunch series is Good in Bed, by Jennifer Weiner.
Good in Bed was not the first Jennifer Weiner book that I read. I actually read In Her Shoes first, the one that was later made into a not-bad/not-great movie. (And yes it pretty much pissed me off that they cast skinny little Toni Collette as the "fat" sister - not that I have a problem with Toni Collette herself or that she’s a thin person. But the character was supposed to be FAT. It was central to her character development and Toni is so...not that.)
But I digress! I liked Good in Bed much better than In her Shoes. After these two, though, the author delved ever further into exploring motherhood lit rather than fat chick lit and I wasn't as interested. However, she writes a darn good book, so if you're into the whole having babies thing, the rest of her books are probably perfectly swell.
So, there's chick lit - The Devil Wears Prada, and that sort of thing - but for the rest of us there's fat chick lit, too. Jennifer Weiner is definitely one of the better voices in fat chick lit and I really recommend Good in Bed. It was funny and sad and very touching. JW definitely understands how it feels to be a large woman trying to find acceptance and love. Maybe her heroines are a bit too "Friends" for my tastes, sometimes... in other words, nobody I know really lives that kind of life, and, even if the heroine is a fat chick, she's one that "passes" for attractive.
The first bit that really, really sucked me in was JW's hook (as it should!) which was the heroine, Cannie, reading an article in a magazine that just happened to be written by her ex-boyfriend... about her... about why he loved a fat woman. About why he couldn't be with her any more. This excerpt is from the first chapter, the entirety of which can be found online at JW's website:
Her shoulders were as broad as mine, her hands were almost as big, and from her breasts to her belly, from her hips down the slope of her thighs, she was all sweet curves and warm welcome. Holding her felt like a safe haven. It felt like coming home... But I know that if it were possible — if all the slouching and slumping and shapeless black jumpers — could have erased her from the physical world, she would have gone in an instant. She took no pleasure from the very things I loved, from her size, her amplitude, her luscious, zaftig heft.
As many times as I told her she was beautiful, I know that she never believed me. As many times as I said it didn’t matter, I knew that to her it did, and it always would. I was just one voice, and the world’s voice was louder. I could feel her shame like a palpable thing, walking beside us on the street, crouched down between us in a movie theater, coiled up and waiting for someone to say what to her was the dirtiest word in the world: fat.
And I knew it wasn’t paranoia. You hear, over and over, how fat is the last acceptable prejudice, that fat people are the only safe targets in our politically correct world. Date a queen-sized woman and you’ll find out how true it is. You’ll see the way people look at her, and look at you for being with her. You’ll try to buy her lingerie for Valentine’s Day and realize the sizes stop before she starts. Every time you go out to eat you’ll watch her agonize, weighing what she wants against what she’ll let herself have, what she’ll let herself have against what she’ll be seen eating in public.And what she’ll let herself say...
Loving a larger woman is an act of courage in this world, and maybe it’s even an act of futility. Because, in loving C., I knew I was loving someone who didn’t believe that she herself was worthy of anyone’s love. "
Time for tissue in the fat chick camp...