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Venus of Chalk

3.82  ·  Rating Details  ·  39 Ratings  ·  7 Reviews
Take the trip of a lifetime with Carline, a lesbian home economist and woman-of-size; Tucker, a bus driver; and Mel, a retiree, as they journey from Massachusetts to Texas to unload an old city bus. In the process, these friends also leave behind their preconceived notions about one other, drop their inhibitions, and become fully who they were meant to be.

"I am an enormous
Paperback, 206 pages
Published May 1st 2004 by Firebrand Books (first published 2004)
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Baxter Trautman
Jun 22, 2011 Baxter Trautman rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lesbian
“Venus of Chalk”’s heroine is a lesbian. She is fat. But this isn’t a novel about lesbians or fat girls. It’s a brave paean to how we all feel different.

Carline is fat. She lives in terror of the teenage boys that hang out on the corner and call her names. When she tries to take the garbage out they throw lit cigarettes at her, forcing her to flee to her apartment. Worse, they release Carline’s own demons. To stifle them, Carline lights a match and holds it to her arm, “the physical pain…a focus
Lorri Steinbacher
Aug 01, 2016 Lorri Steinbacher rated it really liked it
Read on the twitter recommendation of Roxane Gay and I am so glad I went out of my way to find the book. This was a road trip novel, but so much more. It delved into themes of human connections, how our our view of bodies can inform the way we move in the world and the way we conduct our relationships in the world even more than we realize. It meant so much to me that the protagonist was fat, because she was a fully realized and sexual woman, whose existence was not defined by losing weight, and ...more
Jan 23, 2011 Max rated it it was amazing
This is really one of my favorite books ever. The language is so gorgeous, every descriptive detail makes you fall in love with the experience. A book I'd like to read again and again.
Nov 22, 2014 Sarah rated it it was ok
The plot moved a bit slow, but there were many unexpected happenings along the way. A plus-sized woman (Carline) with a knack for home economics faces self-image issues, which ultimately leads her to travel across the country to spend time with an aunt who's mourning the death of a friend. Carline's abrupt departure from her family, work, and routine ignites an identity crisis and we see her slowly put the pieces together.
Aug 01, 2013 Amy rated it it was amazing
This book is exquisite and I mean that in the truest sense of the word. It is not about major plot twists and actions. It is about relationships -- with ourselves and others -- in all of their beautiful, interesting, deep and complete complexity. This book is hard, funny, sweet, sad - Susan Stinson pulls you through the full repertoire of human emotions on a literal and figurative journey that doesn't feel forced or manipulative at all. If you've never tried to do that -- it is a phenomenally di ...more
May 09, 2007 cat rated it it was amazing
read this book! period.

i purchased it last year and only allowed myself to read a few pages at a time so that i could prolong the shivery joy and jolts of recognition that i felt at her beautifully crafted words. this book rocked my world, much as her previous book, fat girl dances with rocks, did back when i so desperately needed to hear her words of girl love and body acceptance.

i will give away none of the story, and will tell you only that her main character carline sneaks into my head mon
Abby Brithinee
Jan 30, 2014 Abby Brithinee rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, lgbt
This is the story of an overweight woman who takes a physical journey to find herself and to find comfort in a body scorned by others and sometimes by herself. Susan Stinson's writing definitely made me feel for the character's pain and the injustice of her treatment, but the story was not particularly poignant, important, or striking. I didn't feel as if I had wasted my time by reading it, but I won't be reading it again.
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Susan Stinson's novels are Venus of Chalk (2004), Fat Girl Dances with Rocks(1994) and Martha Moody(1995). Spider In A Tree is her novel in progress. Belly Songs, a collection of poetry and lyric essays, was published in 1993.

Her work -- which has appeared in The Kenyon Review, The Seneca Review, Curve, Lambda Book Report and The Women's Review of Books -- has received the Benjamin Franklin Award
More about Susan Stinson...

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