Caitlin Constantine's Reviews > Hungry: A Young Model's Story of Appetite, Ambition, and the Ultimate Embrace of Curves

Hungry by Crystal Renn
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's review
May 09, 2010

really liked it

Renn wrote this book with one of the former staff writers/editors for Sassy magazine, which right there automatically earned this book three stars. But what pushed it up to four stars is the fact that Renn writes about her life - first as an anorexic teenage model of limited success and later as the most sought-after plus-size model - with such in-your-face fierceness that I couldn't help but love her. Like, in one passage, she addresses people who insist that bias against thin people exists with a very direct "shut up." I read that and I was like, I effing love this woman.

This book makes an extremely strong argument for the idea of Health At Every Size, which I think is about the best weight-related concept to come around in recent times. The idea is that, if you eat well and you get a good amount of exercise, your body will naturally settle at a "set point" of weight, which is the weight it wants to be. She also attacks the way weight and morality are linked in the social imagination, as if people who are not skinny are lazy and people who are skinny have discipline. She criticizes the way anti-obesity campaigns rest on shaming fat people, rather than improving access to and affordability of fresh, organic, locally grown food. And she criticizes the fashion industry for their cowardly refusal to address the ever-shrinking frames of models, who she points out are often young teenagers from economically disadvantaged situations who may very well be their families' sole sources of income.

Renn's writing is smart and serious, which is a a relief for me, particularly as it seems like I have read at least a dozen books in recent months, all of which are written by a particular subset of young, white, creative-class ladies who live in Brooklyn, and have found all of them painfully lacking in substance. It's nice to read something by a young woman and find myself impressed by it, rather than trying to figure out how the hell she got a publishing contract.

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