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The Not So Subtle Art of Being a Fat Girl: Loving the Skin You're In

3.50  ·  Rating details ·  603 ratings  ·  108 reviews
Plus-size supermodel Tess Holliday’s passionate plea for modern women, whoever and wherever they are, to be comfortable in their own skin. In her first book, she shares her powerful personal story and offers inspiration and tips to women everywhere that will help them not merely survive, but thrive and chart their own course to acceptance, power, and true beauty.

Mom.
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Hardcover, 304 pages
Published September 26th 2017 by Bonnier Publishing USA (first published August 2017)
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Average rating 3.50  · 
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Tad Hoven
Sep 27, 2017 rated it did not like it
FROM THE BROTHER OF THE AUTHOR:
I am all for people finding happiness and peace in their life. There is too much hate and selfish behavior in the world around us; we shouldn't add to it. Peace, love and forgiveness should be much more prevalent in our civilization. I don't deny that, nor am I ignorant to that the world around us is hateful. With that being said: almost nothing in this book is true. The events that did happen either happened to someone else, or didn't happen the way that she said
...more
Kerri Valencia
Oct 16, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I would describe it concisely as amateur and choppy.

I am no literary expert, but even so, I found little to enjoy in The Subtle Art. It is quite clear that for either the author or ghost writer this book was an amateur work. The overall format of the book is very choppy because she switches between biography and self-help and throws in cliché tips (of which some are terrible advice and should not be followed by anyone – stay in school please, and also, do not eat your feelings. If you’re able,
...more
Danni
Oct 22, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction, memoir, 2017
I've been following Tess Holliday on Instagram ever since January 2015, when she was announced as the first plus-size model to be signed to a major modeling agency. And I'm into her aesthetic, I have severe hair envy (her hair is SO gorgeous), and I am pro #bodypositivity.

Yet, her memoir was pretty terrible. The writing was uninspired. Her life is interesting, but it's interspersed with "Tess Holliday's Advice for Life" trite little sayings that generally don't add anything.

Some examples:
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Rania T
Sep 30, 2017 rated it it was ok
TRIGGER WARNINGS: Rape, STD's, Mental Illness, Domestic Violence,Suicide spoken about in an off hand manner,Bigotry (Australians=Drunkards, Some stupid Australian etc).

Greetings,

This could have been a much better book, if it had been a coffee table book with some text, and pictures of Tess Holliday, rather than a weird spiel about life in Mississippi, Seattle and LA. There are too many other things going on, that are not so pretty. The book started off okay, but warning bells started going off
...more
Tad Hoven
Sep 27, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
FROM THE BROTHER OF THE AUTHOR:
I am all for people finding happiness and peace in their life. There is too much hate and selfish behavior in the world around us; we shouldn't add to it. Peace, love and forgiveness should be much more prevalent in our civilization. I don't deny that, nor am I ignorant to that the world around us is hateful. With that being said: almost nothing in this book is true. The events that did happen either happened to someone else, or didn't happen the way that she said
...more
Kerri Valencia
Oct 16, 2017 rated it did not like it
I would describe it concisely as amateur and choppy.

I am no literary expert, but even so, I found little to enjoy in The Subtle Art. It is quite clear that for either the author or ghost writer this book was an amateur work. The overall format of the book is very choppy because she switches between biography and self-help and throws in cliché tips (of which some are terrible advice and should not be followed by anyone – stay in school please, and also, do not eat your feelings. If you’re able,
...more
Tad Hoven
Sep 27, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
FROM THE BROTHER OF THE AUTHOR:
I am all for people finding happiness and peace in their life. There is too much hate and selfish behavior in the world around us; we shouldn't add to it. Peace, love and forgiveness should be much more prevalent in our civilization. I don't deny that, nor am I ignorant to that the world around us is hateful. With that being said: almost nothing in this book is true. The events that did happen either happened to someone else, or didn't happen the way that she said
...more
Brittney
Dec 06, 2017 rated it it was ok
While I admire Tess Holliday for the work she’s done in her industry as a fat model, I just can’t get behind how poorly written this book is.

Starting at the top, the title lends itself to being a sort of self-help/inspirational book on how to “love the skin you’re in.” That point is only sort of reached at the very end of the book. The majority is a personal account of the events in her life and the people in it. While the caricatures she provides of those close to her are sometimes slightly
...more
M.M. Strawberry Library & Reviews
Oh boy. What a mess.

For all her hullaballoo about 'eff your beauty standards', Ryann/Tess doesn't. She does everything she can to be pretty - makeup, hair, 'cute' clothing, nails, all the various techniques women have used through the ages to make themselves pretty. Heck, her pictures are even Photoshopped.

So much for loving her own body, eh? Actually, if she really loved her body, she wouldn't be a size 30+. Her repeated claims of being a size 22 are a LIE as she shot past that size a LONG time
...more
Jen
Jan 25, 2018 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this book, though the writing is far from perfect and some of it is weirdly abrupt, but I saw a review written by Tess’s brother Tad here on Goodreads, and it kind of soured the second half for me (claims that some of the stories weren’t true, or happened to someone else).

But what I realized by the end is that it doesn’t change that Tess’s visibility helped me overcome the worst of my own insecurities, and her #effyourbeautystandards movement literally transformed my life.

Several of “
...more
Cody Sexton
Feb 04, 2020 rated it it was ok
There are just too many rules for the body. Rules which are often unspoken and ever shifting. Making so much of having a body, simply about wanting someone else’s. And so in this way Holliday’s experiences serve to implicitly confront us with four central questions: (1) What does it mean to have a body? (2) What does it mean to have a body that exists in a social space? (3) What does it mean to have a body that is considered unacceptable? And (4) a question which pertains to the female body ...more
Alice
Nov 16, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: feminist, memoir
Like many people, I have a lot of mixed feelings whenever I see Tess or hear her message. I tracked down her book in the hope of getting a little clarity, and expected a good pro-body positivity pep talk in the process, but somehow I just didn't get all the good feels I was hoping for.

Firstly, I would describe the writing style as 'basic'. Tess' life is actually fairly interesting, but she describes it in such an uncaptivating way, approaching her life story as a list of challenges that she
...more
Laura
Sep 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: four-star
This part memoir part uplifting life guide is exactly the kind of thing I wish I could have read when I was fifteen. I admire Tess Holliday and how she has introduced her campaign #EffYourBeautyStandards into the notoriously strict fashion world, so it was interesting to read about her humble beginnings in the Deep South to the supermodel she is today.

Ironically, this book is exactly what it says on the cover - loud, a little brash but hey, it was never intended to be a work of great literature
...more
Elizabeth
To be honest, this was not a very empowering read.

This was about a girl who hates herself because she's fat, was bullied as a teen, and has daddy issues so in order to feel loved she sleeps around and the end result is STDs and an accidental pregnancy. Holliday does offer words of advice and some things can be relatable but for the most part for 3/4 of the book she talks about the guys she's been with and how much she hates her dad.

Being a girl in today's society especially with how men view
...more
Lauren
Sep 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
5+ stars. I loved this book and devoured it in less than 24 hours. I bought this book as it's so different to what you would usually find out there. After reading it I can tell you it made me feel positive and good about myself. I previously was a size 24 and hitting the scales at over 20 stone and not only was I unhealthy I was unhappy. Over the past 3 yrs I have lost over 7 stone and now fit in a size 12-14 but I still have my down days and feel fat. I wish I had of had the confidence and fuck ...more
Kate
Sep 27, 2017 rated it it was ok
I really wanted to like this book, but there were two aspects I could not get over and have caused the 2-star rating:

1. One of the pieces of "advice" says that it's ok to drop out of high school, because school isn't for everyone.

2. The South is portrayed in a terrible light. Despite what this book may depict, there is more to the region than tobacco-spitting prison-tattooed rednecks and Bible thumpers.

However, she is refreshingly candid about being bullied, sexually assaulted, and abused. Her
...more
Katie Tastad
May 08, 2018 rated it liked it
It takes a strong person to open up knowing there is a segment of the population who loves to hate fat people.

The reason I'm not giving the book 5 stars is the writing style rather than the content. About halfway through the book I started skipping the tips/advice - these often seemed out of place and detracted from the flow of the book. I can't think of any tips that were any more meaningful or thoughtful than the paragraphs leading up to it. There were also a few obligatory fat jokes that
...more
Elle Davis
Oct 19, 2017 rated it did not like it
Pure fictitious garbage. If someone truly loved themselves and was in a position to offer self-help advice they wouldn't photoshop their pictures to hell and back and drunkenly be texting men behind their husbands' back. Sorry "Tess" (Ryann), but trashy is as trashy does.
Samantha
May 16, 2018 rated it it was ok
It wasn’t the most inspiring read, but not everybody’s life story is. I’m mostly annoyed that I constantly found mistakes throughout. How does a book get published with so many errors?!?
Miche
Dec 23, 2017 rated it did not like it
A good autobiography has to be compelling and well written. This one is neither.
Larissa
May 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Such a good book!!!!! It was so well written and engaging. It definitely helped me in my body positivity journey and gave me more things to process/think about. Highly recommend it!
Joanna Danna
Apr 04, 2018 rated it did not like it
I was expecting this to be a more self-help guru type of book about how to love yourself and it is not that in any way, shape or form. The title is misleading. It's a semi boring shortened life story that rambles in and out of coherence and does not really reveal anything of value. Her life experiences although varied and at times heartbreaking, aren't things that I would consider to be an "ART". There is nothing that this book teaches you per se.

She talks about things in a very matter of fact
...more
Kelly Smith
Jul 13, 2018 rated it did not like it
I quit halfway through and I will admit that I was influenced more heavily to give up after reading the review by the author’s brother, who states most of this book is a lie. His words just reinforced my own feelings.

I unfollowed Tess on social media, because I couldn’t stand how she always seemed to be talking out both sides of her mouth, so I’m not a hundred percent sure why I thought this book would be any better or different. For a person that claims to love their body so much, she is so
...more
Randi
Oct 02, 2017 rated it it was ok
I have followed Tess Holliday since her days as "Tess Munster" on Insta before she was famous. Her career has not been without its hiccups, but overall I like how she challenges society's notion of what is healthy. A perfect example of this would be how everyone seems to have jumped on the bandwagon of shaming Tess for being overweight, yet nobody seems to give a damn that both Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss have done copious amounts of blow for most of their modeling careers. Tess has always ...more
Brittany
There were both things I liked and didn't like about The Not so Subtle Art of Being a Fat Girl. I feel I can't give this book a fourth star because there are quite a few books relating to body positivity that I have read that surpass this one. I didn't find it choppy like other reviewers have stated (and I've wondered if some of those reviewers actually read the book or just read her brothers review?) but some things did annoy me. Her "Tess Holliday's Advice for life #_" seemed to be numbered ...more
Magie
Jan 20, 2018 rated it it was ok
I'm on a kick of reading body positive books by plus-sized women and I knew that despite my so-so feelings on Tess I wanted to read her book. She is an important figure in the community and her story is unique and interesting. I was a little underwhelmed by some of it, I can't explain it properly but it felt like a diary of sorts. Which I know it is a memoir but I guess I'm used to ones that aren't so intensely chronological and each chapter feels like an essay on a story or moment in the ...more
Cristine Mermaid
Mar 16, 2019 rated it it was ok
I really wanted to like this book. I am a fan of the body positivity movement and find it liberating when women are able to not feel like crap because our society tells them they should if they don't meet very specific unrealistic (for most) body ideals.

However, I couldn't. First off

**** STAY IN SCHOOL*****

Her advice about school not being for everyone so it's ok to drop out. That is bullshit . At the minimum, a high school education is necessary and that's the minimum. What horrible advice.

...more
Caravaughn
Apr 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I must say that this book hit me square in the gut from the opening sentence. "Tess Holliday" is a beautiful, inspiring woman of strength and candor, truth and wisdom. Her story is much like mine, and this is what I hope to garner from her: how to stay strong and pure to yourself. She is a plus-size model and frank about her issues with body image and self-love, something I believe we all (women and man) can relate to. As the tallest, palest girl all my life, I know the awkwardness of being ...more
Lexi
Sep 14, 2018 rated it liked it
Hmm. I love her message and am both a huge feminist and “eff your beauty standards” supporter, yet found this book to be just ok. A quick interesting read, it left a lot to be desired. Her personality also comes off a bit different than her online persona.. could be just me being snarky, but at times it made it hard to keep reading.
Jo
Dec 28, 2018 rated it did not like it
I never knew she was a super model. Her sad upbringing and messed up parents most likely caused her to overeat and become morbidly obese. The writing was sub par. And her stories were not interesting. I hope her children turn out alright. She seems so full of herself. Not worth reading. She needs to lose weight.
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