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Landwhale: On Turning Insults Into Nicknames, Why Body Image Is Hard, and How Diets Can Kiss My Ass

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  1,365 ratings  ·  211 reviews
By the author of Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls and a heroine of the body image movement, an intimate, gutsy memoir about being a fat woman

Jes Baker burst onto the body positivity scene when she created her own ads mocking Abercrombie & Fitch for discriminating against all body types -- a move that landed her on the Today Show and garnered a loyal following for her raw
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Paperback, 272 pages
Published May 8th 2018 by Seal Press
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Chumskin's Diner In my experience, its anyone that needs a little extra push to other side of the bed in order to check my watch in the middle of the night, which does…moreIn my experience, its anyone that needs a little extra push to other side of the bed in order to check my watch in the middle of the night, which doesn't always qualify as whale-sized considering that I don't have nearly enough Fritos and Reese's Cups and red wine for a whale, and if I did, I wouldn't have the whale in my living quarters, but if that were manageable, it wouldn't be something to be ashamed of at all, to the contrary, if that whale were able to walk on land and willing to feign amusement with my jokes about Tony from the post office and that appalling piece he made her wear (no fault of hers) but then--- thats right she wanted ME to be Tony that night, and let me tell ya, any man has his limits, I mean i'll pay the check, take the time, watch the movie, bring the wine, but I don't tell you to wear it and "c'mere just a sec, what's that scent, Jennifer Lopez? Not milk, surely" because i know my limits, if a man isn't the bailiff of his own character for God's sake--- no the landwhale, she is not. Anyone uses a word like that in reference to one of my friends, well they better call ahead of time next Mid-Stakes-Poker-in-the-Presence-of-Gratuitous-Portrait-of-Ladies-with-Fine-Bodies-but-with-Heads-of-Fish-and-Creatures-from-the-Greek-Myths.(less)

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Valerity (Val)
I give this a 3.5 out of 5.0 stars. This is a new book by writer Jes Baker, a brave and honest memoir sharing her weight battle and family issues during her life like many of us have had and can relate to. I know I had weight issues after having my son at 24, and I really struggled until about my mid 40’s. I was finally able to lose about 90 pounds mostly due to severe pain and medication issues, loss of appetite/nausea and being ill for several weeks when new doctors changed all of my medicatio ...more
Kathryn
May 21, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Deep sigh. I love Jes Baker so fucking much, and I adore Things No One Tells Fat Girls, and I will wear my Landwhale enamel pin with great pride, but this book was a letdown :(

Do you know how, when you go to a food blog for a recipe, and all you need is the recipe but you're forced to scroll through a thousand-word story and wait for 95 pictures to load? That's how this book felt to me. I wondered if it might be better as an audiobook? Like, maybe the conversational tone works better in that med
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☆Dani☆ ☆Touch My Spine Book Reviews☆
I thought this was a fantastic memoir! As a big girl myself, I admire the author for her honesty, guts and the message she was getting across. It was an awesome book that I would definitely recommend!
Ginny Beck
I wasn't sure whether to give this a 2 or a 3, so I decided to round up, because ultimately I'm glad it exists for the people who are getting a lot out of it, but I'm not one of them. (to be clear: I think Jes Baker is rad and her work in general is fantastic + important, but I don't think this book was the greatest.)
Sleepless Dreamer
Mar 16, 2020 rated it liked it
I am an awkward person. I generally think anyone who's been around me for more than like 3 minutes can tell this is true. For a really long time, this was something I disliked about myself and well, as you can imagine, the more time you spend obsessing over a quality of yours, the more prominent it becomes.

I was talking about this with my best friend a few days ago and his immediate comment was, "what?? I love your awkwardness! It's so you!!". I found myself thinking that that's really what gro
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Elena
Jun 11, 2018 rated it did not like it
Landwhale was a big disappointment. I kind of enjoyed Jes Bakers first book, but this one is one big frustration. I can explain all the positive reviews only with hardcore fandom, ideology and confirmation bias. Sorry folks. This book lacks structure, massively. It feels like an arbitrary collection of diary entries. In large parts its simply boring. And overall its not original at all. Its kind of a confused version of 'things no one will tell fat girls' and that really means something (since J ...more
Michelle Raasch
May 28, 2019 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tara
May 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
This is a great follow up to "Things No One Tells Fat Girls" which I recommend reading before this one. Landwhale is a collection of essays where she gets much more personal- as it's a memoir rather than a "handbook" like her previous book. She talks about some really painful experiences in her life and about navigating in a fatphobic world. I appreciate her bravery in being so open, honest, and vulnerable, she will definitely push you to really examine your own biases about others and yourself. ...more
M.M. Strawberry Library & Reviews
Good fucking god.

I know that women try to re-claim the word 'bitch' and 'cunt', among other sexist slurs, to empower themselves and so on. And while the background and use is not exactly the same, I see some black people do the same to the word 'nigger', or gays with the word 'faggot' (or fag)

So apparently Jes thinks she's being so empowering by trying to do the same with the word 'landwhale'. Which is ironic because do you know what actual whales were hunted for? Blubber. A-yup.

In her previous
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Kelly
What I loved most about this were the sincere moments of vulnerability and authenticity. Jes is someone I could listen to -- and she narrates the audio, which is fantastic -- because she doesn't have all the answers. She's making mistakes and messing up and is herself messy. But that's who she is and she embraces it.

I was especially moved by the PCOS chapter, and I really am onboard with her beliefs about body liberation vs. body love. As someone who has always been fat but who has also lost a
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McKenna
May 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arcs, memoirs, nonfiction
Landwhale is many things: it is a delightful read, a harrowing read, an emotionally-charged read, and one that invokes laughter at times, as well as pangs of sympathy and empathy for chapters covering topics we need to continue discussing openly. Topics we may be ashamed to talk about such as controversial opinions on body image, eating disorders, the connection of religion and morality to food and body size, being an imperfect body liberation advocate, the importance of the body acceptance/libe ...more
Beth
I loved Jes Baker's book Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls, and was excited to read this memoir. Her willingness to be unflinchingly and yet compassionately honest about the really hard things in life is SUCH a breath of fresh air in our culture, and Landwhale is no exception. There were times it was hard to breathe while reading about the things Jes has gone through - that unfortunately many people have gone through and/or can relate to.

My one criticism is that the book was a bit all over the
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Paula
May 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Was so glad I got to attend the book launch in Tucson and absolutely loved this book front to back! Landwhale is such a raw and intimate look into body image and the conversations that so many others are afraid to have about what we feel as plus women in the world.

Jes Baker takes vulnerability to a whole new level- covering everything from fat sex (and the internal conversations that happen around it) to online harassment and even a painful look at family and how their worldviews shape our own.
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Magie
May 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What an incredible and humanizing read. I've followed Jes for a few years now and her first book was light a gift sent from above for me as I began to navigate the wold of body positivity. This follow up is just as amazing and even more heartwarming in how vulnerable and trusting Jes is in the pages. She opens up and allows her readers an inside glance at all that comes with her life. She never comes off as asking for pitty or a pat on the back for what she has experience, but rather as a senior ...more
AprylJennifer
Jun 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I don't normally write reviews, but I had to. Jes is an amazing human being, and I'll be forever grateful she thrust her heart, soul and humor into the universe. Because I listened to the audio book, I found myself crying at work during a particularly relatable chapter. The tears were probably long overdue, but consider yourself warned just the same. ;)

Aside from some much needed emotional catharsis, most of the book is very uplifting and inspiring. She says that sharing herself and her story h
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Angela
May 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: health
I really dislike people who have weight stigma.It's like people who are healthy say just eat right and work out.It's not that easy ,and if it was then everyone would be fine.People don't know the back story on everyone.Take me I have a father who is in his 70's.A mother who has mental illness.My husband had cancer. It's just not helpful when people say you will be fine ,and it will be okay. I might not have kids.I might never get under a size 12.I do know that with love everything is better! I l ...more
Jennifer Cook Nafziger
Jun 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
When I read Jes’ writing, I feel like she is speaking right to me. Her book, Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls, absolutely changed my life and my way of thinking. I felt like I was having a true conversation with a friend. Landwhale definitely did not disappoint! Once again, her wisdom has a way of putting so many of my own thoughts and feelings onto paper. I found myself scribbling many of these thoughts in my journal to digest and read again later. For every fat girl who has struggled with her ...more
Summer Lander
Jun 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amazing Read

I somehow found Jes Baker on tumblr around the same time I was failing out of Weight Watchers and I am only the more better for reading all she has to offer.

There were parts of this book I could relate to deeply, such as the story about having to try the fat seat before riding the Harry Potter ride. Reading about her childhood and relationships hit home. But what I most love about Jes Baker and this book is her ability to call out what is hard about fat acceptance and to challenge my
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Leigh Bolin
May 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018-popsugar
This book is fabulous. So fabulous that when I read the last page I wished there was more. Jes is an inspirational leader in the body positivity movement and this book is vulnerable and inspiring. I recommend everyone read this. Thank you, Jes. Read as part of the 2018 PopSugar reading challenge as a book with an animal in the title.
Kelly Buchholz
Jun 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fat-positive
One of the best and kindest books about bodies and acceptance that I have read.
Diana
Oct 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Despite having a little trouble getting into it, this is an absolute must read. So much of what Jes says resonates with me, and it was perfect timing to be reading the words of such an unapologetically strong, loud woman. I took notes that I’ll be referring back to at times when it all feels too hard and like too much. Jes takes up space and I take up space and I appreciated being reminded why that is so important. I also must give her kudos for acknowledging the privilege we both share in being ...more
Sofia The Great
Aug 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: bios, audio, 2018
I need Jes Baker as my life coach.

Is she available?

...

I guess I'll settle for this audio book on repeat. Truly enjoyed it and I'm looking forward to reading more from Mrs. Baker
Carianne Carleo-Evangelist
I walked away from this book very conflicted, and I don't mean that as a knock on the author - she gets people thinking. I'd actually come very close to calling this a must-read.

Although this is a somewhat random hybrid of memoir, self help and fat-acceptance essays, I think the combination works. She lives all of that in her daily life so it makes sense that they'd be intertwined in pseudo memoirs. I don't read her blog and wasn't familiar with her name, so her writing was all new to me and I
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KWinks
Aug 01, 2018 rated it liked it
Oh, I'm struggling to review this book. First, the positives: I knew NOTHING about the body positive movement before picking up this book. I've since learned some stuffs; and Jes Baker has a fun voice that's fun to read. I think that is why I continued to read and not put it down.
Here's the thing, I'm a big proponent of people writing memoirs AFTER they have lived through or done a thing. Baker writes she's been at this for "half a dozen years". Hmm, hmm. I'd be more interested in hearing about
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Amy
Mar 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Thank you to NetGalley and Perseus Books for providing this ARC to me in exchange for an honest review.

While I have never been subject to public name-calling or harassment, or anything like that (unless it was done behind my back, which hey, entirely possible), I could totally relate to Jes Baker's life. SO many things here are so me, that it's really too personal for me to put out there. Size issues, dad issues, memories of being the fat kid when I wasn't even fat as a kid (I just always heard
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Megan Elizabeth
Jes Baker does it again. She wrote this incredible book in such a way that her vulnerability connects you to her and makes you feel so much less alone. Her realness on not wanting to be a "super hero", and her fears and failures are incredibly relatable. I will forever be thankful for her exposing that she too sometimes wishes that she was thinner, because it would be easier. That thought makes all of us who are fighting for body equality and fat positive spaces feel so guilty, but it's a real t ...more
Vnunez-Ms_luv2read
Jul 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
This book started as funny and light-hearted, but the it took a serious turn. What a read. You know a book is good when 1) you read slow to not get to the end and 2) when you get to the end you wish there was more. The author was open, honest and she showed her vulnerabilities. This author gives one something to think about if one allows themselves to. Thanks to NetGalley, the author and the publisher for the ARC of this book in return for my honest review.
Caitlin
Jul 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
What a book! I expected no less from Jes Baker. Her writing style is right up my alley and fairly similar to mine and I was SO happy my dad agreed to buy a book for me because I’ve wanted to read this since it came out! Jes drops so many truth bombs it’s hard to keep track. I loved every page!!! Highly recommend to all!
Lindsay
Jul 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is SO important and incredible. Jes’s honesty, humor, vulnerability, and sass create a touching piece of work that will help you grow. If you have ever been plus size, read this!

As someone who has recently become plus size due to a medical condition, I’ve been forced to grapple with a suite of issues. This book has been integral to my journey of body acceptance and peace.
Armand Rosamilia
May 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Very honest, very funny and I enjoyed the writer's take on life as a larger person. It doesn't define her but she doesn't shy away from her size and her thoughts on it. Great read.

I received an advance copy and I'm glad I did.
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182 followers
Jes Baker is a positive, progressive, and magnificently irreverent force to be reckoned with in the realm of self-love advocacy and mental health. She believes in the importance of body autonomy, hard conversations, strong coffee, and even stronger language.

After creating satirical versions of Abercrombie & Fitch advertisements in 2013, she appeared on the Today Show and quickly became one of the
...more

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