You'll love this one...!! A book club & more discussion

Group Themed Reads: Discussions > February 2017 - Plus Sized Theme

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message 1: by Sarah, Moderator (new)

Sarah | 18092 comments If those two chosen group reads are not to your liking, feel free to read another book that fits the plus sized theme.

To clarify, books could feature a plus sized character or it could be written by a plus sized author.

Please discuss your book in this thread.

In order to receive a badge you must:
1. have completed the book before or during February 2017
2. discussed it in this thread. Discussion must be more than "I read the book and I liked it". Discussion requires something more substantial and analytical of what you read, for example, thoughts, opinions, impact it had on you, what was your favourite part, was it what you expected it to be like etc. You may also like to review the book and post a link to the review in this thread.
3. Report that you have read AND discussed the book in the reporting thread (including a brief summary of what you thought of the book).

General Rules:
1. Please mark your spoilers with the spoiler tags along with mentioning what stage of the book you are at so other's don't get a nasty shock.

reply | edit | delete | flag *

message 2: by Peggy, Moderator (new)

Peggy (pebbles84) | 14554 comments I'm reading Eleanor & Park. I read a bit already and several mentions have been made referring to Eleanor's weight (she calls herself fat but she's also described by others as 'chubby') so I'm now sure it fits the theme.

I'm enjoying it so far! I'm 20% in and I like how (view spoiler)

message 3: by Janice, Moderator (last edited Feb 02, 2017 06:16AM) (new)

Janice (jamasc) | 46876 comments I'm reading Fat Angie for the theme. I'm trying to whittle down my pile of owned books.

I'm listening to the audiobook and the pacing of the narration jarred me with her horrible phrasing, so I increased the speed which helped.

The other thing that really bugged me was the overuse of the name "Fat Angie". Every sentence. It was Fat Angie this and Fat Angie that. One sentence ended with Fat Angie. Fat Angie was the beginning of the next. Are you getting how annoying that is? Note to the author - the teen's name is Angie. The nickname should only be used in dialogue:

"Hey Fat Angie, what are you doing here?" came a snarl behind her. Angie grimaced and sighed.

That aside, I find the cruelty of her fellow students to be distressing. Angie's sister joined the military, was captured in Iraq and is now missing, presumed dead. Angie, in her grief, attempted suicide. Instead of people realizing that she needs help, they mock her mercilessly. This information is all in the book blurb, so it's not a spoiler. I knew all this going into the book. What I didn't expect was my reaction to it.

I have "discrimination" as my answer to issue that I'm interested in for the Survey challenge, and I think I may slot this in. It depends on how the rest of the book goes.

It's a short book - 264 pgs or 6-1/2 hours. Since I notched up the speed, it's going faster. I may be somewhere in the middle.

message 4: by Peggy, Moderator (new)

Peggy (pebbles84) | 14554 comments It sounds like a sad story Janice :( I don't get bullying.

message 5: by Janice, Moderator (new)

Janice (jamasc) | 46876 comments My motto these days is that it's useless to try to understand "crazy".

I had a long talk with my brother last night about this topic of bullying and he said that bullies not only hurt their target, they hurt themselves. Often, bullying comes from a place of insecurity. In an attempt to make themselves feel superior, they belittle someone. It backfires, because they can't feel good about themselves unless they are sociopathic.

message 6: by Kristie, Moderator (new)

Kristie | 12712 comments The name thing does sound annoying, Janice. It should definitely just be Angie the majority of the time.

message 7: by Janice, Moderator (new)

Janice (jamasc) | 46876 comments Kristie wrote: "The name thing does sound annoying, Janice. It should definitely just be Angie the majority of the time."

I don't know if I've gotten used to it so that I don't gnash my teeth when I hear it anymore, or the author has toned it down. A person can get used to anything, apparently. :)

message 8: by TrudyAn (new)

TrudyAn | 1614 comments I plan to read Olive Kitteridge, which appeared on a list of books with plus-sized characters. If you have read this book and don't think it fits the challenge, please let me know! I am trying to focus on the books I own, and this seems the best choice.

message 9: by Janice, Moderator (new)

Janice (jamasc) | 46876 comments I think I may have to read Olive Kitteridge, TrudyAn.

I found this quote from the book that may address your question, "What young people didn't know, she thought, lying down beside this man, his hand on her shoulder, her arm; oh, what young people did not know. They did not know that lumpy, aged, and wrinkled bodies were as needy as their own young, firm ones, that love was not to be tossed away carelessly..."

message 10: by TrudyAn (new)

TrudyAn | 1614 comments Janice, from that, we know that her body definitely isn't firm! I will give the book a try, and if it doesn't fit, at least it will be one more off my shelf. :)

message 11: by Janice, Moderator (new)

Janice (jamasc) | 46876 comments That quote really moves me. Maybe because I'm one of those "lumpy, aged, and wrinkled bodies". So many of my friends that have read it have rated it highly.

message 12: by Cherie (new)

Cherie (crobins0) | 19558 comments I have Olive Kitterage on my real life book shelf too, TrudyAn. You know that it is composed of 13 short stories, right? Connie loved it but Dem was turned off by the short stories. It sounds like The Twelve Tribes of Hattie to me.

I may give it a go. Not sure yet.

message 13: by TrudyAn (new)

TrudyAn | 1614 comments Yes, I realize that it is 13 short stories (the same as 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl, the other book I am reading for this month's theme). My understanding is that Olive Kitteridge is a character in all of the stories. I don't often enjoy short stories, but we shall see.

message 14: by Janice, Moderator (new)

Janice (jamasc) | 46876 comments I finished my book, Fat Angie. The overuse of the name "Fat Angie" continued on in the second half. I think the author tried too hard to cram as many issues into the story as she could - obesity, bullying, glbt, death, suicide, cutting. I'm probably missing a few. Oh yeah, parental emotional abandonment. I think she would have been better off to focus on one or two. Angie was a hot mess, as was the book.

Essentially, I think it was a story of a family dealing with the loss of a daughter and sister told mainly from the POV of "Fat Angie" who is bullied for her weight and her failed suicide attempt.

I wouldn't recommend it. If you want to read a book about a family dealing with the loss of a child, I'd recommend Everything I Never Told You.

message 15: by Tejas Janet (new)

Tejas Janet (tejasjanet) | 3513 comments Glad for the feedback, Janice. I was on the fence about reading this book. Thinking probably not now.

About the use of "Fat Angie" as Angie's name throughout the book, it did sound annoying but also got me to thinking. When our cohorts call us names like this, especially in childhood, we internalize such names and then call ourselves by these same unkind names.

So Angie, even to herself, was never just "Angie." Instead, she was "Fat Angie." Wondering if perhaps that was what the author was trying convey, but didn't successfully execute so well?

message 16: by Janice, Moderator (new)

Janice (jamasc) | 46876 comments You may be right, TJ. There was a mention in the book that she thought of herself as Fat Angie and I did consider that perhaps that's what the author was trying to convey. It seemed like names in general were overused. It was as if the author was making sure you knew who was being referred to. If she had used "her" instead of a formal name, there may have been confusion as to who was the subject.

message 17: by Casceil (new)

Casceil | 2613 comments I have stumbled into reading a book with a plus-sized heroine without realizing the book fit the category. New Orleans Mourning is the book I picked for the Mardi Gras challenge. It is a murder mystery set in New Orleans, and the murder happens at the Mardi Gras parade. Our MC is Skip Langdon, a police officer who grew up with social connections before deciding to go into her "blue collar" line of work. She is plus-sized, and rude co-workers make jokes about it. When a detective asks her what size she wears, she responds, "Huge." The book came out in 1991, and is very dated in many ways. Race relations are a very touchy subject. The murder victim, who was married, had a mistress, and the fear of scandal about it is not just because she was a hooker, but mainly because she was black. Gasp! I'm enjoying the book, but I have mixed feelings about it, and particularly about the MC. Sometimes she seems smart, and other times she does things that are stupid. There is a rich cast of characters, but many of them are stereotypes. I'm about 60% of the way through the book. I'll let you know more when I finish.

message 18: by Janice, Moderator (new)

Janice (jamasc) | 46876 comments The reviews for your book look pretty mixed too, Casceil. Just from reading the blurb there's a mention that the victim has a promiscuous daughter, homosexual son, and alcoholic wife. You mention his mistress is a hooker. It makes me wonder if your book will suffer from the same problems as mine - too many "issues" crammed into one story. I'll be interested in your final verdict.

message 19: by Casceil (new)

Casceil | 2613 comments Could be, Janice. The victim's family is sort of a train wreck. The MC has so many leads to follow it is hard to keep them all straight. And of court the two male homicide detectives she is working with don't take her seriously.

message 20: by Peggy, Moderator (new)

Peggy (pebbles84) | 14554 comments I'm losing interest a bit in Eleanor & Park. I really enjoyed the first quarter or so but now I'm halfway through and it's too much about teens in love for my liking.

message 21: by Casceil (new)

Casceil | 2613 comments I finished New Orleans Mourning. On balance I give it three stars. There were way too many issues, clues, red herrings and general distractions crammed into one book. The author did resolved most of the loose ends in the conclusion of the book, but not all of them. I liked the book well enough that I will probably read the next one in the series, Axeman's Jazz. It's available with Kindle unlimited, so it is effectively free for me, and I would like to see how the plus-sized main character develops in her police career.

message 22: by Janice, Moderator (new)

Janice (jamasc) | 46876 comments Maybe the second book will tie up some of the loose ends, Casceil.

I hope your book gets better for you, Peggy.

message 23: by Peggy, Moderator (new)

Peggy (pebbles84) | 14554 comments I finished Eleanor & Park and rated it 3.5 stars. It picked up a bit towards the end, but overall the middle part was too much teenage love insecurities for me.

message 24: by TrudyAn (new)

TrudyAn | 1614 comments I have finished Olive Kitteridge, and enjoyed it immensely. Olive appears in each of the 13 stories, sometimes as the MC as sometimes only briefly. Several of the stories seemed very relevant to me - growing older, declining health, loss of a loved one, wondering what life would have been like if different choices had been made. I like that the reader often learned about Olive through the lives of other characters. As to whether Olive is a plus-sized character, there are several references made to her being a large woman, but this does not become a significant theme. Rather, her crustiness and ability to intimidate are predominant characteristics. I quite liked her!

message 25: by Ariane (last edited Feb 10, 2017 06:43AM) (new)

Ariane | 697 comments I am reading The Girl of Fire and Thorns, I am 23% in and so far, I really enjoy it.
It is YA and I found it in a list of "underrated" YA books.
It tells the story of a princess who is kind of the chosen one, someone who is destined to do a great thing but she still doesn’t know much about that status, so we don't either.
It is well written and everything she feels about her body and her weight feels very genuine.

message 26: by Casceil (new)

Casceil | 2613 comments I read Axeman's Jazz, the second book about plus-sized Skip Langdon. The second book was much better than the first one. Skip has become more cautious, and doesn't do the sort of risky, hare-brained things she did in the first book. This time she is tracking a serial killer who picks his victims from twelve-step programs, so Skip goes undercover and starts attending meetings. She even runs into her mother at one of the meetings, for Over Eaters Anonymous. I've discovered this whole series is available on Kindle Unlimited, so I plan to read more of them.

message 27: by Janice, Moderator (new)

Janice (jamasc) | 46876 comments Isn't it interesting that all the books we're reading for this theme are overweight girls and women?

message 28: by Casceil (new)

Casceil | 2613 comments It is interesting, Janice, but I'm not sure what it means. It would be interesting to know how many of the books we are reading were written by female authors who have struggled with weight problems.

message 29: by Janice, Moderator (new)

Janice (jamasc) | 46876 comments It just seems that there is more pressure on women to conform to an ideal than there is for men. Certainly it's there for men as well, but not as pervasive. I read a book years ago, Fat Is a Feminist Issue that addresses this topic. I don't remember much about the book just that I thought some of the points she made were interesting. Maybe it's time for a re-read.

message 30: by Almeta (new)

Almeta (menfrommarrs) | 9976 comments Women will never be equal to men until they can walk down the street with a bald head and a beer gut, and still think they are sexy! ; D

message 31: by Tejas Janet (new)

Tejas Janet (tejasjanet) | 3513 comments Almeta wrote: "Women will never be equal to men until they can walk down the street with a bald head and a beer gut, and still think they are sexy! ; D"


So true!!!

message 32: by Tejas Janet (new)

Tejas Janet (tejasjanet) | 3513 comments I have a guy friend who has talked about being growing up being larger than his classmates. Seemed like it made him a target for some bullying and teasing at times. But sometimes these very guys went on to be linebackers and such that nobody messes with!

message 33: by Janice, Moderator (new)

Janice (jamasc) | 46876 comments LOL, Almeta!

message 34: by Ariane (new)

Ariane | 697 comments I finished The Girl of Fire and Thorns and gave it 3.75 stars.
I really liked the main character, I thought her feelings about her weight and her body were genuine, well described.
I didn't like the way the end was rushed though, that's why I didn't give it 4 stars, but the story was good, I am curious to know what comes next.

message 35: by Janice, Moderator (new)

Janice (jamasc) | 46876 comments Ariane, was the main character discriminated against because of her weight? Was her weight central to the theme or was it just a part of her appearance?

message 36: by Ariane (new)

Ariane | 697 comments She wasn't obviously discriminated because she is a princess but her body and food took a great part in her life.

message 37: by Peggy, Moderator (new)

Peggy (pebbles84) | 14554 comments In response to an earlier comment, I think the thin ideal is indeed more strong for women, but in recent years body image issues have also increased a lot in men. It's more about being muscular for them though, not so much thin. But I think in books and movies it's clearly more focused on women who have to reach some kind of bullsh*t beauty standard.

message 38: by Sam F (new)

Sam F | 246 comments I read The Witches of Eastwick by John Updike for this theme. I enjoyed that the main character Alex was celebrated for her size and voluptuousness. She regularly finds lovers who express how beautiful she is. She also makes sculptures that reflect her body shape that are sold in local gift shops. A great change from some of the typical chick-lit novels written these days. While Alex is not discriminated against, she frequently discusses her weight and size of various parts of her body. She laments on wanting them smaller and how to lose weight despite being honoured and celebrated by the men in her life. In reading the book, I found that her size played a significant part of her worldview and affected how she approached others. It affected her confidence in being able to work in the world outside her small community.

message 39: by Lara (new)

Lara | 1426 comments Like Casceil, I read a book not realizing it would have a plus-sized heroine. The book was If Walls Could Talk and is a cozy mystery. The heroine is running her father's construction company in California and has to deal with a lot of condescending sexism. In addition, or perhaps as a result, she dresses inappropriately in clothes that emphasize the fact that she's female.

A few times she mentions her large size, and at the end she comments on it as being a good thing when she struggles with a bad guy. What is interesting is that no one is trying to make her lose weight or feel bad about her weight. And the men tend to find her very attractive.

Overall the story is entertaining, and includes a ghost element. However, the heroine is TSTL more times than I liked, and there were relationships (mainly friendships) that didn't feel fully supported. However, there was murder and treasure along with older house renovation discussion, which I found fun.

message 40: by Kristie, Moderator (last edited Feb 24, 2017 04:39PM) (new)

Kristie | 12712 comments I recently finished Every Body Yoga: Let Go of Fear. Get On the Mat. Love Your Body.. The first half of the book was mostly a discussion of yoga, its history, etc, but the second have of the book was more of a memoir with yoga incorporated, which was what I expected. I found that the yoga information was interesting and helpful and I enjoyed her personal stories. There were a lot of yoga poses (pictures with descriptions) in the book and it gave you some asanas (series of poses) to try as well. I thought there was plenty to try out.

Here is a link to my review.

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