Book Review – Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls: A Handbook for Unapologetic Living by Jes Baker.

Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls

4 out of 5 stars.

I would like to thank Perseus Books Group, Seal Press for an ARC of this book in exchange for an open and honest review.

Wow. What a book! To let you know what interested me in reading it: I’m tall (6’2), fat (hovering in the 17 stone range) and – a scary trifecta to some – smart (not Mensa). And, on top of that all I am at peace with my inner self… while not a big fan (actually totally the most horrific enemy) of my outer, physical self. And I am sarcastic, brash and blunt and LOVE reading stuff by sarcastic, brash and blunt women!

With me so far? This was the sort of book I was interested in as sceptical me didn’t think anything could change my opinion of myself. It’s my opinion… of MYSELF… so of course I’m an expert. 😉

Okay, so I can’t say this book has turned me into a total convert who LOVES herself and is proud of herself… but it has made me wake up and realise all those positive things I’m always telling people about themselves, all those positives I try and seek in every situation… I’ve been turning a blind eye to seeking those positive in my physical self. THAT is what this book has done.

‘Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls’ isn’t about being fat. It’s not about being thin. It’s not even about being a girl. This book is about having the reader wake up and realise how awesome they are. I do this, I am constantly telling people they are worth it, they are important… but I only focus on what is within as I can’t cope with facing my own exterior. This isn’t a book about fat, thin, girls, boys, etc. It’s about your exterior and how the only way others are going to accept it for what it is, is if you do so first. And I thank Ms Baker for that. For years it is something I’ve struggled with and she’s finally been the person to prise open that stubborn willed door to help me start to see this.

This book is not encouraging you to be fat. Not asking me to give up my ‘foodie ways’ and embrace pizza and over eating and getting unhealthy. None of that is even MENTIONED. But sadly that’s what a lot of people I spoke to thought when they heard the word ‘fat’. This book is trying to help remove the negatives that come with such a small word. Fat. It’s not about you, food, clothes or health. It’s just a word to describe a part of your body. Of ALL our bodies.

Oh dear, I can feel this review becoming a bit of a soapbox moment so I will shut up before someone comes and pulls it out from under me and I fall on my arse.

But before I do stop soapboxing, I will say this: I’m a mum of three young kids and two are girls and the other a boy with ASD. So I am constantly reaffirming how awesome they are, how fantastic they look and how terrific it is to be different. I compliment them… but found I was unable to take compliments back when they would say things like “you’re beautiful mummy”. ‘Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls’ has honestly helped me with this bad situation. I might not be a total convert yet, but it’s helped me stop gritting my teeth when I’m complimented. There is no hidden agenda in my kids saying it – just accept it. And I’m starting to now see I can, and will. Affirmation in the making maybe?

Okay, so I better get back to the actual review and not just spouting about how this book has affected me. There is a lot of swearing. But Ms Baker does warn us about it at the start, so no complaints there. It did mean reading affirming parts of it out to my girls needed a bit of mental translation as I went – and that they weren’t allowed to read it over my shoulder – but that’s okay too. It is why I didn’t give it the full 5 stars though, sorry.

My girls may only be 8 and 10 but they are savvy and they are already feeling the effects of the stupid body (and mind) image stigma happening. They’re tall and smart too… fat may still come if they get my genes more than their dad’s. So maybe a less sweary ‘G’ rated version would be good to let girls learn these fantastic truths as they enter the soul hating teen years… not something they can read while recovering from them later. Just a thought. 😉

Other than that, this is an insightful, inspirational, funny and really, really mind altering (in a good way) book. And it is our minds we need to be altering here. Our bodies are fine the way they are, let them be. Let’s get those stupid mental preconceptions ingrained in our souls, break them down and realise we are what we are, love it, live it and BE it.

Would I recommend this book to others? Oh hell yes. Except maybe my Nanna… not a book for Nanna, too sweary. But yes I would recommend it to EVERYONE else! This is not just a book for we fat girls, that’s just a title. We all have bodies, so we all have body image issues. And so we need more books like this to help us realise we’re all in it together and maybe once we’ve realised that we can start cutting each other (and ourselves) some slack.

Would I buy this book for myself? Yes I would. And I would get my kids to read it, as well as Ms Bakers blog and many of the places she references in it as they’re growing up so they realise that no matter what they look like – that’s awesome as that’s who they are. Whether they start to grow outwards when they stop growing upwards, whether they stay “supermodel thin” once puberty takes hold (yeah, good luck keeping slender hips in this family girls) – It doesn’t matter. And I feel every family needs such reference guides to help us all remember how awesome we are (on the outside as well as the inside).

In summary: A powerful, emotional and uplifting book with a lot of swearing in it. 😉 Seriously though, this is a good read. I know I’ve said it before but I feel I need to say it again – not a book about (or just for) fat girls! This is a book for those of us who can’t look ourselves in the mirror without cringing, sighing or dreaming of a better view.

Best thing I got from ‘Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls’ is this: You are what you are. Go with it, embrace it, cherish it and celebrate it. If you’re not happy with what you are, it might not be WHAT you are that needs changing, more HOW YOU LOOK AT YOURSELF. Accept who you are, that is not admitting defeat, that is making a stand and moving on with being YOU.

Until next time,

Janis. XXOO

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