Plum Kettle does her best not to be noticed because when you're fat, to be noticed is to be judged. She is biding her time at a job answering fan mail for a popular teen girls' magazine until she can afford weight-loss surgery. But lately she is being followed by a girl in outlandish clothes and combat boots.
When Plum finally confronts her, she finds herself falling into the mysterious world of Calliope House, where an odd collection of women orbit around Verena Baptist, daughter of a famous diet guru. Verena offers to give Plum the money for the surgery, but there is a catch: First Plum must go through a series of seemingly perverse challenges that will force her to confront her past, her doubts, and the real cost of becoming "beautiful".
Dietland is a scathing and revolutionary debut that takes on the beauty industry, gender inequality, and our obsession with weight loss - from the inside out and with fists flying.
"A fresh and provocative debut novel about a reclusive young woman saving up for weight loss surgery, when she gets drawn into a shadowy feminist guerilla group called 'Jennifer' - equal parts Bridget Jones' Diary and Fight Club. Keenly intelligent, daring, and original, Dietland has something important to say to us all." (Alice Mattison, author of When We Argued All Night)
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A n absolute ridiculous waste of my time
Wait... That's it?
I would have said it was time well spent, that was until the final chapter ended with a fizzle. With a proper conclusion this could have been a wonderful treatise on the female condition in modern society, or a manifesto on learning to love yourself no matter who you are. Instead we're left with an unfinished story, and a sense of emptiness. Unlike some books that end and leave the rest to your imagination, there isn't enough here for the reader to do that with.
The narrator is a talented voice actor and her reading of the book was enjoyable and entertaining. It was easy to know who was talking in dialogue sections.
As a male I can only empathize with some of the hardships Plum goes through in the book. But, as a fat person I know all too well much of the pain she feels and the book hit home time and time again. This book helped give me some new tools on my journey towards self acceptance and body positivity.
- J. Fermenich