Wow. Am I ever behind on telling y’all about what I’m reading. 99 percent of the time when I’m running behind, it’s because I’m pretty lazy. This time, though, I really needed to sit on my thoughts for a while before I could put together a blog post. That’s mostly because reading Dietland by Sarai Walker felt so… Explosive.
Plum Kettle goes through life trying to keep a low profile. Her lifelong weight struggle has instilled a desperate desire to blend into the background, a feat she never quite accomplishes. Plum works from home or a local cafe answering the fan mail and advice requests for a popular teen girl’s magazine. After years of failed diets, Plum has decided to undergo weight loss surgery.
She’s confident in her decision until she acquires something of a stalker in a college age girl wearing brightly colored tights and combat boots. When Plum tries to investigate the odd girl that’s been following her, she falls into a collective of women living life outside of society’s terms. All this comes about around the same time as a vigilante group known as “Jennifer” begins dangerous attacks on a world that’s hostile toward women.
Dietland takes a no holds barred approach to eviscerating the beauty industry, gender inequality, rape culture, society’s obsession with weight loss, and the general nastiness that surrounds being overweight.
You guys, I have so many complicated feelings about this book. Every time I wanted to high five the author for making an incredible point, something happened that made me want to rescind my hand. I was all about the take down of diet culture. It sucks and this book disembowled it. High five right there. Of course, I wanted that high five right back when I read the way the author treated Plum’s antidepressant use. Are anti-depressants over-prescribed? Maybe. But are there a lot of people who NEED medication to manage their mental illnesses? Abso-freaking-lutely. Is this sort of characterization helpful? Nope. Not even a little. Then there’s the beauty industry. Does it feed on women’s insecurities? Totally. But the book slammed the beauty industry SO HARD that it made me feel like a crap feminist for enjoying wearing makeup and shaving my armpits. And as much as there’s a part of me that would love to see rapists and other horrible human beings punished when the criminal justice system fails, I just can’t with the vigilante stuff.
Are you starting to get a clearer picture of why I’m such a muddled mess over this book? The cognitive dissonance is STRONG with this one. Even though I didn’t agree with every little stance, I still think that Dietland starts all sorts of incredible and important conversations. It would make a stellar book club pick, especially if debates are your group’s jam.
Alright Bookworms. As you can see I’m a hot steaming pile of emotions here. What was the last book you read that left your feelings all a roiling?
*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive small commission.*