Book Review: The Fat Girl’s Guide to Life


My review of “The Fat Girl’s Guide to Life” by Wendy Shanker

(And because I hate long blog posts without any pictures, I’ll throw a few pics in here to help the reading go down easier.)

Wendy Shanker decided to take back the word fat, and make work for her.  Her book is funny, informative, and honest.  It also has some amazing self-esteem discoveries, and it promotes being healthy and learning about self-love.  My only problem with it is that she sometimes contradicted herself and also repeated herself occasionally.

She writes about stereotypes, discrimination, clothing, self-esteem, sex, and even food.  She pretty much breaks it down, and lets the readers know it’s okay to be a fat girl.

Here are some of my favorite parts:

“If you ever want to make people visibly uncomfortable, just say the f-word (fat) out loud.”  It’s so true.   And yet it’s the word she’s chosen to use, and she’s quite fine with it.  If she says it first, what’s the point of anyone else saying it to her?  She also promotes eating well and working out and having a healthy body, but recognizes that there are different body types and metabolisms.

She also points out a little about food addiction…it’s not considered the same as being addicted to cigarettes or alcohol, because we need food daily, we can’t avoid it.  This is a good point.  (Ha, i actually typed pint…like pint of ice cream?)

“I don’t feel fat anymore (where fat=ugly, bad, worthless, lazy).  Now I am fat (where fate=the opposite of thin), but I feel….Fat.  It’s like, fat girls are embarrassed when they can’t find their size; but Fat Girls go up to the salesperson and ask for it.  Or, fat girls hide their bodies in big, drapey, shapeless clothes; but Fat Girls show off their cleavage and draw attention to their curves.”  We should ALL do this!!!

“I’m fat.  I assume I always will be.  I spent my whole life waiting to get thin so my life could start.  Now I realize that I can’t wait for thinness to arrive in order for my life to begin.”  I was actually lucky enough to realize this about 2 years ago, and it has helped me tremendously.  I have a friend that I wish could also realize….we all need to realize this.  We can’t wait for whatever we consider “wrong” with ourselves to be “fixed” before we deserve the life we want.

Dove's Real Beauty campaign. Photo: Courtesy of Dove

Regarding working out: “I don’t comprehend what people are talking about when they discuss endorphin rushes.  My body is covered with too much fat for me to notice much muscle definition.  Exercise doesn’t relieve stress, it doesn’t make me feel better.  It’s literally a pain in my ass.  But I do it.  Because I have to.”  YAY!!!  That’s exactly how I feel…except I don’t work out enough.

“Stop taking cues from others and let yourself set your standards.  Right now, try to honor the skin you’re in.”

“If you think someone will love you more if you lose weight, then your weight is not the problem.No one will love you more just because there’s less of you to love.”  Perfectly said

“As far as I know, Gwyneth Paltrow has not compared herself to me today, so I’ve decided that I will not compare myself to her.”  So basically simple yet so elusive, I love this statement.

While worrying about having sex with someone and that person discovering she is fat: “You’re fat and disgusting! What the hell did I just touch?  Is that even a body part that other people have?”  That made me laugh over and over again.

So, if you like non-fiction, want to learn some ways to appreciate who you are, no matter what your size is, read it.


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