This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.Dietland by Sarai Walker
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on May 26, 2015
Genres: Fiction, Literary, Contemporary Women, General
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Plum Kettle does her best not to be noticed, because when you’re fat, to be noticed is to be judged. Or mocked. Or worse. With her job answering fan mail for a popular teen girls’ magazine, she is biding her time until her weight-loss surgery. Only then can her true life as a thin person finally begin.
But when Plum notices she’s being followed by a mysterious woman in colorful tights and combat boots, she finds herself falling down a rabbit hole into the world of Calliope House, a community of women who live life on their own terms. Reluctant but intrigued, Plum agrees to a series of challenges that force her to deal with the real costs of becoming “beautiful.” At the same time, a dangerous guerilla group begins to terrorize a world that mistreats women, and as Plum grapples with her own personal struggles, she becomes entangled in a sinister plot. The consequences are explosive.
Part coming-of-age story, part revenge fantasy, Dietland is a bold, original, and funny debut novel that takes on the beauty industry, gender inequality, and our weight loss obsession—from the inside out, and with fists flying.
Plum Kettle knows when she will be happy. In four months she is getting her stomach stapled, once she goes from 300 pounds to 125 she will be happy. Till then she is content to hide in the shadows, writing emails as someone else, wearing head to toe black every day, and rarely traveling further then the coffee shop on her corner. Then she notices someone following her, but can’t understand why anyone would be interested in her. Then the Jennifer movement begins, men begin to die and the landscape of the world starts changing. Drawn into this shadow world Plum begins to see happy in a whole new context.
Dietland has great writing, a strong message about objectifying women and not a single character that I liked. The writing was snappy and smart, well-paced and the world very well fleshed out. The message about women being objectified on a daily basis and no one blinks an eye, slut shaming and the tragedy of rape is such an important message. But the characters…ugh. They were all caricatures instead of people. The “good” people and the “bad” people are very clearly pointed and there are no shades of grey. However, grey is important in a novel to set stages and create characters you can care about. Everyone is innately flawed and that makes for someone you can root for. In Dietland you are told who to root for; alternative women good, women who wear makeup and men bad. That and the subplot about “female terrorists” who shoot porn stars and blow up cars was not about female empowerment but a different kind of slut shaming which is just as bad, made this promising novel fall flat for me.
Other Dietland book reviews online –