"This book is dedicated to the fat girls of the world. Be light."
Staci Backauskas is a motivational speaker and writer with seven books under her belt. Where Fat Girls Haven't Gone (WFGHG) is a fictional story spanning four years in the lives of two young women living in New York whose paths cross while working on a reality TV show highlighting fat girls. Well, one fat girl in particular.
Giletta, pronounced Jah-leh-ta, is a plus size woman who dreams of being an actress. She's done some plus size modeling to help pay the bills but her highest hope is to work in theatre, and if it involves Shakespeare, all the better. In the meantime she's landed this gig as the host of new a reality TV show called "Where Fat Girls Haven't Gone". With this new job she makes a good income, gets pampered and really gets to do things she's never done before; like skydiving, kayaking, a volley ball tournament and a blind date with hunk. Giletta is a happy go lucky girl who expects the best from everyone and she gives the same in return.
Madison is a regular Pittsburgh girl whose dream is to have the script she hasn't finished made into a movie. To help her reach her dream and pay the bills she joins the WFGHG team as a production assistant where she undergoes an inordinate amount of verbal abuse. When she first meets Giletta she thinks "she looked great for a fat girl" but the more time she spends with her she realizes she'd be the perfect lead for her movie if only she could bribe her into it. Madison is a strange cookie. She whines about finishing her script but never works on it and she constantly expects to be rewarded for good behaviour like going to church.
I really enjoyed getting to know Giletta and Madison. They made me laugh and they made me reflect. I could relate to pieces of each of them. It was easy to be drawn into their daily lives which included work, friendships, and family complications. Giletta's biggest complication was dealing with the fact her mother despised Shakespeare with every bone in her body. Madison who grew up slim and remained slim to adulthood had an obese mother who missed out on a lot because of her size. Both women have goals but only one is willing to make the sacrifices necessary to get where she wants to be.
One of the things I liked about WFGHG is the women are focused on their careers and not romance. So many women's stories focus on romance or have a strong romance element. While this certainly is a portion of a woman's life it certainly isn't our soul desire. WFGHG shows success comes in many forms.
Giletta touches on many myths about being fat. Like the belief if you're fat you're not healthy or telling people they're fat will help them lose weight. She tries to defend fat people to the readers, "Many fat people who are fat were abused, raised by alcoholics, adopted, molested, abandoned or ignored. The only difference between them and everyone else who experienced those circumstances is that their way of coping is worn on the hips and buttocks."
A few things slowed down the story for me. The overuse of the word 'that' and awkward sentences like this: "Instead, she set her sites, instead on the boy who poured the sodas at the Woolworth's counter in town." At one point I questioned the writer's observation of plus size people because of Madison's description of audition day, "Many of them were dressed in colourful caftans." I've been watching fat woman for a long time and most of them know how to dress up for an audition or interview. I have yet to see a flock of fat people show up in caftans. These are little things I know but they perturbed me. WFGHG is a good story with good themes and has entertainment value. I enjoyed it and recommend checking it out.
Purchase Where Fat Girls Haven't Gone from Amazon.com.
Purchase Where Fat Girls Haven't Gone from Amazon.ca.