Friday, May 15, 2015

The Life and Times of a Plus-size Advocate and a Giveaway

Told through a series of larger-than-life snapshots, a hilarious memoir in essays about love, sex, marriage, motherhood, bikinis, and loving your body, no matter what size you are from the acclaimed blogger and body image advocate.

Brittany Gibbons has been a plus size her whole life. But instead of hiding herself in the shadows of thinner women, Brittany became a wildly popular blogger and national spokesmodel--known for stripping on stage at TedX and standing in Times Square in a bikini on national television, and making skinny people everywhere uncomfortable.

Talking honestly about size and body image on her popular blog, brittanyherself.com, she has ignited a national conversation. Now in her first book, she shares hilarious and painfully true stories about her life as a weird overweight girl growing up in rural Ohio, struggling with dating and relationships, giving the middle finger to dieting, finding love with a man smaller than her, accidentally having three kids, and figuring out the secret to loving her curves and becoming a nationally recognized body image advocate. And there's sex, lots of it!


Fat Girl Walking isn't a diet book. It isn't one of those former fat people memoirs about how someone battled, and won, in the fight against fat. Brittany doesn't lose all the weight and reveal the happy, skinny girl that's been hiding inside her. Instead, she reminds us that being chubby doesn't mean you'll end up alone, unhappy, or the subject of a cable medical show. What's important is learning to love your shape. With her infectious humor and soul-baring honesty, Fat Girl Walking reveals a life full of the same heartbreak, joy, oddity, awkwardness, and wonder as anyone else's. Just with better snacks. (Summary from Goodreads.com)


I was provided a finished copy by the publisher for review. This has in no way swayed my opinions of the book.

Reading Fat Girl Walking was an intensely personal experience. It was the first time I could directly parallel my life to the situations someone was writing about. Called names based on your weight? Yep! Felt like a nothing more than a cockblock to boys looking to hook up with your friend? Check! Struggled your entire life with self-perception when everyone from your friends, to your family, to strangers, to the media is subtly and not so subtly implying your body is unacceptable? It's the story of my life!

Brittany Gibbons might be the person I've needed all my life. Not in a creepy we're soulmates kind of way, because she is super happily married with three kids. But as a person who says "I get it. Those perceptions of you because of your weight, suck. But those perceptions aren't you. And there isn't one single thing wrong with who you are and especially how you look. Now let's make sure other people know that too." My mom has been saying this all my life. But there's a difference between hearing it from your mom, who is wonderful and thinks you're fine as is, and someone who was down in the trenches getting called jellyroll along with you.

Gibbons' Fat Girl Walking explores much more than her struggle with the scales. The book goes into her childhood with a brain-damaged father, exploring relationships as a teen, finding love, having a complete mental breakdown in college, a brief foray into lesbianism, getting married, motherhood, and developing into an advocate for plus-size women and body positivity by stripping down to her bathing suit on national television. She unapologetically tackles each subject with humor and the self-assured grace of someone who no longer gives a f*** what people say. While some moments are enough to make you cringe (poor, poor Kimberly), overall this hilarious book departs a few great messages about life, love, and accepting yourself as is. 

My favorite quote from the book comes from Gibbons' grandmother. "You are going to fail at a lot of things, so when you do, do it on such a grand scale that half the room gives you a standing ovation, and the other half gives you the middle finger." 

That is an awesome message! Obviously I'm not saying to go fail at something for the hell of it. This quote means failures do not matter, only that you went after something, whatever it is, so completely that no one can accuse you of not giving your all. Which frankly, I need more of that level of tenacity in my life. 

If you are a plus-size woman, or any type of person who struggles with self-perception, I highly recommend picking up Fat Girl Walking. Gibbons' great writing, humor, and downright irreverence for TMI will have you laughing all night long. And hopefully, starting down your own road of self-acceptance and body positivity. 

Please enjoy the excerpt below from Chapter 13 of Fat Girl Walking and scroll down for a giveaway!

NOW WHAT?

My fitness and body aspirations at thirty are different from my aspirations at twenty. At twenty, I just assumed I’d work out until I was so tiny, people became concerned for my health and I’d roll my eyes at them from my Victoria’s Secret bras and Abercrombie jeans. Now I just want to maintain my current weight so I don’t need to buy new clothes. When you look at weight loss, it’s often clothing driven. Weddings, vacations, and high school reunions, all things you are supposed to be thin for. But what if you have a gorgeous wedding dress in your current size, loads of flattering bathing suits, and a killer pair of jeans? Starving myself has suddenly become a moot point. I have options; I’m no longer a fashion pariah. So where does that leave my weight? Well, unless I’m sitting atop you, what I weigh is really none of your business.

I like to put good food in my mouth, and while I am aware of the calories I ingest, instead of cutting them I make them count. I have a full-on love affair with food, appreciating the different cultures and processes within it. In fact, I take entire vacations around eating. It’s how I remember where I’ve been; I’ve either eaten, thrown up, or started my period without the proper supplies there.

Beignets with my best friend in New Orleans. Too much rum on the beaches of Playa del Carmen on our second honeymoon. Orlando, Florida, the city of emergency men’s tube sock maxi-pads.

You see, these flabby parts aren’t problem areas; they’re parts of a scrapbook.

If you'd like to buy Fat Girl Walking, you can do so at:

Or, you can enter this contest for a free copy of the book. There will be five winners selected. You could be one of them!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


BRITTANY GIBBONS is a humorist, internet personality, model and nationally recognized positive body image advocate. She began her blog www.BrittanyHerself.com in 2007, and later founded the magazine, CurvyGirlGuide.com, and she hosts “Last Call Brittany,” a weekly Google talk show. She lives in Toledo, Ohio with her husband and three small children.

Shout out to fabulous HarperCollins publicist Dianna Garcia for reaching out to me to review this book and join the tour!

Happy Reading!

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