Y’all know I’m a librarian right?
Well, if you didn’t, you do now. Which means I love to read. But all my life I’ve read books where the heroine was some impossible ideal woman – ie… thin. So I’ve always been on the hunt for a good novel with a fabulous fat female as the central character.
A few years ago, pre-fat acceptance days for me and back when I had crappy self esteem, a friend recommended Kerry Greenwood’s Corinna Chapman series to me, and I read the first three straight away. I loved them to bits. I kind of forgot them for awhile, but recently while browsing a bookstore I came across the first in the series, Earthly Delights, and decided to buy it for my permanent collection.
I read it again last week and it was with fresh eyes, as life has changed in many ways for me. I came to realise just how a) ahead of her time Kerry Greenwood is in writing a fabulous fat heroine and b) just how much wisdom this book imparts. I’m really looking forward to reading the rest of the series.
Let me tell you a little about Corinna Chapman. She’s a successful businesswoman who owns and runs a bakery in central Melbourne. She has a wicked sense of humour, lots of friends, sexy, lives in a gorgeous apartment, is a well-liked employer, is intelligent, takes no shit from anybody and has a boyfriend who I would wager is the hottest man in fiction. Oh, and she’s fat. Not just a bit chubby, a size 12 or 14, but pure plus sized big girl fat. And she’s gorgeous.
And the descriptions of the delights she bakes in her bakery are breathtaking. There are even recipes at the end of the book.
I have a couple of my favourite quotes from Earthly Delights that I’ve copied down for you.
I can’t afford to spend days in self loathing as everyone expects fat women do. Self loathing eats your life. Being fat isn’t my fault or even my sin, despite what all those TV ads say. I was myself and that was what I was…
This book was first published in 2004 – a good six years ago now. Even for 2010 it’s a radical statement for a female character in fiction.
Or how about this one:
The first thing anyone thinks about a fat woman is, disgusting creature, I bet she stuffs herself with Mars Bars before breakfast and eats her own weight in chocolate every day and we don’t, generally. My mantra is that I am fat because I am fat and there is not a lot I can do about it. And I have the example of Gossamer and Kylie always before me. I could not get that thin if I starved for ten years, and that is a fact. We are famine survivors, we fat women, and ought to be valued for it. We must have been very useful when everyone else collapsed with starvation. We would have been able to sow the crop, feed the babies and keep the tribe alive until spring came. If you breed us out, what will you do when the bad times come again?
Isn’t it just a delicious paragraph? She goes on to say:
There was a reason why the oldest depiction of a human is the Venus of Willendorf, a huge fat woman. We were genetically designed to keep your tribe alive so that the thin people could be born. So be nice. Or at least shut up about it. Every time I turn on a TV I see (1) a car ad and then (2) some simpering female telling me how easy it is to lose weight by some new means and how wonderful she feels now she’s thinner, just send lots of money. Then I snort and turn on cable.
Such wisdom! I love the no bullshit style of narrative that Kerry gives Corinna, the kind of “Here’s how it is folks.” voice.
I will be purchasing the rest of the series and reading them each in turn, and I promise I will nab some of the best quotes to share with you all here on this blog.
However I do heartily recommend that you go out and get yourself copies and read them. Buy them for your permanent collection (or at LEAST read the library copy first!) and even highlight the bits that make you feel good about yourself.
I’m pretty sure you will feel good about yourself when you read this series.
P.S. I have just found a website for this series: Earthly Delights