Awhile back, Jed Hartman recommended a book by a writer who’d undergone some kind of weight loss surgery and subsequently lost 150 pounds. I made note of it at the time, but didn’t read it. However, I’ve recently become interested in peoples’ experience of weight loss, so I decided to go and check it out of the library.
The book wasn’t perfect. There wasn’t really that much arc. She was really fat. Then she went and got the surgery, and then things slowly got better. However, since I’ve also gone through the experience of losing a lot of weight, it’s just interesting for me to see what other peoples’ experience was. Not sure I’d recommend the book to others, though.
It’s kind of a problem with weight loss memoirs. The narrative can’t be that if you lose weight, then your problems will go away, because that’s not interesting: it adds nothing to our already-existing understanding of what the effects of weight loss would be.
But, at the same time, it can’t be that when you lose weight, nothing gets better, because that’s not what people want to hear (and it’s also very probably not true). So then what? Where does that leave us? I think the best weight loss book would probably be one that was about trying and failing to lose weight, because: a) that’s a much more universal experience; and b) there’s some real dramatic tension there.