Manfredi, Angie, Editor. The (Other) F Word: A Celebration of the Fat & Fierce. Abrams, 2019. 224p. ISBN: 9781419737503. $18.99. AT *****
Editor, Angie Manfredi, has collected a variety of thoughtful pieces: essays, letters, poetry, and visual art, which all attempt to share with the world the experiences, thoughts, anger, and joy about being fat in a world that equates fat with disgusting, unhealthy, and overall being unworthy. Authors represent a variety of genders, sexualities, and races, and the varied perspectives allow for a variety of expressions. There are funny and light-hearted essays and letters to younger selves, there are heartbreaking confessions from folks who had a terrible time learning to love their physical bodies, and there are journalistic explorations of popular culture and how fat people are represented and not represented. This book isn’t just for fat readers; there is plenty that will resonate for readers of all sizes. Many of the artists comment on the wider fat-shaming culture with the aim of educating, so all readers can learn how best to combat discrimination and hatred and stand up for fat folks. Young readers will connect with young artists, many will recognize the names of their favorite authors and artists, and also find comfort in hearing older voices tell of their battles fought and won when it comes to being fat. While affirming, validating, heart-warming, and comforting, as with anything written about micro- and macro-aggressions and discrimination, it is also at times hard to read about someone’s experience with external and internal hatred.
An informative and affirming read for anyone, but especially for young fat readers who crave adequate representation of fat folks in art and culture and ultimately an aptly named celebration for being fat.
–Michelle Clark, San José Public Library