BUST Magazine
(Spring 2004)

"No one makes money by telling you you're fine just the way you are," points out Grace Magazine humor columnist Wendy Shanker in her manifesto for gals whose wardrobes are more likely to fit Terry Bradshaw than Carrie Bradshaw. This combination memoir/self-help guide documents Shanker's lifelong attempt to force her body to meet other people's expectations, as well as her realization that she can, in fact, be fit, fat, and foxy just the way she is.

There's a lot I can relate to in Shanker's book, from her attribution of her stature to her "shtark" (big, fat, and strong) Ashkenazi Jew genes, to the emotional turmoil she describes when facing off against those who feel entitled to weigh in on her weight. She confused me, however, with some of her work's contradictions. The book is called The Fat Girl's Guide to Life , but right off the bat she applies the word "fat" to everyone from big girls like me to her skinny friend whose boobs wouldn't grow. I appreciate the sentiment, but I guess I'm not ready to equate my experiences with those of every person who has ever felt like a physical anomaly.   I also found her invitation to "trade in self-loathing for a guilt-free Krispy Kreme" jarring when contrasted with questions like, "Do you honestly think given a choice, I would choose this body?" That being said, Shanker's humor frequently hits its mark, and her rant over Always Maximum Protection Pads, "Please Don't Fall Into My Giant Vagina," is reason alone to give her guide a try."   -- Emily Rems

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