cover image Weightless: Making Space for My Resilient Body and Soul

Weightless: Making Space for My Resilient Body and Soul

Evette Dionne. Ecco, $26.99 (272p) ISBN 978-0-06-307636-5

Journalist Dionne (Lifting as We Climb) examines fatphobia in America in these sharp essays. From detailing early experiences with bullying to unpacking personal relationships and destructive beliefs, Dionne confronts the systemic prejudice against fat bodies. In “No Country for Fat Kids,” Dionne considers Weight Watchers programs for teens and Michelle Obama’s initiatives to fight childhood obesity, arguing that these well-intentioned programs ignored “how difficult it would be to help fat children gain and maintain ownership over their bodies.” In “Doctors, Get Your Shit Together,” Dionne recalls her deteriorating health as medical practitioners dismissed her symptoms of heart failure and instead prescribed weight loss as a cure-all. Later, Dionne recounts watching the 1990s sitcom Living Single and being transfixed by Queen Latifah, who played a plus-size Black magazine editor who prioritized her own desires: “Khadija was the first character I’d seen who told me I didn’t have to just accept what was offered.” Dionne also dissects her complicated fascination with the reality series My 600-lb Life, which fosters feelings of superiority: “I’m able to create distance between the fat body I inhabit and their fat bodies.” Crackling with conviction, this is an urgent call for change. Agent: Sarah Phair, Sanford J. Greenburger Assoc. (Dec.)