Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Book Review: "Dietland" by Sarai Walker

Dietland Sarai Walker
Published: May 26, 2015
ISBN: 9780544373433
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Source: Personal Copy

You might enjoy this book if you like: Satirical novels, feminist novels, Where'd You Go, Bernadette?

Plum Kettle does her best not to be noticed, because when you’re fat, to be noticed is to be judged. Or mocked. Or worse. With her job answering fan mail for a popular teen girls’ magazine, she is biding her time until her weight-loss surgery. Only then can her true life as a thin person finally begin.

Then, when a mysterious woman starts following her, Plum finds herself falling down a rabbit hole and into an underground community of women who live life on their own terms. There Plum agrees to a series of challenges that force her to deal with her past, her doubts, and the real costs of becoming “beautiful.” At the same time, a dangerous guerrilla group called “Jennifer” begins to terrorize a world that mistreats women, and as Plum grapples with her personal struggles, she becomes entangled in a sinister plot. The consequences are explosive.

My Thoughts:
I've read more than a few high reviews from this book, some of which came from sources that I trust.  I've had this book sitting in my Kobo account for over a year, and I jumped with joy when it came up as a last minute selection for my book club.  In some ways--mostly tone and "feel" it reminded me of another book that my book club read last year, Maria Semple's Where'd You Go, Bernadette?

Actually, those two books share something else in common for me.  They are both books that many people enjoyed, but I did not.  I am more than willing to chalk this one up to it being "not my kind" of book.  It's not that I don't like satire--both novels are satirical--but I just don't like this kind of satire.

I did enjoy the beginning of the book, as we get to meet Plum, even though I found this part to be very par for the course for such books.  Then, well, then it sort of goes off a cliff.  I mean, there is no other word for me for what happens in this book than absolutely crazy.

I am a feminist and I do enjoy reading feminist writing, but this did not strike me as being "feminist."  It struck me as being very angry.  Even worse, I felt that any message Walker was trying to convey was lost in this anger.  I grew to despise every character in this book, especially Plum.  Honestly, I only finished it because I wanted to be able to discuss my issues with it at my book club--if I had just read this "for fun," I would have DNF'ed it halfway through.

I'm not going to recommend or not recommend this book.  Enough people enjoyed this book to convince me that this book will either work for a reader or not.  Walker's writing is strong, but some readers may not take well to the tone or the "satire" Walker attempts.

I was not solicited for this review and I received no compensation for this post.

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