You might just as well give up right now, don’t even think about it, don’t seek any remedies; retreat back into your hole, under your stone, and regret everything. Look at it this way: you’re over thirty; you have one or two children who take up all of your time; that baby-fat is there to stay; shopping for clothes has you looking for the tent department. All the pretty little things dive out of your way, for fear of injury, when you hit the dance floor and every single chair you settle down into squeezes your thighs together into a pork roast waiting for the oven, while the chair itself lets out a deep, unsettling groan. The world is made for skinny people, people who can wear skinny jeans, drink skinny drinks, eat skinny meals and, above all, fit in skinny sizes from Top Shop. Life is filled with running after the children, checking the mirror for another wrinkle, cakes and pastries and that latest diet to try to lose one, maybe even two of those extra pounds. The world is no longer made for those sporting a Rubens figure, society and fashion are thin.
For some this opening paragraph is a fact of life, they are faced with the restrictions of their added weight, those few extra pounds about the waist, every single day. Bathroom scales are a thing of the past, an enemy. Shopping is a torture of beautiful fashion, made too small. Public transport is the hope of a double seat. Some people, it is fair to say, allow society to dictate how they should look, how they should feel, and whether they should be happy with themselves as they are. The Curvy Girls Club is something else again: a small group of four who decide that there must be more to life than constant dieting, worrying about their weight, sitting on the sidelines and watching everyone else have all the fun. It is time for a change, they decide, and what better way but to break with social conventions and set up their own club for the larger woman – and one or two men.
Photo Credit: scomedy – Creative Commons
Michele Gorman’s latest work is, indeed, a feel-good work, a story of a small group of people who not only wish for something, but go out and grab it, grab life by the horns and make it work. They see that there is a need for something new, something which captures the imagination, the needs, of other women who, like them, are slightly larger than the social norm. At the same time it is hardly something which just works: Gorman’s writing is true to life, covering all the pitfalls, the arguments, the mistakes of life as the story flows across the page. The humor is something every single reader – skinny or plump – can appreciate, from the comic one-liner through to the biting, the heart-wrenching jokes about weight, fashion, even everyday work. We are shown lives governed by the acceptance of the skinny as being ideal, as being better – and the predominance of male governance in the workplace – as well as the difficulties of everyday life away from a desk and telephone. We live the arguments, appreciate the reality, sigh and laugh with the characters in each new situation. But for the grace of God, and those tempting cakes on the dessert trolley, go we.
Whilst this book is filled with humor, it also brings a massive slice of reality with it: the restrictions within the workplace; in a theater; a restaurant. What we take for granted in our everyday lives is an obstacle for some, without them needing to be disabled in any way, they are still labeled, pushed into a pigeonhole and condemned, simply because of their size. At the same time this reality is not pushed on the reader, we come to see it almost subconsciously, recognizing the truth of our lives and what we see, experience all the time, against the reality other people live through. Daily realities which some of us, sad to say, promote and support.
Amusing, light and refreshing, Michele Gorman’s The Curvy Girls Club is a good and most enjoyable read, even for those not yet thinking about that first child, career prospects after childbirth, desserts or the problems of settling, permanent baby fat or the future after that sumptuous thirtieth birthday party.
Published by Avon Books. ISBN: 978 0 00 758562 5
- Viktoria Michaelis.