THE SECRET LIVES OF FAT PEOPLE by Mildred Klingman

THE SECRET LIVES OF FAT PEOPLE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Lies fat people tell themselves and others--plus how they got to be the way they are, the strain of combining fat with sex, and other emotional aspects of being overweight. These matters have been covered more skillfully before (especially in Marcia Millman's Such a Pretty Face, 1980), but the story has an undeniable appeal even when the telling isn't first rate: the self-hatred; the tussle with scales (one woman sneaks up on her scale to surprise it); the games of parental approval by which children first learn to overeat; and, of paramount importance, the self-delusion by which the fat survive: that they do not look as fat as they are. In the final analysis, therapist Klingman--who claims that no overweight client ever revealed his or her exact weight--can only fall back on the certainties, the platitudes: fat people are fat because the payoff in overeating is greater than the potential payoff in being thin; and the situation will only reverse itself when the equation is reversed. In other words, when you want something badly enough, and it requires you to be thin, you'll lose weight. If nothing else, this goes miles (perhaps inadvertently) toward dispelling dependency on therapists et al. in weight-loss; the final solution really does rest with the individual. But as an explanation of how the extra-heavy world functions, it's only middling.

Pub Date: Sept. 10th, 1981
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin