I’M NOT THE NEW ME by Wendy McClure


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The premise: Every reader has a fat-girl story.

Narrator and newcomer McClure (and children’s-book editor), with her corny fat-girl anecdotes, recognizes she’s just about as heavy as she can get when she steps on a scale at a “lesbian garage sale” and tests its accuracy. The scale hits 230 pounds and Wendy decides to buy it: “I liked that it was a lesbian scale and that it wouldn’t make patriarchal judgments about my weight.” She’s just gotten back from a junket to Las Vegas as a part-time writer for the Web site Television Without Pity, and her colleagues send her pictures of herself at karaoke night at Tong’s Palace: “I’m showing quarters I didn’t even really know I had.” It’s time to check in to Weight Watchers (“Dieting fat girls are always kind of like superheroes”). Indeed, she starts her own Web site, poundy.com, chronicling her herculean bout with losing and regaining weight, and she does become a hero for many obese women who write her in despair and relief. Most touching are glimpses of her mother, a sympathetic presence at over 300 pounds, who had her stomach stapled during Wendy’s childhood years, leading to frequent vomiting when she overate. Between Wendy’s day job (reading princess-story manuscripts), visiting the gym and tallying her dwindling weight, Wendy also begins to meet men, such as the nutty guy at the bar who tells her he would really go for her if she lost 30 pounds (why 30 pounds? “He says it so often I begin to wonder if he has a secret knowledge”), and the formerly overweight Nathan who delights in wearing her size 20 Lane Bryant jeans. Wendy and her chums are all in the same boat, rooting each other on with slogans: strength, power, confidence, joy. Landing a book agent seems an incongruous denouement to Wendy’s saga, since in the end she craves acceptance, not change.

Bridget Jones–style endearing self-deprecation.

Pub Date: April 26th, 2005
ISBN: 1-59448-074-5
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Riverhead
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 2005