Don’t Watch Insatiable; Read These Books With Fat Main Characters Instead


Hi everyone! I’m sure that everyone has probably heard about the upcoming Netflix show Insatiable by now, and how incredibly hurtful it is to fat people like myself. I’m not here to write an essay on why the show is so hurtful because there are a lot of articles on that already (summary: putting thin actors in fat suits is never okay, and having a character lose a lot of weight in a very unhealthy manner just so she can get the confidence to get revenge is also not okay).

No, I’m here to provide you with a list of books that feature fat characters, that are written by fat authors, that aren’t fatphobic and are a lot of fun, so you can read these instead of watching the show!

Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy – When Willowdean’s crush likes her back and she starts to doubt herself, she decides to enter into a beauty pageant with other unlikely candidates.
The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli – Molly Peskin-Suso has had 26 crushes that were all unrequited, until she meets the super cute and nerdy Will.
If the Dress Fits by Carla de Guzman – The incredibly cute vet Max plays Martha’s fake boyfriend after her perfect cousin announces her wedding. (I didn’t love the rep.)
The Seafarer’s Kiss by Julia Ember – An f/f retelling of The Little Mermaid with Norse Mythology.

The Summer of Jordi Perez by Amy Spalding – Jordi Perez has a plus-size fashion blog and starts interning at her favorite fashion store, where she meets a very cute girl.
Puddin by Julie Murphy – The mean girl and the way-too-nice girl form an unlikely friendship after the mean girl trashes the gym where the nice girl works, and has to work there for some time.
To Be Honest by Maggie Ann Martin – Savannah has to deal with being the sole-focus of her diet-pressuring mom after her sister leaves for college. Features amazing friendships, journalism and a super cute romance.
Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli – A sequel to Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda following Leah during her senior year. Features a cute f/f romance.

I first intended to only add books to this list that I’ve read myself, because I don’t like recommending books that I haven’t read, especially when it comes to posts like this. But then I noticed how incredibly white this list was, so I send out a tweet asking for books with fat PoC main characters and here are (some of) the books that Twitter people recommended:

Gabi, a Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero
Piecing Me Together by Renée Watson
So Sweet by Rebekah Weatherspoon
The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory
Final Draft by Riley Redgate
From Scratch by Katrina Jackson
Wanna Bet? by Talia Hibbert
A Girl Like Her by Talia Hibbert
Learning Curves by Ceillie Simkiss
The Princess Trap by Talia Hibbert

You could also check out the wocinromance database, Corey Alexander’s blog post or the replies to this tweet to find more recommendations.

I really hope you’ll pick up one of these books, and if you do, please let me know what you thought of it!

Some Thoughts on the Bookish Community and Loneliness

Twitter InstagramGoodreads

35 gedachtes over “Don’t Watch Insatiable; Read These Books With Fat Main Characters Instead

  1. shelfishforbooks zegt:

    I love this post! ❤️ And it’s really inspiring to see you call yourself out, and then take the steps to make the suggestions more inclusive!!! I don’t know that I would necessarily realise if I needed to fix this on one of my own posts 😁 I’m so glad I never actually watched it – it was handled terribly and has so many terrible messages

    Geliked door 1 persoon

  2. shelfishforbooks zegt:

    sorry, my comment must have been pretty confusing!! I’m ashamed to say I’ve only read Leah On The Offbeat, from that list -but I’m on the lookout for Final Draft, Puddin, Dumplin and To Be Honest!! Another book you could add to this is: The Earth, My Butt And Other Big Round Things by Carolyn Macker. I just finished reading it not too long ago, and I loved it!

    Geliked door 1 persoon

  3. Marie zegt:

    This is such a wonderful post, Laura, thank you so much for sharing all of these amazing recommendations ❤ I am really impatient to read The Summer of Jordi Perez and The Upside of Unrequited, both of these sound amazing 😀

    Geliked door 1 persoon

  4. Ilsen Leon zegt:

    I love the Upside of Unrequited! It’s such a sweet book! I liked Leah on the Offbeat but I had issues! I hope to read some of these because a lot of them are on my TBR! Thank you for the recs!

    Geliked door 1 persoon

  5. Kimberly zegt:

    After seeing the reaction people have had with Insatiable (which I myself agree with in terms of seeing it as harmful!) I’m so happy to see this blog post. I recently picked up The Upside of Unrequited and have had my eyes on Final Draft. I can’t wait to see what I think of them once I read them both!

    Geliked door 1 persoon

  6. Sofia @ BookishWanderess zegt:

    This is an amazing post, Laura!!! 💗 I have read and really liked some of the books on your list: The Summer of Jordi Perez, The Wedding Date and If The Dress Fits are all really great recommendations. I really need to read The Upside of Unrequited, Dumplin’ and Piecing me Together.

    Geliked door 1 persoon

  7. Sumedha zegt:

    I heard about Instatiable and honestly, was so hurt. But I didn’t even hear about it until someone was talking about the problems, so I managed to put it off my mind.
    Now, I was obsessed with Kdramas for a while. The obsession has gone down but I still look forward to watching some later. I saw a clip of a Kdrama called “My ID is Gangnam Beauty” and I thought maybe it has a confident girl or something. I watched it, liked it. I watched more clips and then I found that it has severe fat-shaming. The girl stops eating and runs and loses weight but still is seen as “ugly”. Then what she does? Gets plastic surgery and now everyone thinks she’s pretty af. I’m fine with her getting surgery because let her do what she wants but I hated that afterwards everyone literally calls her “the pretty one”. Oh and the boy, who was in high school with her the whole time and was super sought-after, only notices her in college and then the romance starts. Nope. Bye. I was so damn disappointed.

    Thanks for the recs! I added a few to my TBR.

    Geliked door 1 persoon

  8. kozbisa zegt:

    I read 8 of the books up there, and really enjoyed them. I LOVED Julie Murphy’s books, and Mille was just such a doll. I enjoyed To Be Honest a lot too. Savannah was wonderful and I liked the way the author took on those extreme weight loss shows.


  9. Surply zegt:

    Hey Laura! This is the first time I’m reading a blog post of yours and it kinda impressed me, both in a negative and positive way. On the latter note, I thank you for suggesting so many good books that positively discuss and face the “fat matter”. I didn’t know a few of them, once I clear my tbr I will definitely give a look back at your list and add something new to my wishlist:)
    Despite the good occasion to list a pretty extensive director of nice and positive readings related to the body positivity, I fear you didn’t really get the real intentions and meanings of the series you highly advised against. You are not the only one, I saw tens of people who shared the same hate for Insatiable on the internet, but I would like to show you the reasons why the hate you give is actually generated by a big huge misunderstanding. I’m not sure about it, but the impression you gave through your words is that you didn’t even watch the tv series, but based your opinion on what the others said online. Unfortunately, many of them either based their thoughts on the trailer, or they are not professional reviewers who have never studied representation and characterisation in media (nowadays you need a degree to professionally review, and those studies are more complicated than what they seem).
    I entirely watched the tv series and I won’t hide I truly loved it: if you analyse it and watch it with a critical eye, you’d understand it is just genius. First of all, this is not a teen drama which aims to teach a lesson: it’s not on the same page of “Thirteen Reasons Why”, Insatiable is pretty much the opposite. Insatiable is a SATIRE, and being the satire politically incorrect, exaggerated and extreme by its definition, there is no wonder why this tv series appears to be this way. The objective is to showcase all the flaws of the American society in a quiche and extreme way, making black humour its most powerful weapon. Patty and its eating disorder are NOT the centres of everything, Insatiable has a bigger goal and touches a myriad of other topics. The weight loss (happened in a pretty surreal and ironical way) is just an expedient to “start a talk” on all the problems they want to explore.
    Many criticised the fact Patty is usually called “Fatty Patty”, but who are the ones who do it? ONLY THE NEGATIVE CHARACTERS. There is a rule in the representation studies: if negative words and actions are told and taken by a negative character, that is the mean by which the series wants to condemn that specific attitude and depict it as bad. And it makes sense because the audience generally empathizes with the positive characters and takes them as an example. If you watched the series, you would see that the tv series took the party of the “bullied side” and denounced the schools and the way they deal with bullying: without doing any major spoiler, at some point Patty will be accused of bullying and she will be required to make a public apology. Ironical and absurd, if we consider that until not long time ago she was the victim and no institution took her part. In that occasion, the tv series makes an accusation against the unfair system, but not in an emotional way. The short emotional scene is in fact immediately destroyed by an abrupt and crazy reaction of the protagonist, and the reason lays in the nature of Insatiable: it is the purest of satires. The series doesn’t care to move feelings, but only minds through laughs and strong scenes. Not everyone likes satire’s hotly worded ways to depict and criticize society: this is totally acceptable and understandable, it’s all about tastes. The problem with the bad reviews is another: they completely misunderstood the tv series because they uniquely relied on the surface without making the effort to dig inside. If they only watched the series with the necessary attention, they would have definitely noticed the huge amount of positive message. One of them all? Patty is not able to accept and love her new body, showing that weight loss is pointless without a necessary psychological therapy. Patty is not simply fat, she has a serious eating disorder due to her family condition and insecurities accumulated in the years together with the extra pounds. The tv series digs inside of it, showing the audience that being fat is not simply about being greedy, it’s not something you solve by stopping eating, because eating an excessive amount of food is a way to protect yourself and find comfort when you feel lonely, as Patty explicitly says and shows in a heart-breaking scene.
    Lastly, I wanted to specify a final thing: Patty, despite being the protagonist, IS NOT A POSITIVE CHARACTER! She is ultimately negative, incapable to control her rage and emotions, revengeful, egoist and violent. She doesn’t transform into a “monster” when she loses weight, she has always been that way: after all, who would ever give a punch, so hard to break a nose, just because you don’t want to give up on a snack bar? She isn’t sane from the very start, she just sets her bad side completely free when she finally becomes slim because she finally feels entitled to do it and, more importantly, she feels a support she never had in the past.

    Sorry for this very long message, I hope you found it useful in any way ^-^ In case you have questions, ask me!:)


      • Surply zegt:

        The writer, Claire Dodson, is not a reviewer by her profession. She is a journalist, who mainly focuses on shaing news related to the entertainment: this doesn’t make her a reviewer who can exploit her previous knowledge to make a good and professional statement through a methodic analysis, she is an opinionist like anyone else. This means her words have no professional fundament but are subjective thoughts and opinion on the specific matter. Plus, Teen Vogue is definitely not a magazine specialized in cinema and tv series, not the best option to read a serious review.

        By this I don’t mean that what Dodson says is not worth, it’s simply opinable because she doesn’t have the proper educational background, she simply shared her thoughts on the tv series. She is free to express her opinion, but in no way her words can be taken as a gospel.
        We must be active and think with our minds, so before judging something through the others’ opinion, we must be making our own by experiencing that something directly 🙂


      • Green Tea & Paperbacks zegt:

        I’m sorry but the whole “you have to watch it yourself to have your opinion on it” is really not a good thing. I’m a fat person. This show has the potential to really hurt me and hate my body again, something I’ve struggled a lot with. Watching it isn’t worth it. It really isn’t. And I really don’t care enough about the series enough to go into a lengthy debate about it right now. Besides, from what I’ve seen on your blog you seem thin and it seems a bit weird for a thin person to police the way fat people feel about fat representation.


      • Surply zegt:

        I am not thin but overweight, and have always been ever since I was 5 years old. There were times I lost weight (pushed and supported by those who love me), others when I regained the same exact amount. Last time was quite recent: I spent 8 months on a strict diet until July 2017, successfully losing 13kg, and I gained pretty much everything ever since then. So no, I’m not a “thin person who judges”, because I’m part of the community. Everyone has a different background so what makes me upset may have not the same effect on you, but this is not the matter. I have never tried to tell or force you to feel one way or the other, I have never judged your feelings, and I am sorry in case you perceived it that way. My intention was just to share my knowledge and show you the other side of the medal, and hopefully give you a reason to evaluate again something you were biased about, that you could have probably liked since it doesn’t treat the topic with superficiality and in the ordinary, banal way. But okay, I’ve learnt my lesson: I should stop giving not required opinions, next time I’ll just take a step back ^-^’

        Then again, sorry for upsetting you! It wasn’t my intention 😦


      • Green Tea & Paperbacks zegt:

        I’m sorry I judged you wrongly and I’m glad you didn’t mean to upset me. But the show is upsetting to me. We almost never get to see fat protagonists in shows, and when we do, they’re bad people. It’s incredibly tiring, and I want to see a change in that. I want to see a show for once in which I can see someone with my body who’s a good person. Who good things happen to. Just like we see in most shows with skinny characters. That’s why I made this post, to share a list of books that fat people can read to feel good about their bodies for once.


      • Surply zegt:

        And as I have already said, I truly apreciated it! I had never seen before someone publishing on a blog such an extensive list of books with fat character, and I thanked you for that highlighting my intention to go back to your post in the future and take note of the next readings to do once I finish the ones in program 🙂 But what I meant with the “negative note” is that I didn’t consider as fair judging a series by its facade, without even watching it, especially if that series treats that same topic so dear to me, to you and to thousands of other people in a pretty innovative way 🙂 The series is far to be perfect, as every single other tv series out there, but it has loads of innovaties and positive aspects! So I just wanted to prove wrong some of the criticisms I read around the internet and attempted to show that not all is as bad as it seems, that there was some misunderstings.

        On the point you expressed in the last comment, I definitely agree with you, I’m sick of stereotypes and lack of representation of so many communities that society wants to perceive as “minority” and hide through medias. I hate it as well, whenever the heroins are always the thin characters and whenever there is a fat one, it is always depticted as “the fat one who has to improve herself”, not the one who is already happy with herself and has another kind of adventure which is not strictly linked to her body. I totally agree on this discussion.


Geef een reactie

Vul je gegevens in of klik op een icoon om in te loggen. logo

Je reageert onder je account. Log uit /  Bijwerken )


Je reageert onder je Twitter account. Log uit /  Bijwerken )

Facebook foto

Je reageert onder je Facebook account. Log uit /  Bijwerken )

Verbinden met %s