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Fleen Book Corner: We Don’t Deserve Them

This is going to be brief, not because I don’t have lots to say, but because what I have to say is ultimately unimportant. The words you should be reading aren’t mine.

At SPX, I had the privilege to talk to Abby Howard and to tell her how much I enjoy her work. I loaded up with all of her stuff that I didn’t already own, most notably Unhealthy, a pair of autobio stories by Howard and Sarah Winifred Searle. The subtitle is Two Stories Of Mental Health And Body Image.

It’s a gut punch courtesy of two women that are willing to lay bare their relationships with their bodies and the lies that their brains tell them, lies born from our society instructing us all to hate them for their fatness. Instructions that lead to self-hatred and destructive behavior, because as we all know, anything is better than being fat.

Fat means you’re lazy. Fat means you’re stupid. Fat means you’re obviously wrong and bad and unlovable and need to be shunned so you don’t get any on the rest of us because then we would be lazy, stupid, wrong, bad, and unlovable.

That entire paragraph is bullshit.

If you never thought about it in those terms, you need to read Unhealthy. If you have thought about it in those terms because of your own body, or the bodies of those you love, you need to read Unhealthy. Every high school health class should have copies of Unhealthy next to the nutrition posters, people should be handing out copies of Unhealthy outside Weight Watchers, and it should be required reading in medical school.

Searle and Howard have sacrificed and bled¹ to be at the point in their lives where they could tell these stories, to teach us the smallest bit of what it’s like to be them. It’s equal parts cri de coeur and selfless gift and at the risk of repeating myself: We don’t deserve them.

Oh, and today is the launch day for Abby Howard’s third Earth Before Us book, Mammal Takeover! I’ll be obtaining my copy as soon as possible for review, but I’ma go out on a limb and say it’s at least as good as Dinosaur Empire! and Ocean Renegades!, which is to say excellent.

Unhealthy is available for download via or in physical form from TopatoCo.

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You’re spamming me to sell your spamming services? How very meta.

¹ And, because a certain percentage of society can’t exist without finding somebody to be cruel to, they have likely opened themselves to further hatred and harassment for daring to point out that they aren’t lazy, stupid, wrong, bad, and unlovable.

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