When it comes to recommendations, you expect me to suggest movies (you still need to see “Lilting”, “Bridegroom”,”Weekend”, and “Mr. Holmes”), music (“Deja Vu” by Giorgio Moroder, “Communion” by Years & Years, and “Emotion” by Carly Rae Jepsen were tops last year), or television shows (loving “The Man In The High Castle” and “Quantico” while I wait for my regulars to return.)
Last year, I even suggested a couple of books — the incredible “The Girl on the Train” by Paula Hawkins and “Day Four” by Sarah Lotz — both debut novels.
Normally, I read non-fiction books, autobiographies, and biographies. Since it’s an election year, I’m going to devour political books this year and I’m starting off with “It Takes A Village” by Hillary Rodham Clinton.
However, thanks to “Entertainment Weekly”, I had to get one more book in before polluting my mind with politics.
It named “Dietland” by Sarai Walker as one of the ten best books of 2015.
And, I totally agree. I devoured the stellar 307-page novel like Plum would choke down greasy cheeseburgers, cupcakes, and homemade lady fingers.
Okay, I need to back up because there’s also Alicia and we definitely can’t forget Jennifer!
“Dietland” is centered around Plum, a reclusive woman from California, now living in New York City and working for a fashion magazine catering to women. Actually, her job, that allows her to work at home or from the cafe she frequents, is to answer emails from young women that think they’re writing to the editor of the magazine, Kitty, for advice.
And, she’s likely not working from the Austen Media Tower high rise in Manhattan because she doesn’t fit the editor’s or the magazine’s ideal woman mold — Plum is very overweight, clocking in at over 300 pounds.
Although she’s tried dieting and weight loss programs since she was young, her weight keeps going up.
She feels her only alternative is to have gastric bypass surgery. That’ll allow “Alicia” (her given birth name and the skinny woman deep down inside her overweight body) a chance to shine — a chance to live life, wear fun clothes, date, and fall in love. Those are the things that Plum feels she’ll never have.
One day, she realizes that she’s being followed. This eventually leads to a confrontation with the person tailing her and Plum meeting other people including a woman with ties to a weight loss program Plum tried and failed at when she was younger.
In the meantime, a series of high profile events involving men suspected of rape, domestic violence, and other acts against women — directly or indirectly — are starting and gaining national and international attention.
These are not court cases. No, I’m talking about men being dropped from a plane to their deaths in the desert and much more.
But, who’s doing this?
Is Jennifer the mastermind behind the series of attacks on men and the media that objectify women. Is Jennifer an alias of one of the main characters or an underground group? And, how long will it take before she starts a whole revolution of women lashing out at men and institutions that demean them with unrealistic expectations?
And, then the big question is how does this all tie into Plum and her aversion to saying the one word, the f-word, that she’s never been able to say about herself — that’s she fat!
“Dietland” is a stellar debut novel from Sarai (pronounced sa-RAY) Walker and I can’t wait to see what she comes out with next.
Walker has mastered what it feels like to be an outsider. An outsider that learns if you love yourself, it doesn’t matter what other small-minded people think — since killing them is still against the law!
In a perfect world and if Hollywood took real chances, this book would be optioned for a movie — like five minutes ago!