Memoir Book Review: Kim Brittingham’s Read My Hips, Reviewed by Janice Tatarka

by Matilda Butler on June 8, 2011

catnav-book-raves-active-3Post #86 – Women’s Memoirs, Book & Video Raves – Kendra Bonnett and Matilda Butler

Memoir Book Review of Read My Hips:
How I Learned To Love My Body, Ditch Dieting, and Live Large

by Kim Brittingham

Reviewed by Janice Tatarka

In her first memoir, writer and essayist Kim Brittingham shares her lifelong journey to overcome her self-deprecation due to body size. Read My Hips: How I Learned to Love My Body, Ditch Dieting, and Live Large
is a funny and candid account of Kim’s battle with mass issues.

At the age of five, Kim’s life changed drastically when her mother remarried. At that time, her mother and new step-father moved, taking Kim away from her beloved grandmother. Wrapping her loving arms around the folds of her grandmother’s belly brought about the security and peace that the young Kim yearned for.

The grownup Brittingham began a quest for self-acceptance in a world where skinny is considered commonplace and fat is undesirable. Brittingham had spent many years filled with self-loathing and self-hated. All the while, she was seeking to find herself — a person with genuine inner beauty.

Brittingham received widespread national attention, including a Today show interview, when she conducted a social experiment in New York City. Noticing how people reacted to her, she created a mock book cover Fat is Contagious: How Sitting Next to a Fat Person Can Make YOU Fat, wrapped it securely around a book and sat reading it as she routinely made her way around the city on public transportation. She soon found that people did indeed seem to prefer to stand rather than sit next to a fat person. She covers the details in one of the chapters in her memoir.

I also grew up plus size in an era where weight issues where considered taboo and I found my life woven through the threads of Brittingham’s reflective words. Sharing the same painful struggles as the writer, I instantly meshed with the peaks and valleys of her years of unquenchable thirst to just fit in. But even if you are of the skinny persuasion, you’ll find much here to consider. It will give you insights and understanding into the feelings and issues of someone who boldly says, “Read my hips.”

Kim Brittingham is a brilliant writer. Her story will touch the lives of every woman, young or old who has been sandbagged by the media’s pressure of thin is beautiful and fat is gross. In a world where girls will go to any magnitude to socially fit in we see the disparity of eating disorders, cutting, self-loathing, yo-yo dieting, and bullying, periodically accompanied by death.

Brittingham’s memoir is orchestrated with humor, candidness, and a renewed spirit of self-acceptance. Her story drives home the importance of believing in oneself, regardless of what the Victoria Secret fashion model world communicates as acceptable. Kim’s book derives a new sense of a new-found freedom. One that is now void of a lifetime of self-doubt because of her thick calves and pear-shape body. As the voice of Brittingham echo’s “I live more often from the inside out”

Other memoir writers, struggling with developing a platform, will appreciate Brittingham’s acknowledgements. She writes, “I am immensely grateful to everyone who ever read one of my blogs or essays online and took the time to send an appreciative e-mail. Your kind words and encouragement were this dreamer’s gasoline.” So yes, it takes time to blog and to write articles for online publication. However, you do begin to build an audience. And while they don’t all leave you a comment on your blog or send you an email, you’ll know that for the few that do, there are many more who appreciate your writing. Building your audience is important to developing readers for your memoir.

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About Janice Tatarka: I am a new blogger EPIC Tales of YesterYear, a member of Chesapeake Bay Writer’s Club and currently writing my memoir The Mighty Hercules…A Fat Lady Sings. My new website Writings and Photography by Janice Tatarka should be up and running soon

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Because many memoir writers are interested in making a book trailer, Kendra and I thought we’d share Kim Brittingham’s video that is posted on YouTube. There are so many ways to make book trailers. It helps to view as many as possible so that you can begin to think about your approach.

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