Fat, Pretty, and Soon to Be Old
A makeover for self and society.
Fat, Pretty, and Soon to Be Old is a moving, funny, and startlingly frank collection of personal essays about what it means to look a certain way. Or rather, certain ways. Navigating Kimberly Dark's experience of being fat since childhood--as well as queer, white-privileged, a gender-conforming "girl with a pretty face," active then disabled, and inevitably aging--each piece blends storytelling and social analysis to deftly coax readers into a deeper understanding of how appearance privilege (and stigma) function in everyday life and how the architecture of this social world constrains us. At the same time, she provides a blueprint for how each of us can build a more just social world, one interaction at a time. Includes an afterword by Health at Every Size expert, Linda Bacon.
Praise and Press
Nothing is more brilliant and juicy to me than a woman stepping fully into her self—mind, body, and spirit, full throttle, without apology. . . . Kimberly Dark has been illuminating the path for a long time. This book is a triumph. This book is a jailbreak from cultural inscriptions meant to keep us locked up, shut up, and conforming.
- Lidia Yuknavitch, author of The Chronology of Water and The Book of Joan
In Fat, Pretty, and Soon to Be Old Dark explores the real of her own stories to question the currency of beauty and appearance. What have we actually been sold? What have we bought into about our bodies? Has the exchange ever really been worth the price? In this honest and insightful collection, Kimberly Dark offers us a new story about the body, one I believe we should all buy.
- Sonya Renee Taylor, author of The Body is Not An Apology: The Power of Radical Self Love
On stage as, a performer, Kimberly Dark reminds us that the body does not have to be an abstract entity divorced from the story told about it. And now in her book ‘Fat, Pretty, and Soon to be Old’ she demonstrates how this interplay between narrative and feeling can be achieved with the written word too. She recounts everyday events as a white-privileged, fat, femme and we are called upon to witness, perhaps also to empathise or identify with, the myriad mundane ways in which the world and its fears shape what is deemed possible and desirable for us according to our ranking against social benchmarks of ok-ness. The conversational tone that draws us in camouflages the robust intellectual work that frames the stories. Linking the personal and political with theoretical integrity and without recourse to academic devices for legitimacy, the book serves as an exemplar of a liberatory teaching style. If you’re looking for a moving read that is also an important contribution to fat activism this is it.
- Lucy Aphramor, PhD, RD Co-Author of Body Respect
The latest from Kimberly Dark is exactly what you want her to deliver – it’s funny, insightful, heart-breaking, all at once – and it makes you sit back and think about the relationships you have with your own body and life. Many of the essays presented in this collection are reprints from other publications, but integrated here alongside new offerings and a snappy afterward from Lindo Bacon, they take on new life and I found myself considering them in new ways. Kimberly opens the piece calling for radical cultural change, and many of her essays do stir that within you. They also bring forth laughter and tears, anger and joy. As a white super fat cis woman, I see so many of my own experiences echoed back off the page, and I feel less alone. I’m grateful to her for being willing to share herself so honestly with us through her written and spoken word.
- Dr. Cat Pausé, Fat Studies Scholar and Fat Activist, Massey University, New Zealand
It's so so good. People talk about body and bodies all the time but not about the ways our bodies move. Up and Down. Backward and forward. This book redefines and strangely remakes the makeover.
- Kiese Laymon, author of Heavy and Long Division
Kimberly Dark is a staunch believer in the power of storytelling--as a practice for developing compassion, as a tool for self discovery and self love. These intimate essays will resonate deeply for many of us, while tenderly inviting us to consider and create new narratives about bodies, lives, families, and empathy. Dark is a sorceress here, transmogrifying tired stories about people like us--fat folks, queer folks, gender minorities, folks managing disabilities, people harmed and restrained by white supremacy--into spells for solidarity, laughter, and joyful
complexity. Dark isn't trying to sell us a reductive idea of self-acceptance as liberation, but she knows, and she shows, that re/writing the stories of our own bodies is critical to our communal struggle toward lasting social change.
- Erin Kate Ryan, author of Quantum Girl Theory
Kimberly Dark's storytelling feels like a joyful visit from a best friend, one who is happy to talk about painful things and—with shared awareness, laughter, and compassion—transmute them into empowerment and enjoyment. Her life stories track family influences, fat liberation, and the joys of embodiment. She's an excellent guide and companion for all of us who navigate personal appearance worries, weight-based hierarchies, and societal oppressions. Start reading now if you hope to feel more yourself and more able to change the world.
— Marilyn Wann, author of FAT!SO?
Fat, Pretty, and Soon to Be Old: Get Excited
Fat, Pretty, and Soon to Be Old was chosen by Autostraddle as one of "30 New Books of Queer and Feminist Interest to Get Excited About This Fall."
Take a peek at the full list of exciting books coming out this Fall.