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Happy Fat by Sofie Hagen - Review

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Gosh I barely know where to start with this book except to say that I loved it and found it very moving. I got an e copy on Netgalley so thank you very much to Harper Collins UK for the chance to read this book. I was given an electronic copy of this book in exchange for a review but was not otherwise compensated for this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

So I'm already a big fan of comedian Sofie Hagen. I first heard of her a few years ago and heard her talking about fatness. I too am a fat woman and am quite political about that, so a lot of what Sofie said resonated with me. I also really like her stuff about the Westlife fanfic she used to write - it's so funny, I think it's on BBC iPlayer if you want to see it. I saw her perform Dead Baby Frog last year in LEeds with my partner and BFF and met her afterwards which was really nice. So when I saw she was touring again this year I booked tickets again for the three of us.

We went to Leeds last week to see her. In the first part she did her show Bubblewrap and in the second part she talked about her book Happy Fat. She was selling it afterwards and signing it, but I couldn't justify the expense as I'm really trying to cut down on buying books. So I left without, but then thought I'd look on Netgalley to see if I could request it, and I could!

Feeling all fired up from seeing Sofie I immediately started reading it. I loved it. It's part memoir, part manifesto, part revolution. It talks about Sofie's own history with her body, and her path to self acceptance through fat acceptance and positivity. Everything is well researched and backed up with plenty of footnotes, in case you want to undertake further research of your own. There are chapters on clothes, on fat sex, on why diets don't work, and interspersed are interviews with other fat activists like Stephanie Yeboah and Kivan Bay. Sofie talks a lot about her privilege as a white woman in the book, so the interviews tend to be with people less privileged whether by race or gender or something else. I really felt like Sofie had done a good job in raising voices that may sometimes be ignored and in acknowledging her own privilege within the movement.

Now for me, as someone who has been on a journey in fat acceptance and fat activism for around a decade, there wasn't actually much that I didn't know within the book. But that doesn't mean I didn't find it really enriching, empowering, and moving. Plus just really entertaining! Sofie has a way with words that meant I skipped through the book happily. I do think that for someone stuck in a cycle of self-loathing, this would be a really useful book and would hopefully help them to see that problem isn't their body but that a lot of people are trying to make money off people loathing themselves and trying to be something that they're not. I would recommend for anyone to read it - fat or thin - and see whether they can change their mindset a little. You've nothing to lose, I promise.

I would still love a paper copy of this book, so will probably treat myself at some point. I'm giving this ten out of ten. Brilliant.


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