Xolo Score 4.75/5
In her book #veryfat #verybrave: The Fat Girl's Guide to Being #brave and Not a Dejected, Melancholy, Down-In-The-Dumps Weeping Fat Girl in a Bikini, comedian Nicole Byer serves up body positivity and radical self-love. She models over 100 bikinis and offers tips, tricks, and activities for all women who struggle to feel good in their skin.
*** SPOILERS AHEAD ***
What the book excels in doing is centering Nicole's joy. She wears over 100 different bikinis, and almost every page has a picture of her living her best unapologetic life. And she showers us with this radical self-love so that images of fat people can become "just pictures of people." And because we live in a white supremacist, patriarchal society that actively fuels and profits from our insecurities, each picture is an act of resistance. This book is overtly for anyone who has struggled with body image, but especially for fat and/or Black women. It is brave to be comfortable in your body, and she channels her rage and humor towards the industries and systems that teach us we'll never be good enough.
The best part of #veryfat #verybrave is how it incorporates humor and sarcasm to call out societal absurdities - "You're supposed to be ashamed of your body, yet here you are, existing in it. How very #brave of you." She even includes fun and serendipitous lists of activities you can do in a bikini because she can. It's a wonderfully grounded way of getting the reader in an upbeat mood to address some hurtful ways the world makes us fear our physique. But even though she maintains a jovial tone throughout most of the book, Nicole is also conscious about how her joy is often associated with promoting an "unhealthy lifestyle" because society erroneously equates being fat with being unhealthy. And she is sensitive about how this fallacy and diet culture have led to internalizing shame and pain.
Nicole Byer shuts down fatphobia with her stunning bikini photoshoot.
To what extent are there BIPOC leading characters or perspectives?
How well does the author avoid writing BIPOC experiences through the white gaze?
To what extent does the author challenge white-centered beliefs?
How well does the book explore nuances between intersectional identities?