Saturday, January 31, 2009

Book Review: I'm Not the New Me by Wendy McClure

I'm Not the New Me was recommended to me several years ago by a friend. It was on my original To Be Read challenge book list, therefore I consider this a win for that first challenge. Sure, I didn't read it two years ago, at the time of the challenge, but it's now off my pile, so there's something to be said about that, right?

She recommended this to me as a memoir of a fat girl. She failed to mention that Wendy McClure is a fat girl with a blog. I've never actually read a memoir by a fat girl with a blog. Being one myself, it was a little jarring at first. Kind of like looking into the window of a shop and seeing your outfit on a mannequin.

What did I see? A lot of self-loathing and introspection. Did I see myself in her, though? No, not really.

The thing about being a fat girl is that I tend to base my opinions of myself in relation to how different I am to someone else. Okay, my arms are thinner than hers, I don't have a double chin like she does, oh god she's got nicer legs than me, etc. etc.

The thing is, I don't think I overly obssess about my fatness. Essentially, Wendy and I are the same person. We both work in publishing, we're both big girls, and we both write blogs. That's where the similarities stop, though. This is where I begin formulating an opinion about myself through her. Her weight is a major issue in her life. It haunts her from her earliest childhood memories and carries through into her adult life like a scale attached to her ankle.

I found myself disliking Wendy in parts of the book. Part of it is because she's so consumed by her own low self-esteem, but mostly it's because she has this successful online presence, yet she seems taken aback and suspicious of the other women who reach out to her through her website.

I realize this book is written in 2005, and a lot has changed in the mean time. The nature of the weblog itself has changed drastically and I'm sure Wendy's opinion of the community that grew around her is not nearly as negative as it once was.

But I still can't help but feel like she's really just a bit of a whiner.

Rating: Two Stars

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