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Scoot Over, Skinny: The Fat Nonfiction Anthology Paperback – January 3, 2005

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Despite the obesity epidemic that plagues America, fat people remain such a reviled and marginalized group that contributor Natalie Kusz observes that they are often perceived as "invisible" by other Americans. This wonderful collection of reprints by or about overweight people—arranged by the editors of 2003’s What Are You Looking At?: The First Fat Fiction Anthology—may help to change all that. Some of its essays, like Michael Martone’s "Sympathetic Pregnancies," describe the author’s ceaseless struggle to establish a healthy and stable relationship with food; others, like Pam Houston’s "Out of Habit, I Start Apologizing," detail the author’s complicated relationship with her body. Also illuminating are the essays by writers who are not fat themselves but who entered into a relationship with an overweight person, such as Lori Gottlieb, a former anorexic who dated a 300-pound man, and Irvin Yalom, a psychoanalyst whose treatment of a 250-pound woman prompted him to evaluate his own feelings about fat people. Atul Gawande’s "The Man Who Couldn’t Stop Eating" makes it clear that losing weight and keeping it off is no easy feat: the vast majority of dieters regain "one-third to two-thirds of any weight lost within a year—and all of it within five years." One of the collection’s most disturbing entries is Sarah Fenske’s "Big Game Hunters," which records several men’s candid discussion of "hogging," or targeting fat women for casual sexual encounters. Fenske’s piece, and several others, suggest that we have a long way to go before fat people’s emotions, needs and experiences are accepted as respectfully as those of others. Perhaps this varied and often moving collection can serve as an effective catalyst in that direction.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.



"[A] singular and delightful anthology . . . Compelling in its honesty and surprising in its range."--Publishers Weekly


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Harvest Books; 1 edition (January 3, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0156030225
  • ISBN-13: 978-0156030229
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,068,201 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ira Sukrungruang is a Thai American writer born in 1976 in Oak Lawn, Illinois, a suburb just south of Chicago. He spent most of his childhood eating at McDonalds, playing Nintendo, watching kung fu movies, and writing horrendous unrequited love stories.

In 1994, by some miracle, Ira graduated from Oak Lawn Community High School and was accepted to Southern Illinois University Carbondale, where he spent the next five years jumping from major to major before choosing the writer's path. During this time, he was an undergraduate intern at Crab Orchard Review, an experience that taught him the ins and outs of literary magazine publishing.

In 1999, he wrote his way into graduate school at The Ohio State University where he received an MFA in creative nonfiction. Along the way, he married an animal-loving, environmentalist/feminist/poet/cookie maker extraordinaire, Katherine "The Great" Riegel, and co-edited, with his good friend Donna Jarrell, What Are You Looking At? The First Fat Fiction Anthology and Scoot Over, Skinny: The Fat Nonfiction Anthology. His essays, stories and poems have appeared in such magazines as North American Review, The Sun, and Creative Nonfiction. He is also the author of Talk Thai: The Adventures of Buddhist Boy, and the poetry collection, In Thailand It is Night. Now he edits The Clever Title ( and Sweet: A Literary Confection (

He taught creative nonfiction at SUNY Oswego for six years (Go Lakers!), and now teaches in the MFA program at University of South Florida (Go Bulls!). In between grading papers, he makes frequent trips to McDonalds, plays Playstation 3 and Nintendo Wii, and watches reruns of West Wing. Admittedly, since moving to a warmer climate, he is now a little addicted to disc golf.

To learn more about him, visit his website at:

Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

55 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Snowy Marigold on May 16, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A few essays in this book merit reading. Natalie Kusz's "On Being Invisible" speaks honestly about the pain of growing up fat and the way many of our relationships render us unseen. David Sedaris's "A Shiner Like a Diamond" had me laughing out loud about his sister's antics in the face of her father's fat phobia.

However, several essays offended me. In "Fat Like Him," Lori Gottlieb (recovered anorexic) writes unapoligetically about her hateful thoughts and behavior toward the fat man she met through email. She had a sexual relationship with him, but wouldn't be seen with him in public or introduce him to her friends. Sarah Fenske writes, in "Big Game Hunter," about "hogging:" a sport where men pick up fat women for sex because they are seen to be pathetic, desperate, easy.

The editors of the book say, "We are speaking out, speaking up, speaking back: Scoot over, skinny, the Fat have a few things of their own to say about obesity..." THAT'S the kind of book I wanted to read, but the inclusion of fat hating essays (by thin people) undermines the power this collection might have had.

Instead I highly recommend Shadow on a Tightrope: Writings by Women on Fat Oppression by Lisa Shoenfielder, et al, or Fat!So? by Marilyn Wann.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Linda on July 12, 2005
Format: Paperback
I picked up this book for some "light" reading but was pleasantly surprised by the range of provocative and thoughtful contributions. Some made me sad, some made me laugh and all of them had me reflecting upon my life as an overweight woman. I recommend this book to anyone, not just those of us whose weight makes it especially relevant but also those luckier ones who tend to regard us somehow inferior, or even invisible.
One comment on one of the official edition does NOT contain a piece by Bill Bryson.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By pennyhoney on January 11, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Lots of great shorts with insight on the "weight" issue faced by us Americans today. I was, as expected, disgusted by the story about "hogging." I just take that as another example of shallowness of most men. Even the ones who truly enjoyed a woman with more meat on her bones would never admit it. Fat women are just not for show. But a word to the fellows: If you do find a woman who is comfortable in her own skin, hang on to her no matter the size, she is a treasure. My favorite stories were Fat Guys Kick Ass and Fat Like Him, and also David Sedaris's story of his sister Amy in her fat suit and makeup bruises. What characters they all are! Thank goodness not everyone aspires to being "normal!" How boring would that be?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By K. Sutherland on October 28, 2007
Format: Paperback
The essays have no common thread such as self-acceptance, which one would hope for. It's analogous to an anthology on the experience of being a woman with several rabidly misogynous essays.

The most egregious example is "Fat Lady," where the psychiatrist author Irvin Yalom smugly reveals how he came to tolerate, even sympathize with a fat patient, who under his tutelage (and via liquid diet) lost 80-some pounds. His negative feelings towards fat women were most amusingly (in his view) vindicated by "Betty's" eventual revelation that, she, too, hates fat people. Well, as a previous reviewer noted, a thread of this book is "don't we all?" Uh, no.

I have news for you, Irvin. Betty has gained all the weight back and more. You therapy didn't work so well after all. But at least you're free to hate again.
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