9 Inspirational Body Positive Books for Overweight Women

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As a redheaded kid, I was already ecstatic to find ginger characters in books. As I grew up, I realized that most minorities are actually totally ignored in books! For example, “fat people” are even less well-represented. While the precedence of plus-size blogs and columns has grown, if you want to sit down and read a good book – you probably won’t be finding a fat heroine inside. Whether you’re looking for non-fiction books or young adult books with fat heroines you, like me, will probably be excited to find someone your size in the main role!

Because there are so few, it’s typically big news when a “fat person biography” is released. Luckily for us, this makes it fairly easy to track down the few good books that exist. There are several new and awesome books out there written by and for overweight readers (actually, anyone could and should read them!!!). To that end, I’ve compiled this list of inspirational, body-positive literature, and a few fiction books with overweight leading ladies! Snuggle up and enjoy!

Body Positive Books to Read if you Struggle with your Size

body positive books with fat heroines
Reading has always been my favorite escape

Before we get to the books however, let’s have a quick note about human insecurities. I have them. You have them. Everyone has them. While some people are still able to function at a high level, feeling body-positive as an overweight individual (and especially a woman) can be a real struggle. These books are all written by big women, with awesome messages about acceptance, self-love, and being your true self. If you need some extra help learning to love and accept yourself how you are, we have a blog post about that too. Now let’s get to the books!

Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman by Lindy West

  • English (Publication Language)
  • Hachette Books (Publisher)

If you follow “fat culture” you’ve probably heard of Lindy West. She is ferociously witty and outspoken, often tackling topics as varied as pop culture, social justice, and body image. Shrill is comprised of a series of essays that bravely share her life, including her transition from quiet to feminist-out-loud, coming of age in a popular culture that is hostile to women (especially fat, funny women), and how keeping quiet is not an option for any of us.

Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay

Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body
  • Hardcover Book
  • English (Publication Language)
  • Harper (Publisher)

Author of several inspiring essays and a long-standing Tumblr blog, Roxane Gay has written with intimacy and sensitivity about food and body, using her own emotional and psychological struggles as a means of exploring our shared anxieties over pleasure, consumption, appearance, and health. In Hunger, she explores her past – including the devastating act of violence that acted as a turning point in her young life – and brings listeners along on her journey to understand and ultimately save herself.

The Not So Subtle Art of Being a Fat Girl: Loving the Skin You’re In by Tess Holliday

The Not So Subtle Art of Being A Fat Girl: Loving the Skin You're In
  • Hardcover Book
  • English (Publication Language)
  • Weldon Owen (Publisher)

Plus-­size supermodel Tess Holliday’s passionate plea for modern women, whoever they are, is to be comfortable in their own skin. In her first book, she shares her powerful personal story and offers inspiration and tips to women everywhere that will help them not merely survive, but thrive and chart their own course to acceptance, power, and true beauty. If you’re on the demure side, you might give this one a pass. However, if you’re ready to take the world by storm, love your own skin, and being your own fat heroine then pick this one up!

Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls: A Handbook for Unapologetic Living by Jes Baker

Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls: A Handbook for Unapologetic Living
  • Seal Press CA
  • English (Publication Language)
  • Seal Press (Publisher)

Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls is a manifesto and call to arms for women of all sizes and ages. With smart and sassy eloquence, veteran blogger Jes M. Baker calls on women to be proud of their bodies, fight against fat-shaming, and embrace a body-positive worldview to change public perceptions and help women maintain mental health.

Landwhale: On Turning Insults Into Nicknames, Why Body Image Is Hard, and How Diets Can Kiss My A** by Jes Baker

From the same awesome author as the previous book (Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls)Landwhale is a deeply personal glimpse at life as a fat woman today – but it’s also a reflection of the unforgiving ways our culture still treats fatness, all with Jes’ biting voice as the guide.

Best Fiction Books with Fat Heroines

There are so many people in the world that can be classified as overweight, but “fat people” are still shockingly underrepresented (particularly in positive roles) in media and in pop culture. Fortunately, the tides are slowly turning towards better representation! If you’re more in the mood for fiction, there are some amazing reads out there that feature overweight protagonists. These are mostly YA reads, but are rated highly by older readers as well.

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor & Park
  • Eleanor & Park
  • Hardcover Book
  • English (Publication Language)
  • St. Martin's Griffin (Publisher)

Set over the course of one school year in 1986, this is the story of two star-crossed misfits-smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love-and just how hard it pulled you under.

The Summer of Jordi Perez (And the Best Burger in Los Angeles) by Amy Spalding

The Summer of Jordi Perez (And the Best Burger in Los Angeles)
  • Hardcover Book
  • English (Publication Language)
  • Sky Pony (Publisher)

Seventeen, fashion-obsessed, and gay, Abby Ives has always been content playing the sidekick in other people’s lives. While her friends and sister have plunged headfirst into the world of dating and romances, Abby’s been happy to focus on her plus-size style blog and her dreams of taking the fashion industry by storm. Can Abby find a way to reconcile her positive yet private sense of self with the image others have of her?

Fat Girl on a Plane by Kelly deVos

Fat Girl on a Plane
  • Hardcover Book
  • English (Publication Language)
  • Harlequin Teen (Publisher)

Cookie Vonn is fat. And while she doesn’t want her weight to rule her life, she’s interested in fashion design. And in fashion, size is everything. Her dreams of getting out of Scottsdale, attending Parsons, an elite fashion design school, and becoming a fashion designer for women of all sizes might not work out if she can’t lose the weight.

To Be Honest by Maggie Ann Martin

To Be Honest
  • Hardcover Book
  • English (Publication Language)
  • Swoon Reads (Publisher)

To Be Honest is another sharp, witty novel from Maggie Ann Martin, about a spunky heroine who is dealing with very real issues—body image, parental pressure, loneliness, first love, and finding your way—with heart and humor.

While there are many more books out there targeted at fat women (most of them simply telling you how to become a skinny woman…) this is enough to get you going! I hope you are able to get into a good book from this list and remember that, no matter how bad a day you’re having, you’re not alone. Have an amazing day!

inspirational body positive books with fat heroines

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