One of the Instagram accounts I follow that is an integral part of the body positive movement posted about this show and how she had never related more to a character as she did Plum. Luckily the series had just started and the pilot was available on my cable’s On Demand feature. I was instantly hooked even though it seemed for others that it would be a slow build up. I tried convincing my bestie to watch and he was like “eh” after the first episode, “I’m not sure I’ll stick with it.” after the second episode, and by the time he watched the third episode he asked me if I was secretly one of the writers on the show. (I WISH!) It depicted so much of the fat experience living in a diet-obsessed thin culture. Thin privilege is a REAL phenomena and I am so grateful that these conversations are FINALLY happening.

Now I know this is a blog about reading, so you might be asking why I’m talking about a tv show. After a few episodes, I was so enamored with this story that I borrowed the audio book from the library (digitally, see my previous post about library confrontations). I began listening to the book and watching the series side by side making sure to save the end of the book for day of the finale on television. This is the first time I had done something like this, digest two versions of a story in tandem. That in and of itself was an interesting experience. And of course they were different! What moves a story in each medium differs and there were valid and important aspects to both! 

This story isn’t just about a fat woman finding her voice to tell the rest of the world to f*ck off. There is a concurrent story line of a vigilante extremist feminist group that goes by the name JENNIFER. We are first introduced to Jennifer (anonymous group of women) after a series of kidnappings-They rounded up what was referred to as the “Dirty Dozen”-twelve men suspected rapists (almost assuredly guilty), murdered them and then literally dropped them from the skies. ((I’m not condoning this violence, but just want to point out how many male vigilante/superhero stories have we had to hear, so if this makes you uneasy just think about your gender-bias.)) Plum’s (the main character) relationship to Jennifer unfolds differently in each rendition which was surprising and interesting.

I recommend this story to you if you are fat, a feminist, tired of patriarchal bullshit, want a story who’s female protagonist isn’t doing it all for a male love interest, not looking for a happily ever after, are raging against the beauty industry, fed up, your name is Jennifer, or all of the above! 


7 comments on “DIETLAND”

  1. What an interesting idea to read and watch side-by-side, Daniela. Did you make a decision about which media was first based on whether you wanted to read about things or watch things first (i.e., spoilers)? Don’t know which order I’d choose. Book? I sometimes imagine characters in a book in such a specific way that it’s hard to accept someone different in a film, but you would have been “seeing” the TV series actors while reading.

    It’s always so great to see someone find a book and/or TV series that lifts her up and makes a difference in her life!


    1. I actually started watching the series first and loved it so much that I wanted to “read” the (audio)book. Without giving anything away, I learned more about the characters in the series from the book first, trying to keep it at a similar pace. But like I said the ending plays out differently anyways. I would recommend trying this technique if there is another book and short series you wanted to digest. It wouldn’t work with a movie, because those are too short.


  2. Thank you for your review of both the TV series and book. Dietland sounds like another important work that points to the complexity of so many issues and demonstrates once again that the personal is indeed the political. When the dots are connected solutions to problems become clearer, in part, because people are not isolated, but rather joined in solidarity to look at and rectify systemic injustice that goes beyond one single issue. I’m paraphrasing, but I think MLK said that the opposite of peace is not war. The opposite of peace is injustice which is at the heart of all wars.


  3. I have been busy, so need to get to the story about the library. One thing I have always considered a truth is that librarians can be your savior, i always endeavor to make friends with them when and where I can, there is much more to that tale but that is best kept in whispers or midnight laughs with strong drinks then broadcast over the internet (even in quiet book review corners such as this).
    I like the idea of reading concurrently with a show and haven’t yet done so but intend to do it in my doctoral work.
    I am not many of the things you listed above- except feminist, but that alone without my humanist slant is reason enough to read something like this except that I admit my list is already long.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Allies are important on all fronts. If more people recognized thin-privilege, maybe people my size and larger would feel more included in society. Empathy is also very important.


  4. I agree. Thin privilege is certainly a thing. At least in the academic I follow discussion is occurring. I remember attending a conference in 2009? that had a fat studies panel section. The attendees in that section far out numbered the balance of the conference.


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