The Issue With Weight

AAR has a column up discussing the weight issue in romances. As I was reading the column I remembered a book I had read where the heroine was not exactly obsessed with her weight (if I recall correctly) but she eventually lost the excess weight by the end of the book and I felt that was a cop out. Can you guess the book?

Scratch that – there may be quite a few titles out there with that type of ending. I am a reader who doesn’t care to read about characters obsessing over their flaws. I like characters to transcend their insecurities and be changed for the better because of love that is unconditional–from family or a committed relationship. I thought Justine Davis did a good job with her book, A Whole Lot of Love. The plot of the book didn’t necessarily focus on the heroine’s weight. However, with Jude Deveraux’s book Three Wishes, the heroine uses her last wish to be thin. I am disappointed in endings such as this.

I am a reader who reads for character and that means going beyond the physical. I avoid books where the plot seems to focus on weight even when it shouldn’t even be an issue. I recognize that women have insecurities but I don’t want to read about them; I prefer to see them do something about it or move on with their life. Fiction can be inspiring sometimes and I feel that most books out there don’t inspire much. Has there been a book or character who made you look at yourself or your life differently? Or inspire you to make a change for the better? There are such books out there but they are few and far between.

So my stand on weight issue is this: I go out of my way to avoid such novels when it’s the main focus or contrivance in a romance novel. I find it insulting.  Not everybody can be a size zero. Where I come from, it’s good to have some meat on your bones rather than walk around looking like a skeleton. Anyway, interesting article. Check it out here .

How do you feel when the author has the heroine lose weight for the sake of love? Are you put off with flawed (define that as you will) characters? One of the biggest reasons why I love Laura Kinsale is because almost all of her characters are flawed but they find love regardless of their defect and the reader is left feeling that the two are committed unconditionally. 

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13 Responses to The Issue With Weight

  1. name CindyS says:

    I have to go read the column yet but I did want to comment. Yeah, what a surprise 😉

    I have decided to stop reading books where the heroine is dealing with her weight. I actually have a book in the TBR pile that I think starts with the heroine being big and then her hero is her trainer. Uh, no thanks. I thought I could handle it but I haven’t touched the book.

    I wish I remembered the name of another book where the heroine was so worried about her weight that even I, a big woman, was all, get over your freakin’ self!

    I like flawed characters because perfect is highly uninteresting. All the same, I don’t need to read a characters obsessive thoughts about her weight. Course, I’m also not found of the ‘most gorgeous woman’ the world has ever seen either. I prefer that the characters find each other beautiful as they fall in love.

    CindyS

  2. Bev (BB) says:

    I’ve read several where the heroine’s weight is an issue to her but not an issue for the hero. Lori Foster has several but my favorite of hers is Too Much Tempation. I think that’s the right title. Eve Bryon has a really good Regency with an Amazon sized heroine who’s always had to deal with comments about her size but the hero literally doesn’t see it as a problem. Well, carrying her over the threshold almost does him in but he’s determined. 😀 Can’t think of the name of that one, though.

  3. Avid Reader says:

    I prefer imperfect to perfect characters any day of the week, Cindy. I like ambiguous characters as well but a woman with weight issues? Oh, hell no. Don’t want to read about it.

    Bev, you need to find the title to that book! Also, I love books where the hero is completely oblivous about his looks. Roberta Gellis wrote a novel like that called Fortune’s Bride. Really good historical. I need to do a review of it.

  4. May says:

    The issue here is that some writers appear to think that having the heroine harp on and on about their weight is characterization.

  5. Bev (BB) says:

    Just for you, I looked it up – Only in My Dreams by Eve Byron. It’s actually the first in a group of spin-offs, true spin-offs I think because they’re spaced a year or so apart, that also includes My Lord Stranger & My Lord Destiny. None of them have “perfect” heroines, if I remember correctly. I actually read and loved MLS first – best friend’s reunion story.

    As to Foster, one of the reasons I keep coming back to her books in spite of her over-the-top heroes at times is that she usually features “normal” heroines in the sense that they almost always have, em, healthy curves and their heroes are almost attracted to them in part because of that. I’ll put up with a lot of other faults in a story for that. 😉

  6. Avid Reader says:

    The issue here is that some writers appear to think that having the heroine harp on and on about their weight is characterization.

    Rarely do I view it as such but I went in a different direction from the article which is that I don’t care to read about it period.

  7. Avid Reader says:

    Bev, thanks for looking up those titles for me. I’ll look for them.

  8. May says:

    I apologize, Keishon, but what I meant was that I’ve read too many ‘fat chick books’ in which the author mistakes that for characterization, which has turned me off such books in general.

  9. Avid Reader says:

    OMG. No need to apologize May. I think we’re saying the same thing and thanks to the Internet it seems that I was on the defensive which I’m not. I love to read input whether we agree or disagree. My posts may come off defensive or on the attack when it’s not really. I just don’t do smiiley faces, that’s all. 🙂

    ::slinking away::

  10. Kristie(J) says:

    I’ve read a few with heroines with weight issues. Of all of them, the Justine Davis book is the best. I hated, hated, hated the He Loves Lucy book that Cindy mentions. In the first chapter we see Lucy choking on a candy and the hero giving her the heimleck (or however you spell it) manuver and he can’t get his arms around her and she is humiliated and the whole thing is played for laughs. I shouldn’t even have read that far, but I kept going and disliked the whole thing anyway. And yea, read the Devereaux book too and again didn’t like it. In the future I’m going to stay away from that kind of book.

  11. Avid Reader says:

    I revisited the AAR site and Loved what you had to say on the issue of obesity. It’s not an easy solution and I was absolutely stunned by what many people have said over there. Stunned. Speechless.

  12. Kristie(J) says:

    I haven’t been there for a few days – not since they started personally bashing a certain poster. Debate this poster on what he/she said yes – but to name call and make fun of names on a public forum – no way – not for me. And I think that’s such a shame it started happening because it IS such a widespread and personal issue. And there is such a complete lack of understanding and prejudice amongst those who have never had to deal with it.

  13. Avid Reader says:

    Well, KristieJ, there’s a reason why I rarely visit AAR much anymore. I couldn’t honestly read all the comments as everybody has an opinion. I completely disagree with Dick and even if society is to blame for his ass backward thinking, who is willing to stand up and say it’s wrong and who’s willing to change it?

    Off to read my book. I really don’t need to read stuff these days that have the potential to raise my blood pressure.

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