The whale and obese characters in books

Published on 26 February 2023 at 23:54

The whale is an impressive film about an obese online teacher who literally eats himself to death. With his beautiful voice and passion for writing, he inspires his students. They only hear his voice, they do not see him because he has turned off his camera out of shame for his appearance.
I was struck by this touching man who eats away his grief over his lover's suicide with kilos of junk food.
The film is based on the play The Whale by Samuel D. Hunter.
There can be many causes for being overweight. Overweight people are often already on the heavy side by nature, they are bullied as a child, they do not feel at home in a society in which being thin is the norm and they seek comfort in (junk)food. Once overweight, it is very difficult to lose weight.
Tatjana Almuli describes in "Pretty for a fat girl, The weight of weight", her life as a fat woman and her attempts to become thinner. Eventually she takes part in the television program Obese and loses 1/3 of her body weight. This fact does not silence the unsolicited comments from people close to her and she slowly gains weight again. Finally, she decides to question the slimness standard.

In the Dutch language I could only find two other books that deal with an obese character. In The Wrong woman I described how obesity hinders Maria's love life. Maria also struggled with her sturdy body in her youth, was bullied by classmates and sought and found comfort in food.

In the exciting detective De Voeder (The Feeder) by Peter de Zwaan, the protagonist sees 'his Elisha' again after years. He recognizes her face, but “the body belonged to someone else. It was big. Massive. It filled the bed from corner to corner.” The story shows that her "feeder" provided her with food. He took pleasure in feeding a woman by making her dependent on him. When she gained weight he was sweet, when she lost weight he got angry. Elisha had also been a heavy girl and bullied a lot. That she had beautiful eyes and, despite her overweight, was once an attractive young woman in the eyes of the main character, seemed very far away.

In the English language area, there are more books about overweight young girls and women ( Only one book is about a man, a 60-year-old professor weighing between 500 and 600 pounds: It is "Heft" by Liz Moore.

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