As Roxane Gay notes in her discussion of The Help,
Writing across race (or gender, sexuality, and disability) is complicated. Sometimes, it is downright messy. There is ample evidence that it is quite difficult to get difference right, to avoid cultural appropriation, reinscribing stereotypes, revising or minimizing history, or demeaning and trivializing difference or otherness. As writers we are always asking ourselves, “How do I get it right?”
Very fat characters can be hard to write authentically as well. To this day I haven’t seen What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, because I just don’t want to have to process it.
So I was pleased that I could enjoy Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s short story The Case Of The Vanishing Boy (free at the moment on her site). The main character weighs about 400lbs, but that is not all we are told about this character. It affects some interactions — especially anything that could be seen as romantic — but not others.
I’ve seen Kris Rusch in person a few times at cons over the years and I wouldn’t pick “fat” as a descriptor. She also wrote across gender in this story.
What fat characters have you enjoyed lately?
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