You Don’t Sweat Much for a Fat Girl


How’s that for the title to a blog post?

I didn’t think of it.  It’s the title to the book I just read by the same name:  You Don’t Sweat Much for a Fat Girl, written by one of my favorite authors– who also happens to live in North Carolina– Celia Rivenbark.  She writes her books, which are a collection of essays, in such as way that they are a great blend of sarcasm, humor, and snark.  This is the 4th book of hers that I have read, and while it wasn’t my favorite of her collection (that recognition goes to her book entitled Stop Dressing Your Six-Year-Old Like a Skank), it was the perfect book to take with you to the beach or to read en route to your vacation destination or while waiting in the lobby at your dentist’s office… so long as you don’t mind being stared at for laughing out loud.

When I first started reading Celia Rivenbark’s books, I really needed to laugh.  It was early 2010, His Majesty had just been born, and I was spending hours– HOURS– sitting and nursing him.  HOURS.  Like most newborns, he occupied 90% of his waking time eating, but unlike most newborns, he occupied what little time he didn’t spend eating by crying.  If he wasn’t on the breast, he was wailing, and oh boy, it was an angry cry.  He had “colic” (or whatever they call it now, “PURPLE” crying), and we tried everything to sooth him, and finally just bucked up and endured it, and mercifully, it passed.  It was about as much fun to pass as a kidney stone, but it did pass.  If you’re dealing with a colicky newborn, hang in there, and please accept my heartfelt fist bump, Mom to Mom.  It’ll go away, and your baby will eventually act like the “normal” babies that you think all of your friends have. Anyway, I wasn’t doing a whole lot of laughing for several months after that little bundle of joy arrived.  To pass the time while he nursed, I started reading, and I’m not talking about Brown Bear or Dr. Seuss.  I started reading something that *I* wanted to read.  And somehow, I ended up with a copy of one of Celia’s books, and that’s what I started out reading.

And I pretty much instantly began laughing again.  So, during the next several weeks, while I racked up hours upon hours of chair time with His Majesty, I plowed through 3 of her books.  And I loved every one of them.  I loved them so much, that I wrote her fan mail.  Seriously.  I emailed her and told her that her books had livened up my endless breastfeeding sessions and brought a smile to my face when I thought that even my facial muscles were suffering from exhaustion.  I may have even said that if she lived closer to me, I’d try to force her to be my BFF… And do you know what?!  She wasn’t even freaked out by my fawning over her, and she actually wrote me back!  Her email was totally friendly and funny, and it made me love her books all the more.

She writes the kind of books that make you want to read them out loud to your husband, or your friends, or someone who can laugh with you– someone other than a 2 month old baby who doesn’t share in your gut splitting amusement.  They are just too funny not to share.  She’s raw, and walks the edge, and doesn’t sugar coat things.  She uses some profanity, and she’s no holds barred in that she is an equal opportunity offender, and not only is her family not exempt from being included in her books, she makes fun of herself.  Often.  Hence the title of the book.  She’s often the butt of her own jokes, and I love that about her.  She pokes fun at mostly pop culture trends and headlines, most of which are out of the proverbial spotlight faster than you can say “There goes their five minutes of fame”, and while many of the topics were no longer socially relevant by the time this book went to print, they are nonetheless fun to laugh about, even after the fact.


I can pretty much guarantee you’ll enjoy Celia’s book if you:

–  Loathe being asked for every bit of your personal identifying information, just short of a DNA sample, to check out at Sephora.

–  Have ever been accosted by salespeople running live infomercials at the mall kiosks.

–  Get a kick out of science fair parents, or, as I like to call them, “Parents who base their own self worth on their children’s achievements”.

–  Find that the word “asshat” describes so many, many people in an incredibly profound way, but without being terribly vile.

–  Think that politics, and government agencies, are always fair game for satire, if not only because if you don’t allow yourself to laugh at the travesty that defines our collective elected officials across all party lines, you would surely have to lock yourselves in your room and give in to permanent depression and social exile.

–  Can’t help but at least pause when you come across another trash reality TV show when flipping through channels.

–  Appreciate Southern recipes (she tosses some of her family’s tried and true goodies in each book at the end of a few chapters).

–  Would absolutely and without a doubt click a yahoo article headline telling about someone being cited for shaving while driving.

–  Own a Snuggie… and use it.

This book is an easy read.  The chapters are short, giving you have lots of logical stopping points if you get distracted by your husband, or your kids, or your bladder, and when you are able to come back to it later, you won’t have to reread pages to catch back up (although, if you enjoy it as much as I did, you’ll want to, simply to get a few extra laughs).   It will make you laugh.  It may even make you snort.  And I’m pretty sure you’ll want to go out and grab another one of her books when you’re finished.  You won’t want to be done with Celia Rivenbark.






2 responses »

  1. You write the best reviews! And she should be writing you because you can really send a person’s egoo into outerspace. Or condemn it to hell. But she’s flying high from your comments, so let’s forget I said the other thing. Great work!

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