Peck unfolds these biographical stories with a healthy sense of humor and intelligent wit exploring the themes of family, growing up, love and loss.
A gay Erma Bombeck meets A Girl Named Zippy in this delightful debut about the misadventures of a woman of size. Cheryl Peck has stories to tell--about her cats, about her family, and about what it's like to be a gay woman of size living in the heartland. There's the story of the time she hit her kid sister in the head with a rock. Then there's the time her father gave her swimming lessons--by throwing her into the water. When she came shrieking and spluttering to the surface, he said, "Good--she can swim." There are the reasons 300 pound Cheryl has become an inspirational goddess in her gym. There are universal stories about a daughter's love for her mother and father. She unfolds all these stories with a healthy sense of humor and intelligent wit in a book that reads like fiction and explores the themes of family, growing up, love, and loss. The stories in this collection are about seemingly unremarkable events that make a life--but like fat girls sitting on lawn chairs, these are events that don't let go.
From the Author
Every now and again I would go out to dinner with a big group of friends. While we ate we would swap stories about our lives, or loves and our cats. My friends would say to me, "Why don't you write your stories down?" So I tried. None of them came out quite the way I originally told them, but several of them were written to be read aloud and all of them were written to entertain.
The truth is I was a miserable child. I don't remember why any more, but I have learned a great deal about attitude along this journey. This book is the reverse of many childhood recollections: other writers have gone back to the past to uncover the ugly truths about their lives, while I have had to go back to retrieve the humor and the almost storybook "normalness" that I fought so hard against most of my life.
Queen of the Gym
It happened again this morning. I was sitting there half-naked on a bench when a fellow exerciser leaned over and said, "I just wanted to tell you--I admire you for coming here every day. You give me inspiration to keep coming myself."
"Here" is the gym. I have become an inspirational goddess. In a gym.
I grinned at the very image of it, myself: here is this woman who probably imagines herself to be overweight--or perhaps she is overweight, she is just not in my weight division--sitting on the edge of her bed in the morning, thinking to herself, "There is that woman at the gym who is twenty years older than I am and has three extra people tucked under her skin, and she manages to drag herself to the gym every day..."
It is not my goal here to be unkind to myself or to others. Perhaps I am an inspiration to her because I am easily three times her size and I take my clothes off in front of other women. Being fat and naked in front of other women is an act...
If you liked Fat Girls and Lawn Chairs, try these:
Heart in the Right Place, an alternately laugh-out-loud-funny and cry-your-eyes-out-serious memoir about the down-sizing of Carolyn Jourdan's life from white marble columns, gilded domes, and Neiman Marcus to naugahyde, peeling linoleum, and Wal-mart.
A funny and revealing collection of essays which reveal a complex and utterly recognizable character that's aiming for the stars but hits the ceiling, and the inimitable city that has helped shape who she is.
Blood at the Root
"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
- PW Starred Review
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