Why You Should Watch “Dietland”

shadows of skinny, fat, and in between sized women

“Dietland”: The Television Series

AMC’s “Dietland” has begun. Have you caught the first two episodes?

I just watched them last night, on Demand.  And now, I’ve set the recorder to be sure that I can view the entire season.  You should, too.cupcake with sprinkles in a pink paper muffin cup

It’s somewhat unfortunate that AMC decided to begin the series in June, since viewership is typically lower in the summer.  But, thanks to today’s technology, you can view the series on your schedule.

Another benefit of flexible viewing is that you have the opportunity to read the book.  You will get more from the television series if you read the book first.  Otherwise, I think you may find some of the segues in the series to be weird and unintelligible.

You may also be confused by the episode numbering.  Episode 3 is actually the second episode.  What is called “Episode 2” is a recap of the two-hour premiere (Episode 1).

The television series is a tamer version of the novel, but it conforms to the story fairly well. The book’s author, Sarai Walker is credited as a consultant on the television series.

Following is a review of  Dietland, the book, that I wrote earlier this year.

“Dietland”: The Book

 Last year, I added Dietland, by Sarai Walker, to my “Books I Want to Read” list.  A review called it a book for teen readers. It was recommended as funny and poignant, a book about what it is like to be an obese woman trying to lose weight in a city of skinnies.

I’m not certain the reviewer actually read the whole book; the story goes way beyond the life trials of an obese young woman.  There are laugh-out-loud moments, for sure, but there are also moments that will make you want to look away. It goes to the very heart of what it is to be a woman.

In the darkest corners is where we find truth, and once we find it, we can “out” it.  That’s what our heroine, Plum, shows us. Plum is a sensitive, perplexed young woman living in Brooklyn (be prepared for language that reflects her environment).

Plum is saving for bariatric surgery.  She sees her lonely life as evidence of the persecution faced by the obese in our culture.

But, along the way, she meets women (and men) who prove that not everyone judges a book by its cover, so to speak.

Thankfully, Walker doesn’t use a broad brush to paint ALL men, or ALL skinny women as fat-haters.  In fact, her approach with the story line about Plum’s experience with Waist Watchers shows us how the mighty dollar is  behind our fat-shaming.

And, Walker has even more to say about women and culture.  Because in Dietland, even the skinnies realize that they are being kept down, out of the power positions in society.

The story is so relevant to what is happening today. Women speaking out about abuse and discrimination. Speaking out about objectification and the “old boys” network, in which some women hobnob, too.

Dietland delves into sexual violation and exploitation of females, and the story is not pretty. Walker describes pornography in graphic detail, and it is hard to read. I’m surprised someone thought to categorize it as a teen novel.  Read the book before giving it to your daughter.

You might be tempted to “look away” and skip this book or television series. This is exactly what Walker is urging us not to do. Through Plum, she tells us that, until we can reveal it in daylight and call it what it is, systemic discrimination against and abuse of women will not stop.

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Dietland Stirs the Pot

Dietland is highly critical of today’s culture and the oppression of women.

The story and its messages may offend your sensibilities.  It may offend male viewers.  But, it is definitely a story that will spark conversations about beauty, feminism, extremism, terrorism, and today’s society.

It also causes us to reflect on what it means to be healthy, fit, and happy.  Dietland suggests that we take a good, long think before we decide on an answer.

“Dietland,” the series, airs on AMC Mondays at 9 pm EST.  You can watch past episodes at AMC.com

A note on affiliate links: I checked out Dietland as an audio book from the public library.  I may buy a copy to keep or give as a gift.  If you are thinking about purchasing this book, you can click on the cover picture in this post.  I may receive a small commission from Amazon for your purchase. This commission does not increase your costs.

However, my affiliate status is not the driving force behind this post, it is incidental.  My opinions about this book are my own, and do not reflect those of the author, publisher, advertiser, or retailer. My only motivation in providing the link is to defray some of the costs of this blogging platform. Thank you! 

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