Dear Kristan Higgins,
I wanted to write to you because all I’ve read is criticism about your unreleased book Good Luck with That. I’ve read a number of your books, I follow you on Twitter and I read your blog, so to say I’m a fan should be noted. I’ve found your books to be sensitive, I have found your Twitter account to be unapologetically political, and I’ve found your blog to be authentic.
So, I was surprised at the backlash of the synopsis of Good Luck with That. I didn’t see anything wrong with it. It clearly struck a cord, though, because there was an outcry by a number of people including authors I respect and read. But it seemed to me, as someone looking from the outside in, that the complaints had little to do with your story and much more to do with our culture.
I agree with the cultural criticism and I have a feeling you do too. The world judges us by our appearance. It is a sad, sad fact. And I know of no woman, “fat” or “thin,” who has not felt ugly, imperfect, or inadequate at some point. The thing about our culture is no matter how much I may want to reject those impossible standards of beauty, I still have that critical voice I’ve been socialized to have inside of me saying I’m not skinny enough, I’m not pretty enough, I’m not sexy enough, I’m not enough.
Your book is exactly about that feeling and I applaud you for putting yourself in the crosshairs, because reading someone else’s negative self-talk is not fun. It produces a lot of anger and resentment—I mean how dare a woman would ever be made to feel that way! But it seems like some are blaming you for writing characters that portray the sad reality of life.
I haven’t seen feedback from people who have read the book beginning to end. I’ve seen the screen shots of a few pages. And I’ve seen the negative feedback from those screen shots. People feel what they feel and they react the way they are going to react. But it seems that because a few people identify themselves as being “fat” (whatever that means), any character who is fat must react exactly the same way and so they ridicule your characters because they don’t.
I don’t know what it feels like to live in our culture overweight, but I don’t think that everyone who is of a similar weight as me reacts to things the same way I do. I can honestly say that I think there are a lot of “thin” people (whatever that means) who spend almost every minute of every day thinking about food. I, personally, have looked at my body and been disgusted by it. I’ve looked at the dips and swells and dimples of my body and thought, “when did I my body become like this?”
The sad truth, to me, is that many of us have become strangers in our own body. But the true truth, to me, is that we are enough. I am enough. And it makes me hopeful that the last line of your book’s new synopsis is that the characters “learn to embrace themselves just the way they are.” I look forward to reading your book.