New & notable: ‘Dietland’

Sarai Walker’s debut novel, Dietland, carries the clout of Amazon’s Top Pick for Best Books in May and a June 2015 Indie Next List Pick. But don’t label it chick lit. It’s Fight Club meets fat acceptance — with a militant feminist manifesto, revenge and societal change thrown in for good measure.

“Right after I saw Fight Club, I knew I wanted to write something like that for women, but I had no idea what the novel would actually be about,” Walker says in press materials. “A few years later,...I wrote a short story about a young fat woman who works at a teen magazine....It felt riskier than anything I’d ever written. I felt exposed, but also exhilarated. I soon realized that this short story should become the foundation of the novel I’d been thinking about. My abstract idea now had a heroine and a heart.”

Drawing on her own experience working for high-profile women’s magazines, Walker drops her heroine, plump Plum Kettle, into that setting. Plum ghostwrites an advice column for a teen magazine — naturally, her persona is a thin hot girl called Kitty. Of course, Plum longs to be that way, too. She diets and dreams of transformation after her pending weight-loss surgery.

But there’s a guerrilla diet revolution going on, and Plum gets swept into it. It’s definitely food for thought.

— Celeste Williams


by Sarai Walker

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $26

Audiobook: HighBridge Co., $39; narrated by voiceover artist Tara Sands.