Here it is, the full review of Curvy Girls: Erotica For Women, compiled by Rachel Kramer Bussel. The first part of my review, first impressions , etc can be found at previous entries at their respective links.
The writing is pretty good. It's evocative (if a bit repetative, but such is the nature of the beast) and enjoyable. There are few if any awkward phrases that can throw the reader out of the fantasy, and the grammer and spelling are well edited. If there were problems with a Bussel anthology before, they are not in this collection.
As covered in the first part of my review, the first half of Curvy Girls let me down. Was it sexy as hell? Yes. Did it accomplish the goal of highlighting the journeys fat women take towards self-acceptance and body love? No, not even close. However, that being said, the second half of the book killed it-Here were the women I had been looking for in the first half, women self-conscious and doubting, women who were feeling the sting of being teased and put down due to their size, and women who learned, or began to learn, a different way of thinking about themselves. If some of these stories had been interspersed with the hotter offerings at the beginnings I would have been happier, especially as the introduction specifically promises that these tales are the heart of the collection.
There was one story in particular in the second half that really hit home for me, titled In The Early Morning Light by Kristina Wright. In it we meet a new mother fighting exhaustion and a changed body thanks to a c-section, as well as her own body's needs and that of her husband and new baby boy. Been there! It was sweetly and compassionately done, and I tip my hat to Wright for this contribution.
In the second half are also two more lesbian pairings, but as far as I can tell, no more women of colour or very fat women. A 16? Is the average size of a Canadian woman. An XL shirt? Is still easily found in most straight size clothing stores. How do I know this? I'm an average sized Canadian fat woman and this is my every-day reality. Thin privilege, I still haz it, as do these curvy, generous, voluptuous, etc women in the anthology. Some of them are not the typical Marilyn Monroe shape, instead are apples or pears, but they aren't shopping at Torrid or Penningtons.
Curvy Girls-Erotica for Women gets three and a half stars out of five from me. It's a fun read, nicely put together and well written, but lacks the kind of content I was led to believe it really wanted to showcase. With a more diverse cast it could be even more fun and inclusive, not to mention sexy.
As Fat Grad pointed out, there's nothing stopping us from writing our own stories, so I encourage you to visit Friday's post-Call for Submissions.