Limited By Body Habitus is a searing and honest memoir that made me reconsider everything I thought I knew about the “obesity epidemic” in the United States. Jennifer Renee Blevins masterfully brings together cultural criticism, hard numbers and her own family’s story to reveal the extent to which the obesity epidemic continues to be manufactured and misunderstood. This is no manifesto, however. Blevins takes herself to task, too, and readers are left with a poignant memoir about a father who becomes a best friend, a family that is forever altered by a medical crisis, and a daughter who wonders if, as Blevins writes: “our bodies remember what we do to them.”
Limited By Body Habitus: An American Fat Story offers a sobering journey into America’s obsession with dieting and our outsized fear of the hazards of “obesity.” In her beautifully crafted memoir, Jennifer Renee Blevins shares the story of her own struggles with body image, and her father’s medical horror story, with a clear-eyed fury.
—DINTY W. MOORE
Jennifer Renee Blevins’s debut memoir, Limited by Body Habitus: An American Fat Story, sheds light on her experiences living with the emotional and psychological struggles of taking up space in a fat-phobic world. Bringing together experiences of personal and national trauma, Blevins adeptly weaves the tale of her father’s gastric bypass surgery and subsequent prolonged health crisis with the environmental catastrophe of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Blevins looks to each of these events as a “leak” of American society’s pitfalls and shortcomings. These intertwined narratives, both disasters that could have been avoided, reveal points of failure in our systems of healthcare and environmental conservation.