A weighty issue

I grabbed a sneaky forty minutes in a Costa today. I was on a mercy mission for my poorly little boy and big boy who were at home on the sofa watching Bob the Builder. The urge to write what has been on my mind overtook my mothering instinct so I played hooky and got out the notebook.

I had to start writing some of the back story for my lead female character because she seems to be sitting in a cottage in the middle of nowhere for no reason at the moment. It may not make the final cut but I know for a fact that she has a weight problem. She may be active and outdoorsy in the current scenes I have written but I just don’t buy that she would not have a problem with food just like so many women I know who spend their lives trying to serve others.

It occurred to me so few characters are written with a weight problem in modern fiction despite overweight women being ubiquitous in society. In Girl on The Train (which I have finally found time to read!) she does mention it, it is a side effect of Rachel’s alcoholism. Unlike Bridget Jones, where weight has become a central facet of her personality and subsequently the central focus of conversations about the film, I don’t remember seeing Emily Blunt talk about having to gain weight to play Rachel. I wonder then whether avoiding this weighty issue we are shying away from reality. One thought, it could be a challenge in setting a novel in the real, the here and now – are we thinking ahead to filming? or are we wanting to provide psychological flaws that remain hidden and don’t show so easily on the outside?

I would love to know if there are any novels I should be reading where a female character is just arbitrarily overweight, you know, like in real life…







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