How to Never Look Fat Again (Review)

April 21, 2010

Book cover for "How to Never Look Fat Again" by Charla Krupp.Title: How to Never Look Fat Again: Over 1000 Ways to Dress Thinner – Without Dieting!

Author: Charla Krupp

Publication Year: 2010

Pages: 264

Genre: Non-Fiction, Self-Help

Source: From the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program

I tried to like this book. Really, I did.

How to Never Look Fat Again is basically a collection of advice from Krupp and others on how to dress in a way that “hides” the physical features you have that make you “look fat”. The book is split up into sections based on “problem areas” – for example, there are sections on how to “hide” a wide face, big bosom, large hips, belly fat, etc. Krupp explains what kinds of clothes are “high fat” (makes you look bigger), “low fat” (neutral), and “no fat” (makes you look smaller) for different physical characteristics, giving lists of clothing, styles, fabrics, etc. that people with each characteristic should love – and which they should avoid at all costs. In each section, there are photographic examples of different looks and possibilities, demonstrating how simple changes can completely alter how a person looks.

Now, I read through a few sections in the book to get an idea of the advice she gives. And you know what? It’s actually rather good advice. She makes some fantastic points about different types of clothing that look good on different types of bodies, and How to Never Look Fat Again is packed absolutely full with advice  that every woman could put into use when planning their wardrobe.

My problem with this book, though, isn’t about the actual advice she’s given.

It’s about the way she approaches the topic.

As for books and magazines and TV shows predicated on looking good naked – they’re unrealistic. While it would be a dream to look good without clothes, I think that’s raising the bar too high. At this stage, I will happily settle for looking good dressed – the way I look in my normal everyday life. Are you with me?

No, actually, I’m not. Since when is it unrealistic to believe that you look good naked? That’s a ridiculous assumption. You don’t have to be a size zero to “look good naked”.

Later in the introduction, I actually started to think that Krupp was going in a direction that made sense. She was talking about how many hours celebrities spend in the gym to get the bodies they have, and how it’s unrealistic (and ridiculous) to spend all your time on a body like that:

As evolved as women are right now, isn’t it a throwback to be slaves to an unattainable, unsustainable, unrealistic body image? There is so much important work to be done on a global level and a personal level, isn’t it just a little ridiculous to let the pursuit of the perfect body consume our lives?

However, she completely ruins this with the way she approaches the rest of the book, and even with the way she writes through most of the introduction. Krupp states more than once in the introduction alone that she is a firm believer in dieting and exercising, and that every woman thinks that she looks fat, including herself. She never actually says that we’re not fat like we think we are, though. Instead, Krupp continuously tells the reader that she should work on hiding the fat, tricking other people into thinking that we’re thinner than we are.

I think this is what really bothered me the most about this book, and what made me ultimately close it and decide not to keep trying. Krupp’s attitude towards why a woman is reading this book just horrified me! I’m all for getting tips about how to look better in my clothes, and even about how to look thinner in my clothes, but why should I be continually told by the author that it really is because I’m fat, and that the best I can hope for is to hide that fact from other people? Hells no! And this is all in a book that is supposed to be about giving you tips to look (and feel) better?

Sorry, but that really bothers me. Enough to stop reading your book.

Yes, really.

Even when the practical advice you give in your book is actually useful.

(Besides – I really resent being told that it’s “unrealistic” to look good naked.)

Rating:

6 Comments

  • Amy April 21, 2010 at 5:08 pm

    Yikes. I love the quote about how it is “ridiculous to let the pursuit of the perfect body consume our lives” but then why does she continue to expound on how that is the only ideal? I would get very upset / annoyed with this book for the same reason you point out. I love that it is full of great tips and tricks but… I think that the tips and tricks should come along with positivity! There isn’t a ‘one body’ that looks great and everyone else has to mimic it. To me it is more that everyone looks great but nobody is perfect, so we dress to show our pros rather than our cons. I think we should ALL think we look good naked!

    • Carina April 22, 2010 at 10:21 am

      Exactly! The book seems really useful in terms of the ideas she gives, but I just couldn’t handle the attitude that went along with it. I shouldn’t feel ashamed of my body while reading a book about how to look great!

  • Marie April 22, 2010 at 9:17 am

    Eeep. Yeah. I’m all for dressing in flattering clothes and outfits but not because I think there’s something wrong with me, or that I’m hideous or something. Sounds like the author has some serious body-image issues of her own that she’s projecting on to her readers. A sensible diet and exercise are about being healthy, not “thin” or someone’s idea of “thin”. And dressing well is about looking your best, not “hiding” all our “flaws”.

    • Carina April 22, 2010 at 10:23 am

      It definitely seems like it! It seemed from the description to be a book about dressing our best – not about shaming the reader into wanting to look thinner because they really are fat.

  • Anysia (Booklorn on Twitter) July 6, 2010 at 1:16 am

    Just a heads up that you might want to update your link in your review at LibraryThing.

    I’ve read other books on a similar topic by a British duo that were really good, but I couldn’t like Krupp’s book either.

    • Carina July 6, 2010 at 2:02 am

      Thanks, I just fixed it! I went back and changed all those links a while ago, but seems like that one slipped through. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *