The Power of Juno 

Local writer's parody of the self-help genre celebrates full-grown women

Local writer's parody of the self-help genre celebrates full-grown women

There's a lot of money to be made on women's insecurities. Self-help books are ubiquitous, covering everything from how to diet, to how to date, to how to diet and date and fix that small co-dependency problem at the same time.

With The Big Girl's Guide to Life: A Plus-Sized Jaunt Through a Body-Obsessed World (Ladybug Publishing, 160 pp., $14.95), local author Bunkie Lynn has written a very funny send-up of the armchair therapist canon. Dedicated to Big Girls everywhere—women "who are Junoesque in stature, be it height or weight"—the book offers chapters with such titles as "Food & Its Procurement" and "Exercise & Its Avoidance." Subjects include family members who think it helpful to give diet books at Christmas and weight loss administrators who go by the name of Satan's Accursed Handmaiden. Ultimately, it's not the weight that Lynn finds so humorous, but, as she said in a recent telephone interview, "the process and the trials you go through to reach your goals."

Her Big Girl Secret Tips or list of fashion do's may be satiric, but there's a genuine self-help truth behind each one. After 44 years as a Big Girl who's tried every diet there is, Lynn says she finally realized that there's a difference between being healthy and being a size 2: "I've got to be fit and I've got to lose weight, but I've [also] got to stop obsessing about trying to fit an ideal that...I can probably never attain. I'm never going to be a toothpick."

Lynn has a keen wit, and her language is vivid, full of snappy one-liners. The Big Girl's Guide to Life is certainly a parody, but it's one that can appeal to women of all sizes. "Most women at some time in their life have had weight-loss issues, but all women deal with hormones and childbirth or dating and menopause," Lynn says. "You've got to find your center as a woman and say, 'OK, this is who I am.' Then live your life and stop being miserable and stop trying to please everybody else."

It's this idea that goes beyond the jokes and witty repartee and carries the book, making it more than just a parody. In the self-help world of Bunkie Lynn and the Big Girls, "You may never be a size 2, but you can embrace who you are and try to figure out what it is you want in this world. Then get off your duff and go for it, whether it's a hot fudge sundae or a six-pack of abs."

The author reads at Davis-Kidd Booksellers,1 p.m. April 3.

—Lacey Galbraith

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