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July 27, 2007

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Sandy Schaffer

Great article Peggy. Beautifully written and so well researched. I would love to post this article on my NY NAAFA site.

Kate Harding

Peggy, I adore you for this entire post, but especially for rounding up outrageous quotes from the mainstream articles. I wanted to do that but don't have time today!

Cynthia

I've taken to calling this contagious obesity theory the cooties philosphy of fatness.

Susan Stinson

Hi Peggy. That's a great analysis. I linked to it here, along with some information about a call for people's stories in support of the proposed Massachusetts law against discrimination based on size. If you'd like to help spread the word -- or have stories of your own -- that would be great.

And how very, very cool that you've recently read Venus of Chalk!

stef

I blogged this post here. Excerpt:
The main thing that's different about this particular story is that the hatred and fear are being openly voiced, by mainstream supposedly objective news media, as advice. The hatred is usually more couched in pseudo-concern or "too bad, but this is the way it is" language, but here fat people are being portrayed as actual enemies of thinness to be actively defended against, rather than as victims or losers.

Peggy Elam, Ph.D.

My apologies for the delay in publishing these comments -- I left town to attend a family wedding shortly after writing the blog post, and just returned home this afternoon. Didn't have email/online access in the interim.

Thanks for the positive comments. (Susan, I loved VENUS OF CHALK!)

D.B.A., I hurriedly published all comments before reading them, and only afterward read yours and felt it to be inappropriately supportive of the NEJM study and weight loss as well as condescending to fat people. (If you were being sarcastic, I apologize -- that wasn't apparent in my quick read.) I didn't see a way to edit your post after I'd published it, so I deleted it. There is enough of that already on the web. I won't have it here.

James Fowler

Hi Dr. Elam,

Thanks very much for your work in fighting discrimination. I read your article with great interest and I very much appreciate the effort to counteract media coverage that plays on stereotypes. However, I feel compelled to respond to some of the criticisms that have been raised.

1) For the record, I am a big fan of Mark Twain and I know the quote about statistics. It is certainly possible to use statistics to cherry-pick conclusions. That's why I'm extraordinarily careful whenever I study a problem to conduct several different kinds of analyses on the same data. I encourage your readers not only to read the paper but to examine the supplementary information. We literally sliced this data 1000 ways and got the same conclusions every time, which we report in the paper. And this data will soon be available to other scholars who wish to study the social network in the Framingham Heart Study.

2) You say that we assume that weight loss is always healthy, but this is not true. In fact, in the press conference we held on monday before the article was published, there was a discussion specifically about Bulimia in which I note that weight gain may actually be the healthy behavior and weight loss the unhealthy behavior--so it depends on context. Given the strong evidence for both the increase of obesity and its linkage to disability, especially in older Americans, we thought readers of NEJM (especially doctors) would most likely be concerned with weight gain, so we mainly described our results in those terms. However, we also noted that our results apply to the spread of weight loss, as well.

3) On the issue of correlation vs. causation, I think you are missing an important and unique element in the study. We showed that these correlations are directional -- if Joe names Ahmad as a friend and Ahmad gains weight, then Joe will also gain weight. But the reverse is not true -- Ahmad is unaffected by Joe. The same holds true for losing weight. If it were just some sort of association through shared experience, the effect would be equally strong in both directions. But it's not. Thus, unlike the typical observational study, we have evidence that influence is flowing causally from one person to another.

4) On the issue of men vs. women in same sex relationships, if you'll notice in the statistical models, the difference between men and women is not statistically meaningful. In other words, we can't be sure that males have a greater impact on each other than females have on each other. If it were an election, we'd say "it's too close to call." As a result, the standard procedure is to rely on the pooled results for both men and women. We presented these results separately to demonstrate that pooling was appropriate, and that it made sense to talk generically about same sex friendships of either gender.

5) You are certainly welcome to your opinions, and I emphasize that I appreciate the effort to reduce discrimination, but I'm not sure what purpose personal attacks serve (unless I misunderstand the meaning of p.o.s.).

6) On the issue of contagion, we actually point out in the article that the fact that neighbors have no effect and the fact that the effect is not reduced by distance between friends means that a recent theory that obesity is spread via a pathogen is unsupported. What we are talking about is the spread of ideas about behaviors between one's closest friends. The media way over-generalized the result in many cases and gave the impression that physical proximity to a person was sufficient to generate the effect, which was false.

7) I spent the whole week trying to combat the "dump your fat friends argument." For instance, I noted over and over again that the social support literature tells us every friend makes you healthier, regardless of whether or not they are obese. I also emphasized that our study said nothing about what happens when we change friends -- only what happens when our current friends change weight.

8) On the issue of using data "not intended for that purpose", I urge you to search for "framingham obesity" in Google Scholar. There have been dozens of studies of obesity using the Framingham Heart Study data, from the 1960s to today. We created the social network data for our study from previously unused information, but Lisa Berkman has also used surveys on social support in the Framingham data to study the effect of friends on health (Berkman's seminal work contributed a lot to our knowledge that additional friends make us healthier).

9) Finally, on a personal note, six of my closest family members are obese (or were obese before they passed away). One of them has just been diagnosed with type II diabetes at 33 years of age. So, like you, I have a very personal interest (I think you might call it a conflict of interest) in obesity. For the sake of my family, it would be nice if we understood the relationship between health and obesity better, and I very much hope that your work and my work brings us closer to that understanding.

All my best,
james fowler
ucsd

fatfu

"3) On the issue of correlation vs. causation, I think you are missing an important and unique element in the study. We showed that these correlations are directional -- if Joe names Ahmad as a friend and Ahmad gains weight, then Joe will also gain weight. But the reverse is not true -- Ahmad is unaffected by Joe. The same holds true for losing weight. If it were just some sort of association through shared experience, the effect would be equally strong in both directions. But it's not. Thus, unlike the typical observational study, we have evidence that influence is flowing causally from one person to another.

Dr. Fowler, with all due respect you did *not* show that it's directional. The difference between the two sets of friends was not statistically significant. It bothers me that you keep claiming this - since the idea of directionality underlies your entire hypothesis.

Sandy

Fatfu is right. Not only did this study use problematic data never intended to be used to study social relationships, an extremely problematic computer model that made a multitude of flawed clinical assumptions, but its weak hazard ratios would not be considered tenable for these types of studies (and just as likely due to chance, random error or a thousand other things). Sadly, the null findings were not reported as such. I looked at the most significant logical fallacies (correlation and directionality) in the post above, "Cats and email." Hope it helps.

Peggy Elam, Ph.D.

Dr. Fowler, I appreciate your efforts to counteract the media misrepresentation and hyping of your study. My bachelor's degree is in journalism and English, and I was a newspaper journalist for several years before going to grad school in clinical psychology, so I am particularly concerned by the way this and other research is reported in the media.

I did not intend the "p.o.s." comment to personally attack you or your co-author, but rather the study itself. However, I can see how you would take it personally, just as many fat people across the country have taken the study and its reporting personally, and for that I apologize. I probably would have chosen another term had I not been writing in the heat of my and others' emotional response to the study and its reports. As it was, I still have enough of my Southern Baptist upbringing that I wouldn't spell the term out. :-)

I am very sorry to hear about the health problems and deaths of people close to you who are or were fat. I can understand how that could fuel your concern about weight. However, I wonder if you have considered that family and social concern (even judgement and disapproval) about weight/fatness can itself contribute to unhealthy shame and isolation?

I still think focus on weight itself, rather than on healthy behaviors, is misguided -- in large part because of the negative effect fat stigma, prejudice and discrimination (which are reinforced/encouraged by "obesity prevention" campaigns and the like) can have on emotional and physical health. And also, of course, because weight-loss dieting (even disguised as "lifestyle changes") not only doesn't work in the long run, but has actually been shown to cause harm. (I refer you to Linda Bacon and colleagues' study comparing a Health At Every Size approach to a traditional weight-loss approach for "obese" middle-aged women, published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association a couple of years ago.) Glenn Gaesser, J. Eric Oliver and Gina Kolata also provide a good review of decades of research on dieting & weight in their books "Big Fat Lies: The Truth About Your Weight and Your Health," "Fat Politics," and "Rethinking Thin: The New Science of Weight Loss and the Myths and Realities of Dieting," respectively.

I've found that many fat people with Type II diabetes, especially women, react to weight-loss-related food restriction with dieting-related bingeing, body shame and despair that does them no good. Whereas simply focusing on regular exercise and good nutrition (and stress reduction and other factors) can get their diabetes under control without much -- or any -- weight loss, and in some cases even without medication.

S Sanders, MA

Great article!!!! I have also done a deconstruction of this study which I put on Daily Kos. I will just put the link here:

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2007/7/28/84516/3178

I have been posted this everywhere to combat the media hype and have met with many favorable responses. Anyone who wishes may reproduce it in any form.

UNBELIEVABLE that Fowler thinks he proved causation. Dr Christakis e-mailed me back and also provided the same "we have fat family" song and dance. If they really cared about this issue, they would admit their study has limitations! And if they think they proved causation, they need to go back to research 101!

The comments to this entry are closed.

Pearlsong Press books

  • Mary Saracino: Heretics: A Love Story

    Mary Saracino: Heretics: A Love Story
    In the 1480S, twin sister healers in a remote village in the mountainous Barbagia region of Sardinia encounter a heretic-obsessed Spanish priest.

  • Frannie Zellman, Ed.: Fat Poets Speak 2: Living and Loving Fatly

    Frannie Zellman, Ed.: Fat Poets Speak 2: Living and Loving Fatly
    The poets embrace their lives as fat women in a thin-loving culture, writing with gusto, passion and yearning about navigating different, sometimes dangerous worlds.

  • Pat Ballard: ASAP Nanny

    Pat Ballard: ASAP Nanny
    This nine-chapter novella from the Queen of Rubenesque Romances also contains the first chapters of all of Pat Ballard's previous books.

  • Leslie Moise: Judith

    Leslie Moise: Judith
    In the ancient Middle East a pious, wealthy young widow risks her life to save her town from a besieging army in this novel based on the apocryphal Book of Judith.

  • Frannie Zellman: Fatland: The Early Days

    Frannie Zellman: Fatland: The Early Days
    Vol II of The FatLand Trilogy reveals a hidden history -- & the bravery, determination & treachery of FatLand's founders.

  • Lonie McMichael: Acceptable Prejudice?: Fat, Rhetoric and Social Justice

    Lonie McMichael: Acceptable Prejudice?: Fat, Rhetoric and Social Justice
    Explores the explosion of fat prejudice & the experiences of fat people in American society. "Fat Acceptance 101."

  • Lynne Murray: A Ton of Trouble

    Lynne Murray: A Ton of Trouble
    In Book 4 of the Josephine Fuller mystery series Jo grapples with murder in the California wine country, a gun-toting would-be charity client & plus-size porn.

  • Judy Bagshaw: Kiss Me, Nate!

    Judy Bagshaw: Kiss Me, Nate!
    In a small Canadian town romance blossoms between a BBW schoolteacher and coach during a community theater retelling of The Taming of the Shrew.

  • Bonnie Shapbell: Hiking the Pack Line: Moving From Grief To A Joyful Life

    Bonnie Shapbell: Hiking the Pack Line: Moving From Grief To A Joyful Life
    A widow's practical advice and workbook for re-creating a nourishing life after devastating loss.

  • Lynne Murray: At Large

    Lynne Murray: At Large
    The 3rd book in the Josephine Fuller mystery series finds Jo a suspect in the death of the woman who broke up her marriage.

  • Tracey L. Thompson: Fatropolis

    Tracey L. Thompson: Fatropolis
    Most of her life Jenny has felt she's not good enough, not attractive enough, because she's fat. Then one day she stumbles through a portal between a world that values thinness and one that values roundness. Sometimes falling can wake you up.

  • Louise Mathewson: A Life Interrupted: Living with Brain Injury

    Louise Mathewson: A Life Interrupted: Living with Brain Injury
    A collection of poems chronicling the author's recovery from a brain damaging car accident, with a list of journaling therapy writing prompts and other resources she found helpful in transcending trauma.

  • Lonie McMichael, Ph.D.: Talking Fat: Health vs. Persuasion in the War on Our Bodies

    Lonie McMichael, Ph.D.: Talking Fat: Health vs. Persuasion in the War on Our Bodies
    The "war on obesity" has increased profits for those perpetuating its rhetoric while increasing prejudice & decreasing health in the very people targeted for "help."

  • Michele Tamaren & Michael Wittner: ExtraOrdinary: An End of Life Story Without End

    Michele Tamaren & Michael Wittner: ExtraOrdinary: An End of Life Story Without End
    "In this deeply moving & inspiring account, Tamaren & Wittner share the life story of a man close to their hearts....Readers can expect tears to flow as Herman's life inspires them to be better." Publishers Weekly

  • Leslie Moïse: Love is the Thread: A Knitting Friendship

    Leslie Moïse: Love is the Thread: A Knitting Friendship
    Sustained by the metaphor of knitting, Love is the Thread traces the way one spiritual friendship can change all our relationships. The memoir centers on the friendship between a woman snared in a lifelong struggle with bipolar disorder and another woman reweaving her life after an abusive relationship.

  • Lynne Murray: The Falstaff Vampire Files

    Lynne Murray: The Falstaff Vampire Files
    Sir John Falstaff is undead & misbehaving in San Francisco. Kris Marlowe doesn't believe in vampires, but when she's attacked by a horde of murderous monsters she must seek help from the most famous rogue in history.

  • Lynne Murray: Larger Than Death

    Lynne Murray: Larger Than Death
    Meet Josephine Fuller, a sleuth of size who doesn't apologize. Full-figured & full of attitude with abundant sleuthing skills, Jo takes time off from her new job and walks into a murder case. Her best friend and early role model, a plus-sized clothing designer, lies slain in her own apartment. Was she the victim of a serial killer who targets voluptuous women, or is the murder personal? In the first of a series being brought back to print -- & ebook -- Jo copes with her friend's murder, an unexpected romance and bizarre neighbors as she races to find the killer before becoming the next victim.

  • Lauri J Owen: Blowing Embers

    Lauri J Owen: Blowing Embers
    Book 2 of The Embers Series (sequel to Fallen Embers) continues the saga of Kiera, transported to an alternate Alaska in which those who have the power to control the elements -- now including Kiera -- have ruled over those who cannot, including the shapeshifting indigenous peoples. The Fairbanks slaves struggle to maintain their newly won freedom, which is threatened by a force that will also shatter Kiera's heart.

  • Pat Ballard: Dangerous Love

    Pat Ballard: Dangerous Love
    New romantic suspense from the Queen of Rubenesque Romances! Ava Manning saw some research she wasn't supposed to, and now someone wants her dead. As if that isn't complicating her life enough, she has to deal with charming LAPD detective Ricky Don McKinzie....

  • Karen Blomain: The Season of Lost Children

    Karen Blomain: The Season of Lost Children
    In a small college town in Pennsylvania the lives of a bigamist's wife, a Polish orphan, an ex-priest and his wife -- a former nun -- and a mute teenage runaway intersect.

  • Charlie Lovett: The Fat Lady Sings

    Charlie Lovett: The Fat Lady Sings
    Young Adult fiction. Sassy, irreverent Aggie Stockdale should have gotten the lead in her high school play. But she isn't just a talented actress, writer, and athlete. She's also the fattest girl in the senior class.

  • Ellen Frankel: Syd Arthur

    Ellen Frankel: Syd Arthur
    Love, Laughter & Enlightenment! A middle-aged Jewish woman is soon in over her chakras as her spiritual search takes her from yoga studio to meditation hall to ashram gift store to the pages of Zensational catalogue. Her Mah Jongg group insists it's merely a midlife crisis. But nothing's going to stop Syd's journey toward Nirvana -- not even the hottest sale at Nordstrom's.

  • Lauri J Owen: Fallen Embers

    Lauri J Owen: Fallen Embers
    Kiera and her nephew are transported to an alternate, feudal Alaska during a strange dog's attack. The icy land is ruled by decadent mages who have enslaved the shapechanging, indigenous peoples. Kiera soon finds herself fighting -- and, to her astonishment, summoning fire. Before she can find her way home she must learn about the local systems of magic and her own powers. Kiera's path leads her deeper into Alaska, to romance, joy and heartbreak. Choosing to follow her heart may cost her everything.

  • Lynne Murray: Bride of the Living Dead

    Lynne Murray: Bride of the Living Dead
    Big, beautiful & rebellious, indie film critic Daria MacClellan is most comfortable in a monster movie poster T-shirt & blue jeans. Yet when family drama hijacks her engagement, she's trapped into a formal wedding with her perfectionist, anorexic sister, Sky, planning the whole thing. Daria adores her fiance, but her wedding seems to be spiraling into a horror film. Will the spectre of a picture perfect wedding turn her into the Bride of the Living Dead?

  • Rebecca Brock: The Giving Season

    Rebecca Brock: The Giving Season
    To have the life she's always dreamed of, Jessy must fight her insecurity and learn how to let Michael -- and his family -- love her just as she is.

  • Rebecca Fox & William Sherman: Measure By Measure

    Rebecca Fox & William Sherman: Measure By Measure
    A robust, comic romance fleshing out the truth about soap opera: It's not just for the rich and slender. Taken from the online cyber-serial, it's a Tales of the City for the fat and fabulous.

  • Kathy Barron, Anne S. Kaplan, Corinna Makris, Lesleigh J. Owen & Frannie Zellman: Fat Poets Speak: Voices of the Fat Poets' Society

    Kathy Barron, Anne S. Kaplan, Corinna Makris, Lesleigh J. Owen & Frannie Zellman: Fat Poets Speak: Voices of the Fat Poets' Society
    Smart, sassy, sensual and soulful -- five fat women share the poetry and process of fat embodiment. The Fat Poets' Society was born during a poetry workshop at the 2006 annual NAAFA convention. The poets are donating their royalties to NAAFA.

  • Frannie Zellman: FatLand

    Frannie Zellman: FatLand
    In the near future the Pro-Health Laws of the United States of America have become so oppressive that people seeking freedom over their bodies have established a new country. In FatLand, life is good and scales are forbidden. Free from the hatred and discrimination of the Other Side, FatLanders have built happy, productive lives. But not everyone is flourishing.

  • Pat Ballard: 10 Steps to Loving Your Body (No Matter What Size You Are)

    Pat Ballard: 10 Steps to Loving Your Body (No Matter What Size You Are)
    The Queen of Rubenesque Romances shares the steps she created -- and used -- to heal the damage of years of dieting. Join her in celebrating size diversity, self esteem, positive body image, and health at every size.

  • Charlie Lovett: The Program

    Charlie Lovett: The Program
    A new weight loss clinic in New York City has an offer for you -- given them $5,000 and they'll make you as thin as a supermodel. You can eat whatever you want and never gain an ounce. Tempted? Fledgling journalist Karen Sumner would be -- if only she had $5,000. When Karen finally walks through the blue and gold doors of The Program, however, she's on the trail of the hottest story of her career. If she and her friends are right, The Program is doing something even worse than creating an army of unnaturally thin women. Library Journal calls The Program "a lively first novel. Highly recommended."

  • Linda C Wisniewski: Off Kilter: A Woman's Journey to Peace with Scoliosis, Her Mother, and Her Polish Heritage

    Linda C Wisniewski: Off Kilter: A Woman's Journey to Peace with Scoliosis, Her Mother, and Her Polish Heritage
    Even before she was diagnosed with scoliosis at 13, Linda Wisniewski felt off kilter. Born to a cruel father in the insulated Polish Catholic community of Amsterdam, New York, she learned martyrdom as a way of life. Off Kilter shows her learning to stretch her Self as well as her spine as she comes to terms with her mentally deteriorating, widowed mother and her culture. Only by accepting her physical deformity, her emotionally unavailable mother, and her Polish American heritage does she finally find balance and a life that fits. Maureen Murdock, author of Unreliable Truth: On Memoir & Memory, calls Off Kilter "a courageous, insightful book, particularly relevant for anyone who grew up feeling physically 'different.'"

  • Pat, Ballard: The Best Man

    Pat, Ballard: The Best Man
    Sparks fly the night Lana Clarke meets to plan her sister's wedding -- and not just because curvaceous Lana announces she's stopped dieting and doesn't care if she's fat as maid of honor. The strong-willed sister of the bride attracts the attention of the groom's devastatingly handsome best man, Anthony Angelino. But when the sparks become flames, Lana's in trouble. Tony's first wife died mysteriously. Will Lana be next?

  • Judy Bagshaw: At Long Last, Love

    Judy Bagshaw: At Long Last, Love
    Big beautiful --and in some cases slightly more mature -- heroines grace the pages of this collection of romantic short stories by Judy Bagshaw.

  • Jack Adler: Splendid Seniors

    Jack Adler: Splendid Seniors
    An inspiring ensemble of 52 people whose accomplishments after age 65 remind us that creativity, passion & influence can not only flower in later years, but bear delicious fruit.

  • Mary Saracino: The Singing of Swans

    Mary Saracino: The Singing of Swans
    "The Singing of Swans is a remarkable narrative calling--even compelling--us to connect with our own ancestral roots, to seek our own inner wisdom, and to reclaim our own inner voices!" --Margaret Starbird, author of The Woman With the Alabaster Jar & Mary Magdalene: Bride in Exile

  • Ellen Frankel: Beyond Measure: A Memoir About Short Stature and Inner Growth

    Ellen Frankel: Beyond Measure: A Memoir About Short Stature and Inner Growth
    "If you have ever measured your height or your weight and felt good or bad about yourself as a result, you need this book. In its pages, Ellen Frankel makes an important contribution to human liberation by telling the most fabulous story that can be told, the story of a person coming fully into her own. This book is thought-provoking, heart-rending, and a genuine solace for people of all sizes." --Marilyn Wann, author of FAT!SO?

  • Pat Ballard: Abigail's Revenge

    Pat Ballard: Abigail's Revenge
    Injustice, romance and suspense smolder in a small Southern town. Romantic suspense from the Queen of Rubenesque Romances, Pat Ballard.

  • Pattie Thomas, Ph.D.: Taking Up Space

    Pattie Thomas, Ph.D.: Taking Up Space
    "Thomas's incisive blend of sociological inquiry and personal narrative amounts to a provocative treatise on fat oppression in our culture. Taking Up Space is a kind of roadmap through the minefield of the 'war on obesity,' and it offers protection to the reader ready to fight for cultural change surrounding the meaning of fatness." --Kathleen LeBesco, Ph.D., author of Revotling Bodies: The Struggle to Redefine Fat Identity.

  • Anne Richardson Williams: Unconventional Means: The Dream Down Under

    Anne Richardson Williams: Unconventional Means: The Dream Down Under
    Shattered by family tragedy in the early 1960s, an upper-middle-class Southern teenager finds solace in art and literature. Decades later she is called to the continent whose literature once comforted her, and to a magical connection with an Aboriginal woman transcending race and half a world.

  • Pat Ballard: A Worthy Heir

    Pat Ballard: A Worthy Heir
    When Pam Spencer sees the newspaper ad seeking "a worthy heir" to Fiona Bainbridge's millions, she jumps at the chance to get her brother the medical care he needs after a job-related accident. But Reese Bainbridge, Fiona's handsome grandson--and jilted heir--rushes home in anger when he hears his grandmother has moved Pam and her brother into the family mansion. Sparks fly--and Pam is up to the challenge.

  • Pat Ballard: His Brother's Child

    Pat Ballard: His Brother's Child
    One party, one silver-tongued, double-talking stranger intent on winning a bet, and Faith Carr ends up betrayed, alone, and pregnant. When Edward Brenner shows up on her doorstep intending to right his brother's wrongs, she's scared and vulnerable. But she agrees to marry this stranger to give the baby a father, although keeping him at a distance. She doesn't realize that Edward fell in love with her the moment he saw her. Will her battered self-esteem allow her to see the truth--and her own beauty?

  • Pat Ballard: Wanted: One Groom

    Pat Ballard: Wanted: One Groom
    Wealthy Hanna Rockwell will lose her home and her inheritance unless she marries by her 30th birthday. She's stunned when Matt Corbett, the faded rock start she worshipped in her teens, accepts her brother's offer to bail him out of financial trouble if he'll marry her. Her teenaged fantasies come to life--bringing a few surprises with them.

  • Pat Ballard: Nobody's Perfect

    Pat Ballard: Nobody's Perfect
    Nella Covington can't believe she's agreed to marry arrogant Samuel du Cannon, even if it IS only a marriage of convenience. He needs a mother for his young son, and she needs to keep her childhood home. If Sam's work keeps him on the road enough, she won't have to deal with him much. Sam's never been attracted to plus-size women, so they won't be tempted to have a real relationship. At least, that's what they keep telling themselves--

  • Pat Ballard: Dangerous Curves Ahead: Short Stories

    Pat Ballard: Dangerous Curves Ahead: Short Stories
    Ten romantic tales pack suspense and sizzle into this collection of short stories featuring amply curved women.

Pearlsong Press books

  • Mary Saracino: Heretics: A Love Story

    Mary Saracino: Heretics: A Love Story
    In the 1480S, twin sister healers in a remote village in the mountainous Barbagia region of Sardinia encounter a heretic-obsessed Spanish priest.

  • Frannie Zellman, Ed.: Fat Poets Speak 2: Living and Loving Fatly

    Frannie Zellman, Ed.: Fat Poets Speak 2: Living and Loving Fatly
    The poets embrace their lives as fat women in a thin-loving culture, writing with gusto, passion and yearning about navigating different, sometimes dangerous worlds.

  • Pat Ballard: ASAP Nanny

    Pat Ballard: ASAP Nanny
    This nine-chapter novella from the Queen of Rubenesque Romances also contains the first chapters of all of Pat Ballard's previous books.

  • Leslie Moise: Judith

    Leslie Moise: Judith
    In the ancient Middle East a pious, wealthy young widow risks her life to save her town from a besieging army in this novel based on the apocryphal Book of Judith.

  • Frannie Zellman: Fatland: The Early Days

    Frannie Zellman: Fatland: The Early Days
    Vol II of The FatLand Trilogy reveals a hidden history -- & the bravery, determination & treachery of FatLand's founders.

  • Lonie McMichael: Acceptable Prejudice?: Fat, Rhetoric and Social Justice

    Lonie McMichael: Acceptable Prejudice?: Fat, Rhetoric and Social Justice
    Explores the explosion of fat prejudice & the experiences of fat people in American society. "Fat Acceptance 101."

  • Lynne Murray: A Ton of Trouble

    Lynne Murray: A Ton of Trouble
    In Book 4 of the Josephine Fuller mystery series Jo grapples with murder in the California wine country, a gun-toting would-be charity client & plus-size porn.

  • Judy Bagshaw: Kiss Me, Nate!

    Judy Bagshaw: Kiss Me, Nate!
    In a small Canadian town romance blossoms between a BBW schoolteacher and coach during a community theater retelling of The Taming of the Shrew.

  • Bonnie Shapbell: Hiking the Pack Line: Moving From Grief To A Joyful Life

    Bonnie Shapbell: Hiking the Pack Line: Moving From Grief To A Joyful Life
    A widow's practical advice and workbook for re-creating a nourishing life after devastating loss.

  • Lynne Murray: At Large

    Lynne Murray: At Large
    The 3rd book in the Josephine Fuller mystery series finds Jo a suspect in the death of the woman who broke up her marriage.

  • Tracey L. Thompson: Fatropolis

    Tracey L. Thompson: Fatropolis
    Most of her life Jenny has felt she's not good enough, not attractive enough, because she's fat. Then one day she stumbles through a portal between a world that values thinness and one that values roundness. Sometimes falling can wake you up.

  • Louise Mathewson: A Life Interrupted: Living with Brain Injury

    Louise Mathewson: A Life Interrupted: Living with Brain Injury
    A collection of poems chronicling the author's recovery from a brain damaging car accident, with a list of journaling therapy writing prompts and other resources she found helpful in transcending trauma.

  • Lonie McMichael, Ph.D.: Talking Fat: Health vs. Persuasion in the War on Our Bodies

    Lonie McMichael, Ph.D.: Talking Fat: Health vs. Persuasion in the War on Our Bodies
    The "war on obesity" has increased profits for those perpetuating its rhetoric while increasing prejudice & decreasing health in the very people targeted for "help."

  • Michele Tamaren & Michael Wittner: ExtraOrdinary: An End of Life Story Without End

    Michele Tamaren & Michael Wittner: ExtraOrdinary: An End of Life Story Without End
    "In this deeply moving & inspiring account, Tamaren & Wittner share the life story of a man close to their hearts....Readers can expect tears to flow as Herman's life inspires them to be better." Publishers Weekly

  • Leslie Moïse: Love is the Thread: A Knitting Friendship

    Leslie Moïse: Love is the Thread: A Knitting Friendship
    Sustained by the metaphor of knitting, Love is the Thread traces the way one spiritual friendship can change all our relationships. The memoir centers on the friendship between a woman snared in a lifelong struggle with bipolar disorder and another woman reweaving her life after an abusive relationship.

  • Lynne Murray: The Falstaff Vampire Files

    Lynne Murray: The Falstaff Vampire Files
    Sir John Falstaff is undead & misbehaving in San Francisco. Kris Marlowe doesn't believe in vampires, but when she's attacked by a horde of murderous monsters she must seek help from the most famous rogue in history.

  • Lynne Murray: Larger Than Death

    Lynne Murray: Larger Than Death
    Meet Josephine Fuller, a sleuth of size who doesn't apologize. Full-figured & full of attitude with abundant sleuthing skills, Jo takes time off from her new job and walks into a murder case. Her best friend and early role model, a plus-sized clothing designer, lies slain in her own apartment. Was she the victim of a serial killer who targets voluptuous women, or is the murder personal? In the first of a series being brought back to print -- & ebook -- Jo copes with her friend's murder, an unexpected romance and bizarre neighbors as she races to find the killer before becoming the next victim.

  • Lauri J Owen: Blowing Embers

    Lauri J Owen: Blowing Embers
    Book 2 of The Embers Series (sequel to Fallen Embers) continues the saga of Kiera, transported to an alternate Alaska in which those who have the power to control the elements -- now including Kiera -- have ruled over those who cannot, including the shapeshifting indigenous peoples. The Fairbanks slaves struggle to maintain their newly won freedom, which is threatened by a force that will also shatter Kiera's heart.

  • Pat Ballard: Dangerous Love

    Pat Ballard: Dangerous Love
    New romantic suspense from the Queen of Rubenesque Romances! Ava Manning saw some research she wasn't supposed to, and now someone wants her dead. As if that isn't complicating her life enough, she has to deal with charming LAPD detective Ricky Don McKinzie....

  • Karen Blomain: The Season of Lost Children

    Karen Blomain: The Season of Lost Children
    In a small college town in Pennsylvania the lives of a bigamist's wife, a Polish orphan, an ex-priest and his wife -- a former nun -- and a mute teenage runaway intersect.

  • Charlie Lovett: The Fat Lady Sings

    Charlie Lovett: The Fat Lady Sings
    Young Adult fiction. Sassy, irreverent Aggie Stockdale should have gotten the lead in her high school play. But she isn't just a talented actress, writer, and athlete. She's also the fattest girl in the senior class.

  • Ellen Frankel: Syd Arthur

    Ellen Frankel: Syd Arthur
    Love, Laughter & Enlightenment! A middle-aged Jewish woman is soon in over her chakras as her spiritual search takes her from yoga studio to meditation hall to ashram gift store to the pages of Zensational catalogue. Her Mah Jongg group insists it's merely a midlife crisis. But nothing's going to stop Syd's journey toward Nirvana -- not even the hottest sale at Nordstrom's.

  • Lauri J Owen: Fallen Embers

    Lauri J Owen: Fallen Embers
    Kiera and her nephew are transported to an alternate, feudal Alaska during a strange dog's attack. The icy land is ruled by decadent mages who have enslaved the shapechanging, indigenous peoples. Kiera soon finds herself fighting -- and, to her astonishment, summoning fire. Before she can find her way home she must learn about the local systems of magic and her own powers. Kiera's path leads her deeper into Alaska, to romance, joy and heartbreak. Choosing to follow her heart may cost her everything.

  • Lynne Murray: Bride of the Living Dead

    Lynne Murray: Bride of the Living Dead
    Big, beautiful & rebellious, indie film critic Daria MacClellan is most comfortable in a monster movie poster T-shirt & blue jeans. Yet when family drama hijacks her engagement, she's trapped into a formal wedding with her perfectionist, anorexic sister, Sky, planning the whole thing. Daria adores her fiance, but her wedding seems to be spiraling into a horror film. Will the spectre of a picture perfect wedding turn her into the Bride of the Living Dead?

  • Rebecca Brock: The Giving Season

    Rebecca Brock: The Giving Season
    To have the life she's always dreamed of, Jessy must fight her insecurity and learn how to let Michael -- and his family -- love her just as she is.

  • Rebecca Fox & William Sherman: Measure By Measure

    Rebecca Fox & William Sherman: Measure By Measure
    A robust, comic romance fleshing out the truth about soap opera: It's not just for the rich and slender. Taken from the online cyber-serial, it's a Tales of the City for the fat and fabulous.

  • Kathy Barron, Anne S. Kaplan, Corinna Makris, Lesleigh J. Owen & Frannie Zellman: Fat Poets Speak: Voices of the Fat Poets' Society

    Kathy Barron, Anne S. Kaplan, Corinna Makris, Lesleigh J. Owen & Frannie Zellman: Fat Poets Speak: Voices of the Fat Poets' Society
    Smart, sassy, sensual and soulful -- five fat women share the poetry and process of fat embodiment. The Fat Poets' Society was born during a poetry workshop at the 2006 annual NAAFA convention. The poets are donating their royalties to NAAFA.

  • Frannie Zellman: FatLand

    Frannie Zellman: FatLand
    In the near future the Pro-Health Laws of the United States of America have become so oppressive that people seeking freedom over their bodies have established a new country. In FatLand, life is good and scales are forbidden. Free from the hatred and discrimination of the Other Side, FatLanders have built happy, productive lives. But not everyone is flourishing.

  • Pat Ballard: 10 Steps to Loving Your Body (No Matter What Size You Are)

    Pat Ballard: 10 Steps to Loving Your Body (No Matter What Size You Are)
    The Queen of Rubenesque Romances shares the steps she created -- and used -- to heal the damage of years of dieting. Join her in celebrating size diversity, self esteem, positive body image, and health at every size.

  • Charlie Lovett: The Program

    Charlie Lovett: The Program
    A new weight loss clinic in New York City has an offer for you -- given them $5,000 and they'll make you as thin as a supermodel. You can eat whatever you want and never gain an ounce. Tempted? Fledgling journalist Karen Sumner would be -- if only she had $5,000. When Karen finally walks through the blue and gold doors of The Program, however, she's on the trail of the hottest story of her career. If she and her friends are right, The Program is doing something even worse than creating an army of unnaturally thin women. Library Journal calls The Program "a lively first novel. Highly recommended."

  • Linda C Wisniewski: Off Kilter: A Woman's Journey to Peace with Scoliosis, Her Mother, and Her Polish Heritage

    Linda C Wisniewski: Off Kilter: A Woman's Journey to Peace with Scoliosis, Her Mother, and Her Polish Heritage
    Even before she was diagnosed with scoliosis at 13, Linda Wisniewski felt off kilter. Born to a cruel father in the insulated Polish Catholic community of Amsterdam, New York, she learned martyrdom as a way of life. Off Kilter shows her learning to stretch her Self as well as her spine as she comes to terms with her mentally deteriorating, widowed mother and her culture. Only by accepting her physical deformity, her emotionally unavailable mother, and her Polish American heritage does she finally find balance and a life that fits. Maureen Murdock, author of Unreliable Truth: On Memoir & Memory, calls Off Kilter "a courageous, insightful book, particularly relevant for anyone who grew up feeling physically 'different.'"

  • Pat, Ballard: The Best Man

    Pat, Ballard: The Best Man
    Sparks fly the night Lana Clarke meets to plan her sister's wedding -- and not just because curvaceous Lana announces she's stopped dieting and doesn't care if she's fat as maid of honor. The strong-willed sister of the bride attracts the attention of the groom's devastatingly handsome best man, Anthony Angelino. But when the sparks become flames, Lana's in trouble. Tony's first wife died mysteriously. Will Lana be next?

  • Judy Bagshaw: At Long Last, Love

    Judy Bagshaw: At Long Last, Love
    Big beautiful --and in some cases slightly more mature -- heroines grace the pages of this collection of romantic short stories by Judy Bagshaw.

  • Jack Adler: Splendid Seniors

    Jack Adler: Splendid Seniors
    An inspiring ensemble of 52 people whose accomplishments after age 65 remind us that creativity, passion & influence can not only flower in later years, but bear delicious fruit.

  • Mary Saracino: The Singing of Swans

    Mary Saracino: The Singing of Swans
    "The Singing of Swans is a remarkable narrative calling--even compelling--us to connect with our own ancestral roots, to seek our own inner wisdom, and to reclaim our own inner voices!" --Margaret Starbird, author of The Woman With the Alabaster Jar & Mary Magdalene: Bride in Exile

  • Ellen Frankel: Beyond Measure: A Memoir About Short Stature and Inner Growth

    Ellen Frankel: Beyond Measure: A Memoir About Short Stature and Inner Growth
    "If you have ever measured your height or your weight and felt good or bad about yourself as a result, you need this book. In its pages, Ellen Frankel makes an important contribution to human liberation by telling the most fabulous story that can be told, the story of a person coming fully into her own. This book is thought-provoking, heart-rending, and a genuine solace for people of all sizes." --Marilyn Wann, author of FAT!SO?

  • Pat Ballard: Abigail's Revenge

    Pat Ballard: Abigail's Revenge
    Injustice, romance and suspense smolder in a small Southern town. Romantic suspense from the Queen of Rubenesque Romances, Pat Ballard.

  • Pattie Thomas, Ph.D.: Taking Up Space

    Pattie Thomas, Ph.D.: Taking Up Space
    "Thomas's incisive blend of sociological inquiry and personal narrative amounts to a provocative treatise on fat oppression in our culture. Taking Up Space is a kind of roadmap through the minefield of the 'war on obesity,' and it offers protection to the reader ready to fight for cultural change surrounding the meaning of fatness." --Kathleen LeBesco, Ph.D., author of Revotling Bodies: The Struggle to Redefine Fat Identity.

  • Anne Richardson Williams: Unconventional Means: The Dream Down Under

    Anne Richardson Williams: Unconventional Means: The Dream Down Under
    Shattered by family tragedy in the early 1960s, an upper-middle-class Southern teenager finds solace in art and literature. Decades later she is called to the continent whose literature once comforted her, and to a magical connection with an Aboriginal woman transcending race and half a world.

  • Pat Ballard: A Worthy Heir

    Pat Ballard: A Worthy Heir
    When Pam Spencer sees the newspaper ad seeking "a worthy heir" to Fiona Bainbridge's millions, she jumps at the chance to get her brother the medical care he needs after a job-related accident. But Reese Bainbridge, Fiona's handsome grandson--and jilted heir--rushes home in anger when he hears his grandmother has moved Pam and her brother into the family mansion. Sparks fly--and Pam is up to the challenge.

  • Pat Ballard: His Brother's Child

    Pat Ballard: His Brother's Child
    One party, one silver-tongued, double-talking stranger intent on winning a bet, and Faith Carr ends up betrayed, alone, and pregnant. When Edward Brenner shows up on her doorstep intending to right his brother's wrongs, she's scared and vulnerable. But she agrees to marry this stranger to give the baby a father, although keeping him at a distance. She doesn't realize that Edward fell in love with her the moment he saw her. Will her battered self-esteem allow her to see the truth--and her own beauty?

  • Pat Ballard: Wanted: One Groom

    Pat Ballard: Wanted: One Groom
    Wealthy Hanna Rockwell will lose her home and her inheritance unless she marries by her 30th birthday. She's stunned when Matt Corbett, the faded rock start she worshipped in her teens, accepts her brother's offer to bail him out of financial trouble if he'll marry her. Her teenaged fantasies come to life--bringing a few surprises with them.

  • Pat Ballard: Nobody's Perfect

    Pat Ballard: Nobody's Perfect
    Nella Covington can't believe she's agreed to marry arrogant Samuel du Cannon, even if it IS only a marriage of convenience. He needs a mother for his young son, and she needs to keep her childhood home. If Sam's work keeps him on the road enough, she won't have to deal with him much. Sam's never been attracted to plus-size women, so they won't be tempted to have a real relationship. At least, that's what they keep telling themselves--

  • Pat Ballard: Dangerous Curves Ahead: Short Stories

    Pat Ballard: Dangerous Curves Ahead: Short Stories
    Ten romantic tales pack suspense and sizzle into this collection of short stories featuring amply curved women.