ONE OF NPR’S BEST BOOKS OF 2019
A “warm and funny and honest…genuinely unputdownable” (Curtis Sittenfeld) memoir chronicling what it’s like to live in today’s world as a fat man, from acclaimed journalist Tommy Tomlinson, who, as he neared the age of fifty, weighed 460 pounds and decided he had to change his life.
When he was almost fifty years old, Tommy Tomlinson weighed an astonishing—and dangerous—460 pounds, at risk for heart disease, diabetes, and stroke, unable to climb a flight of stairs without having to catch his breath, or travel on an airplane without buying two seats. Raised in a family that loved food, he had been aware of the problem for years, seeing doctors and trying diets from the time he was a preteen. But nothing worked, and every time he tried to make a change, it didn’t go the way he planned—in fact, he wasn’t sure that he really wanted to change.
In The Elephant in the Room, Tomlinson chronicles his lifelong battle with weight in a voice that combines the urgency of Roxane Gay’s Hunger with the intimacy of Rick Bragg’s All Over but the Shoutin’. He also hits the road to meet other members of the plus-sized tribe in an attempt to understand how, as a nation, we got to this point. From buying a Fitbit and setting exercise goals to contemplating the Heart Attack Grill in Las Vegas, America’s “capital of food porn,” and modifying his own diet, Tomlinson brings us along on a candid and sometimes brutal look at the everyday experience of being constantly aware of your size. Over the course of the book, he confronts these issues head-on and chronicles the practical steps he has to take to lose weight by the end.
“What could have been a wallow in memoir self-pity is raised to art by Tomlinson’s wit and prose” (Rolling Stone). Affecting and searingly honest, The Elephant in the Room is an “inspirational” (The New York Times) memoir that will resonate with anyone who has grappled with addiction, shame, or self-consciousness. “Add this to your reading list ASAP” (Charlotte Magazine).
A Brave Tale Of Addiction & Fight To Overcome It
A powerful and moving memoir that not only pays beautiful tribute to author Tommy Tomlinson's family and Southern Georgia roots, but also paints a terrifying portrait of addiction and how it can render one powerless. This was incredibly brave of Tomlinson and I'm sure incredibly difficult to convey, but a much-needed conversation for our culture to continue to have. This was the first time I'd read anything by the author, and as a newspaper man, it should come as no surprise that the book is a breeze to read. I enjoyed his no-nonsense and folksy prose. This is ultimately a story of hope and will to live. This book will inspire many to take a look at their own demons and make positive changes as it did me. Highly recommend.
I couldn’t put this book down once I started it. It’s an inspirational story that we all need to read.
Worst book ever. Who cares about your useless struggle. You don’t even try.