Taking Up Space

Biographies & Memoirs

By Pattie Thomas & Carl Wilkerson

Publisher : Pearlsong Press

ABOUT Pattie Thomas & Carl Wilkerson

Pattie Thomas & Carl Wilkerson
Pattie Thomas describes herself as a reluctant warrior in “the war on obesity.” She envisions herself not as a svelte former fattie like the countless commercials offered in the media, but as a Sumo ready to knock down those who wage war on fat and fat people.

The Sumo warri More...


Taking Up Space is a sociological memoir about being fat and the physical, emotional and economic costs of trying to pass for thin in a culture that stigmatizes fat people.

Making her own life a case study, medical sociologist Pattie Thomas, Ph.D., with the help of her co-author and husband Carl Wilkerson, M.B.A., outlines how stigma limit and shape the life chances of all people and are supported within culture.

Through narrative text, poetry, essays, photos and drawings, Dr. Thomas shares her own process and demonstrates how a sociologically examined life can be a source for personal growth. An extensive resource section challenges both the popular reader and the academic to further exploration.

Kathleen LeBesco, author of Revolting Bodies: The Struggle to Redefine Fat Identity, has called Taking Up Space "a road map through the minefield of the 'war on obesity.'"

Foreword by Paul Campos, author of The Obesity Myth (published in paperback as The Diet Myth).

"...terrific...a fabulous and honest book about the myths of obesity as well as the author's personal journey to size acceptance."

Lara Frater
author of Fat Chicks Rule!

"...it's one of the best fat acceptance and fat activism books I've read in recent memory -- and is definitely worth your time."

Big Fat Blog

"This book rocked. End of review!"

Red Polka dot org
(who does go on to write "...it's the sort of book I've been waiting for. It's an Official Fat Chick Book that has something serious and smart to say -- equal parts memoir and sociological study, as promised, but also a guide to living in and changing a world that really hates fat people.")

"Taking Up Space was so powerfully and beautifully written that I did not want it to end. With evocative and witty prose, Dr. Thomas addresses the issues that took me years to learn: If we are ever to be content with ourselves, we must understand and challenge those aspects of our society that tear us down.

"As a nutritionist who has had to develop a new nderstanding of eating and weight issues to  successfully treat my clients, it is clear to me that Dr. Thomas has captured the essence of what true change and true happiness are all about. A must-read for people of ALL sizes. I will be recommending this to all my clients."

Karin Kratina, Ph.D., R.D., LD/N
Nutrition Therapist, Author, Speaker
Nutrition Coordinator, Eating Disorders Program,
University of Florida

"Taking Up Space is among the best books I've read on the costs of stigma for fat people and society. Written for the "average reader," it is sophisticated, funny and touching.
Dr. Pattie Thomas, with her husband and co-author, Carl Wilkerson, have clearly demonstrated what we at Size
Matters, Too
have been telling our clients and radio audiences for years — size prejudice is costing our country a bundle in wasted human resources, and accommodating size
diversity is good business, as well as the right thing to do.

"I will be recommending this book to my clients and my listeners. It is a must-read for all people of size and
people of all sizes!"

Veronica Cook Euell
President, Euell Consulting Group, LLC
Host, WCRS  (Akron, OH) & online radio show
Size Matters

"...a feast of information, ideas, talking points, discussions.
Anyone who has struggled with weight or who works with clients who face these issues will find this book challenging, disturbing, and ultimately comforting as it attempts to change deeply held prejudices that for most of us are unconscious."

Susan Hammonds-White, Ed.D, LPC/MHSP
Nashville Psychotherapy Institute 2006-2007 co-chair

"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.
Revolting Bodies: The Struggle to Redefine Fat Identity

"Taking Up Space could be called a memoir with a Ph.D., or it could be called sociology with a heart. Pattie Thomas brings to the table her careful study and analysis of the medical, political, and social aspects of weight in our culture. To this she adds her witty and deeply felt poetry, as well as her revealing and personal journal (and journey) on the path
to self-love. That path, she shows, requires that fat people recognize the bigotry that is aimed at them.

"Written in a lucid and readable style, this book provides insights and resources for professionals as well as for those who struggle with issues of weight and body image. Taking
Up Space
should be required reading for all those who want to help make this world a better place."

Miriam Berg

Council on Size & Weight Discrimination

"The personal is political, and the political is personal — Dr. Thomas offers her perspective as a thoughtful sociologist
to examine the experience of being a fat woman here and now.

"A consciousness-raising group is packed between the covers of this book. You will not think the same way about your
own experiences after reading it. Artful response to stigma!"

Deb Burgard, Ph.D.
Licensed Psychologist & Eating Disorders Specialist
co-author of

Great Shape: The First Fitness Guide for Large Women

reator of BodyPositive.com & ShowMeTheData.info
Health At Every Size practitioner

"This book has punch — from its personal fat narrative to the social context that stigmatizes a proper identity.

"I was struck with how powerful the story became as the myths, poetry, and sage advice conveyed both the dignity and pain of a condition that is increasingly medicalized as obesity. Taken away from its place as a way of life and
alternative drama of experience, fat gains embodies and personal dignity, while also claiming a space in the social
world for one human variation among many.

"This is a story about acceptance, of the fat self and its body, one in need of repeated telling to others and to a public
that are largely silent on acceptability."

Jay Gubrium, Ph.D.
Professor & Chair, Department of Sociology
University of Missouri

"Dr. Thomas brings her breadth of scholarship,the wretched open heart of her own life story and the sublime artistry of her poetry into this analysis of the life of fat people. The book centers on her life and experience but holds the truth of the difficult world we fat people navigate in terms of attitudes, projections and stereotypes. It is not a dour read but rather a call for a paradigm shift that comes from her own mind, heart and body. The fat community is well served by her voice."

Tish Parmeley