• Dietland

  • By: Sarai Walker
  • Narrated by: Tara Sands
  • Length: 10 hrs and 33 mins
  • 3.9 out of 5 stars (955 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Plum Kettle does her best not to be noticed because when you're fat, to be noticed is to be judged. She is biding her time at a job answering fan mail for a popular teen girls' magazine until she can afford weight-loss surgery. But lately she is being followed by a girl in outlandish clothes and combat boots.

When Plum finally confronts her, she finds herself falling into the mysterious world of Calliope House, where an odd collection of women orbit around Verena Baptist, daughter of a famous diet guru. Verena offers to give Plum the money for the surgery, but there is a catch: First Plum must go through a series of seemingly perverse challenges that will force her to confront her past, her doubts, and the real cost of becoming "beautiful".

Dietland is a scathing and revolutionary debut that takes on the beauty industry, gender inequality, and our obsession with weight loss - from the inside out and with fists flying.

©2015 Reproduced by special arrangement with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. (P)2015 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books

Critic Reviews

"A fresh and provocative debut novel about a reclusive young woman saving up for weight loss surgery, when she gets drawn into a shadowy feminist guerilla group called 'Jennifer' - equal parts Bridget Jones' Diary and Fight Club. Keenly intelligent, daring, and original, Dietland has something important to say to us all." (Alice Mattison, author of When We Argued All Night)

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What listeners say about Dietland

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

A n absolute ridiculous waste of my time

It sounded like an interesting concept and had potential to bring to light some excellent discussion points HOWEVER a porn room, rapes, killings...ruined it for me.

25 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars

Wait... That's it?

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

I would have said it was time well spent, that was until the final chapter ended with a fizzle. With a proper conclusion this could have been a wonderful treatise on the female condition in modern society, or a manifesto on learning to love yourself no matter who you are. Instead we're left with an unfinished story, and a sense of emptiness. Unlike some books that end and leave the rest to your imagination, there isn't enough here for the reader to do that with.

What does Tara Sands bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

The narrator is a talented voice actor and her reading of the book was enjoyable and entertaining. It was easy to know who was talking in dialogue sections.

Did Dietland inspire you to do anything?

As a male I can only empathize with some of the hardships Plum goes through in the book. But, as a fat person I know all too well much of the pain she feels and the book hit home time and time again. This book helped give me some new tools on my journey towards self acceptance and body positivity.

17 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars

Started out OK, then....

I liked the first portion of the book and I get the feelings of the main character (out of place in her life and the world). Then as it grew towards the end it was getting more and more violent and radical and that is not my thing. I understand getting the characters to do things for effect but it just left me kind of 'meh' and a bit sad. At the end I really didn't care what happened to them.

10 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Amazing performance, weird story

Started out fantastic and I liked a great part of the book, but around 60% mark the story took a weird turn. It should have ended there, but story kept going and I lost a lot of heart for it. The narrator was amazing and I loved her performance. I look forward to hearing more from her.

9 people found this helpful

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funny and thought provoking

i laughed out loud....thoroughly enjoyed Plum's awakening and the female empowerment message. the narration enhanced the story.

9 people found this helpful

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Dafuq is this?

In theory there are two great stories in this mess. The first is the story of an unhappy woman who I guess has a meltdown and emerges slightly less unhappy. Her arc was terrible. The second could have been a a story about a feminist revolution in modern media and the fallout from that. However, both these stories share the thinnest of connections and wasted my time. The author did manage to capture the fears and angst a woman with low self-esteem has, but those scenes are tempered by shit like 5 minutes of reading lipstick colors. We get it, women are sexualized in every aspect of life. Avoid avoid avoid.

7 people found this helpful

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  • JJ
  • 06-23-18

Starts strong then falls apart

First, the performance is great! Tara Sands does a fantastic job with what she has to work with.

The story starts really strong. The first half is engaging and interesting. Then it just gets weird in ways that don’t feel like they’re actually moving the story forward. I get the sense that the author wants to shock readers, but there’s no and-then or and-so. The shock doesn’t come with any payoff so it just feels gratuitous and pointless. There are whole subplots that just stop. Not just that they aren’t resolved, but that they just aren’t mentioned again. The book spends a lot of time on things that aren’t in and of themselves interesting and aren’t important for the story and don’t contribute to character development. The ending of the book is so completely impossible and unrealistic that it just feels cheap.
The whole book feels immature and the plot isn’t well thought through.

5 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

The Feminist Fight Club

I am not exaggerating at all when I say this is probably my favorite book I've ever read. I have never been able to pick a favorite book before, there are so many good ones, but that has all changed. This is the best.

5 people found this helpful

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Very Disappointed

What would have made Dietland better?

A better story to get her point made about the prejudice that fat people face in their lives. The story is stupid and improbable, from the "make up" room in the basement of the building.......(it's the size of Madison Sq Garden, filled with lipstick and blush).....now really?
The Caliope house with the underground room playing hard core porn? That had no relation to the story and seemed to be added just to get some porn into the story. The way they live and how it is financed, is also absurd. The main character supposedly weighs 300 lbs and Walker makes the way she is treated more like the way someone 600 lbs would be treated. Has she looked around lately.......more than 50% of America is obese!

What was most disappointing about Sarai Walker’s story?

I heard Ms Walker interviewed on PBS and thought it was about time someone wrote a book about the crazy world of diets, dieting scams, and the false promises that are made to people. She had such a good idea, and the opportunity to bring the subject to life in the form of Plum, the lead character. Instead, Ms Walker added porn, violence, and the most improbable situations that just made the story jump from one place to another. The whole premise of "Jennifer" being able to pull off the murders of people, the Afghanistan veteran and the other vet getting together for revenge, none of it made any sense, so the author would just go back to Plum's weight and her obsession that people were always looking at her.

What does Tara Sands bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Tara Sands is a really good narrator, her range of voices and accents is wonderful.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Dietland?

The whole book.

Any additional comments?

I can't remember being this disappointed in a book that Audible readers rated 4 stars.

5 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Changed me for the better. A fun read, too.

The story, especially at the beginning, is quite engaging. This book has the potential to change our culture if enough people read it and think about it and talk about it. Perhaps if enough of us get angry something will change.

4 people found this helpful

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