Getting Waisted is a hilarious and down-to-earth memoir by first-time author Monica Parker. The story of a young, chubby, and talented woman, Parker invites readers into her experiences with food addiction, wanting to be skinny, and diets that never worked.
Born in Glasgow, Scotland and emigrating to Canada when she was thirteen, Parker’s childhood was certainly an eclectic one. She reveals that her domineering Viennese mother—dubbed “Queen Elizabeth”—had delusions of grandeur that had them living in a mansion they couldn’t afford. Her father, who read the labels on everything he encountered, was a “tweedy” Brit who wasn’t a large part of her life until they moved to Canada. Parker’s amusing descriptions bring the members of her family to life for the reader.
From a young age, Parker realized that she turned to food for comfort. After jokingly remarking that she gained two pounds after she was born from consuming her mother’s breast milk, Parker highlights each chapter with what diet she was on, what it cost her, how many pounds she lost, and how many she gained. Her side-splitting narratives about dealing with boys, having house parties, getting other people to pay for pizzas, and accidentally driving a car off the “Makeout Mountain” cliff are indicative of Parker’s ability to laugh at herself and portray the horrors of teenage life for everyone at the same time.
What makes Getting Waisted such a powerful memoir is that Parker also divulges some of her not-so-funny experiences. In the midst of her tale-telling, Parker admits losing a miraculous amount of weight in her early twenties, only to end up being date-raped by the first boy to ask her out. This caused a slip back into over-eating and food addiction because it seemed as though “being fat was far safer” than the alternative. After suffering through one humiliating rejection after the next because of her weight, Parker’s stress-filled life pushed her back towards the emotional eating that brought her solace. She was feeling used by men, wrangled back home by her parents, and abandoned by her skinny girlfriends and roommates—not to mention she was working three jobs. With her addiction spiraling out of control, it was all Parker could do to hang on tightly to her jobs—the only constants in her life.
Benzedrine, the Master Cleanse, bananas and milk. Scarsdale, protein powder, Dexedrine. The Last Chance, Life’s a Picnic, baby food. All these are diets Parker confesses to having tried. While some of them resulted in weight loss, most of them resulted in gaining it all back. The consistency of Parker’s stress, low self-esteem, and hardship kept her relapsing again and again into emotional eating. The only other unchanging attribute of Parker’s life was her determination to succeed, despite jumping off the wagon both unintentionally and intentionally.
Getting Waisted is a book about loss and discovery, overcoming fear, fighting back against the assumptions of society, and learning to love the real you. In this memoir, Parker unleashes the comedienne side of her personality and tells her story with unflinching honesty and remarkable humor. Whether readers are battling food addiction, struggling with low self-esteem, or have been on the diet fast-track before, Getting Waisted will help them realize their happiness lies not in their weight, but in their acceptance of self.
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