Saturday, October 3, 2015

Gorge - Kara Richardson Whitley

Sub-title: My journey up Kilimanjaro at 300 pounds

The library near my home has shelves of books right inside the entry that are "new and notable" releases.  I picked up this one in the non-fiction area as I'd heard of the title.

Kara is a large (she's honest, she says "fat") woman, 6 ft. tall and has been as heavy as 360 lbs. She's not a proportionately large woman; she has  "three feet wide hips" as she describes them when trying to put on her hiking pants.  Her story is about climbing Mt Kilimanjaro three times to raise money for AIDS orphans in Africa.  It's truly about her experience being an athlete despite her size and her struggle with food addiction.  It's brutally honest and revealing and made me want to shout, "hurray!" for her courage in telling what it is like to live being overweight.

More than anything her story made me see that how a person looks, especially overweight people, colors all our thoughts and beliefs about them.  I realize how my thinking has been colored by mass media to see overweight people only from one dimension - they're fat. We don't see them as a person or even expect them to have a personality, skills, knowledge, talent or capabilities of a normal weight person.  And if we ourselves are overweight, those beliefs are projected to ourselves.

Kara describes soothing herself with food, getting food for others and then eating it all herself, sneaking the evidence.  And she also talks about working with a trainer, doing a half-marathon, and lifting weights to get ready for the treks.

At one point during the hike, she overhears the guides and porters joking about her.  She confronts them the next morning, smiling but determined not to accept the ridicule of others and letting them know their joking was hurting her.  Her struggle to stand up for herself without being mean or angry was inspiring.

Kara is a motivational speaker and journalist and lives in NJ with her two daughters and husband,
Read this book, it will make you think.

Published: 2015    Read: October  2015  Genre: Memoir

ISBN: 9 781580055598

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