The Heavy: A Mother, A Daughter, A Diet by Dara-Lynn Weiss is the latest parenting memoir causing controversy with supporters and critics eager to weigh in.
Weiss put her overweight daughter on a strict calorie-based diet which she policed vigorously and very, very publicly. So public, in fact, that Weiss, a free-lance writer, got her story published in last April's Vogue, with photographs of mother and daughter in designer duds, sipping tea.
Now here's the thing: Bea is only seven years old.
A firestorm of outrage followed the Vogue article - with Weiss at its epicentre, and according to her - she remains 'stunned' by the negative reaction. As with Amy Chua's The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, Weiss' memoir of extreme parenting evokes strong feelings from parents, pundits, doctors, critics, and bloggers.
The alarming statistics on childhood obesity is creating front page news, and Weiss' supporters see her as courageously proactive in protecting her daughter's health. Conversely, her critics have accused her of damaging Bea physically and emotionally. Jezebel, a feminist blog, spared nothing in its assessment of Weiss and her project.
Critics also zero in on her public enforcement of Bea's diet (just ask the Starbucks barista who put whipped cream on Bea's hot chocolate without asking). Indeed, much of this memoir is Weiss defending her actions against her many critics.
Listen to Weiss' CBC interview today on the Current. Read the coverage in the Toronto Star, the Globe, Huffington Post, New York Magazine, UK Times, and Slate. Watch the coverage on CTV and on ABC below (click on the link to take you to YouTube, then click on the new tab to view).
The Heavy is also available in these formats:
- Always the Fat Kid by Jacob Warren and K. Bryant Smalley
- Overcoming Childhood Obesity by Colleen Thompson and Ellen Shanley
- Combat Fat for Kids by James Villepigue
- Get a Healthy Weight for Your Child by Brian McCrindle
Finally, on a lighter note: Internet cats and body image?