A graphic memoir about weight loss sounds pretty cool — like, say, Oprah meets Persepolis. But a Salon interview with Carol Lay, the author of said memoir, actually makes it look kind of lame.

Interviewer Judy Berman bills the book, The Big Skinny: How I Changed My Fattitude, as an alternative to the same old diet books "by steely personal trainers and smug, tanned nutritionists." But Lay doesn't sound all that different from any other diet guru when she says,

I saw a photograph of myself, looking apparently happy. But I saw that, "Wow, I'm overweight, and I'm tired of doing this to myself." I make the suggestion, "Get yourself photographed." Cameras are much better tools than mirrors. I've got my mirror trained to show me exactly what I want. The camera is out of my control.

She may be be using a new form, but she's trotting out some of the same platitudes that have been pissing us off for years — that you can't really be happy if you're "fat", and that your motivation for losing weight should be looks rather than health. Lay also says,

I used to be a very angry, negative person, and I put a lot of that into my work. Umpteen years ago, in the strip, I was blowing up the world every month or so. These were funny little fantasies. But I lost interest in that as I started shedding my negativity and anger. That period coincided with understanding myself and losing the weight.

We're glad Lay is feeling better, but, as is so often the case with people who discover inner peace, it sounds like she was a lot more fun before. "Shedding your negativity and anger" may not be the best way to make funny comics. Luckily, with the world as it is right now, these qualities aren't in short supply.


This comic book can make you thin! [Salon]