Wake Up, I'm Fat! by Camryn Manheim

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Wake Up, I’m Fat!

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Camryn Manheim takes readers through her life from Debra Manheim, to Chloe Blue, and finally, to Camryn Manheim. She regales the reader with many stories and anecdotes about her struggle with her weight and its affect on her life. Born as Debra Manheim, she spent the first eleven years of her life as a thin girl living in Peoria, Illinois. At the onset of puberty, Debra’s weight ballooned and her family moved to Long Beach, California, the land of skinny, scantily-clad waifs. This was a nightmare for a young girl with a poor self-image. In California, Debra found her niche in the drug crowd, rode a motorcycle, and lived in blue jeans.

One summer, Debra’s parents took her to an annual Renaissance Fair where Debra worked for the next several summers taking on the new persona of Chloe Blue, a buxom wench in revealing clothes. At this time in her life, she was finally able to be comfortable with her body.

However, this was short lived. She went to New York to study acting. There she worked hard, but was constantly ridiculed for being overweight. This pushed her to take diet drugs which almost killed her. After this, she decided that she would make the world accept her as she was; she would succeed despite the industry’s obsession with thinness. She changed her name to Camryn and entertained the world with her sarcastic humor for the next few years. She refused to be stereotyped and convinced producers to give her a chance to play leading roles from which robust women would have previously been excluded. She eventually won an Emmy and a Golden Globe Award for her performances. Manheim’s story should be an inspiration to all, because she proved that an individual can triumph over her/his imperfections and gain acceptance in society.