You Are Not Born Fat

Original title: On ne naît pas grosse

Publication Date:

June 2017



Original language and publisher

French | Goutte d’Or


Health & Lifestyle, Narrative Non-Fiction

You Are Not Born Fat

Original title: On ne naît pas grosse

  • 2 Seas Represents: Dutch, Nordic, and North American rights.
  • Rights sold: Film and comic book adaptations


« It’s the world’s turn now to feel as Gabrielle did: ashamed and questioning herself. All because of a single book. Her story is fascinating, heroic, ongoing. » — Stefanie Marsh, The Guardian

« When a fledgling alternative press published Gabrielle Deydier’s memoir of growing up fat in France, there was little expectation that the book would attract much notice. It is clear now that it has forced France to look in the mirror » — Alissa J. Rubin, The New York Times

Gabrielle Deydier thought about suicide. But then she decided to write a book about the particularly cruel ways the French treat the obese. And suddenly the world took notice.

« You wouldn’t want to look like her, would you? », « You’re a freak of nature. ». Gabrielle, who is 36 years old and who weighs 140 kilos, hears this kind of comments every day while walking down the street. After having been humiliated for twenty years, she considered two possibilities: getting a gun – or picking up a pen. She chose the latter.

She ended up writing You Are Not Born Fat, a powerful memoir that investigates both her own relation to obesity, as well as society’s view on overweight people. The result: an account of a life scarred by trauma and a report on how institutions – from schools, to companies, to hospitals – behave towards those who are obese.

In a world in which the everyday confrontation with the mirror has become a torture for many, Gabrielle Deydier also examines the extreme violence of the surgical operations available for those who are overweight, such as gastric bypass or sleeve procedures, which often consist of removing a part of the stomach.

Gabrielle Deydier a native of Nîmes, studied literature as well as politics and philosophy in Montpellier and has worked in journalism. She has a strong presence in the literary world of Paris, and has created a cultural webzine, Ginette.