Seeking the Straight and Narrow: Weight Loss and Sexual Reorientation in Evangelical America
by Lynne Gerber
The University of Chicago Press. 288 pages, $29.
READING THIS BOOK, which compares the methods and results used by the evangelical Christian weight loss program First Place with those of ex-gay ministries such as Exodus International, I kept thinking about Tina Fey’s adaptation of the book Queen Bees and Wannabes (2002) into the screenplay for Mean Girls. There are moments of judgment so harsh and logic so twisted that they seem to cry out for a comedic intervention to lessen the sting. It’s equally hard not to feel some sympathy for the people featured, who are often expending tremendous effort to change their body size or sexual orientation, struggles that never result in quick changes and require constant vigilance to hold one’s ground.