“Gorge: My Journey Up Kilimanjaro at 300 Pounds” by Kara Richardson Whitely


asteriaiconI came across a review for this book in a magazine and found it intriguing. As a plus size woman myself, it was interesting to find a book where a plus size woman set out for a dream, regardless of how crazy or dangerous it seemed, and realized it despite her size. I immediately ordered the book online and read it voraciously when it finally arrived.

Kara has climbed Mt Kilimanjaro before, the first time successfully, but the second time she failed. She is ashamed of the failure, and determined to make it this time. This time though, she has gained a significant amount of weight during and post pregnancy. It is easy to do in our busy lives. Now she sets out to realize her dream of climbing the mountain again, at 300lbs. I think my favorite thing about her story was that she didn’t wait until she had lost a lot of weight to see her dreams through, nor did it end with her losing a bunch of weight when she finished. She set out in spite of it, and didn’t let it hold her back. To me, I found that very empowering.

Kara is very relatable. It is hard to not see yourself in her. She sets out to do something that is rather difficult for a fit person, and she does it despite people telling her she can’t do it. People stare at her and make fun of her, after all she is the largest person on the trail.  I hurt for her as she wrote about how hurt she was and her feelings of just wanting people to know she was worthy. It is hard to not feel her pain. She struggles with self-image issues and food addiction, and it is easy to understand her shame and guilt. She was brutally honest and raw, and I appreciated that. I didn’t want to read a fluffy tale about her adventure and it being perfect and easy. I loved that she did the climb not just for herself, but she raised money as well through pledges, with the money going to a charity that helped orphans with AIDS.

If you want to read a great story about overcoming adversity, being true to yourself, not giving a fuzzy brown rats ass about what other people think of you, please give this a try. I lent this to a friend, another plus size woman, who ended up reading it twice because she found it so powerful and empowering. If you like honest and real, this is about as honest and real as it gets.

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