If Amy Schumer turned her subversive feminist sketches into a novel, dark on the inside but coated with a glossy, palatable sheen, it would probably look a lot like Dietland—a thrilling, incendiary manifesto disguised as a beach read ... a giddy revenge fantasy that will shake up your thinking and burrow under your skin, no matter its size.
...the novel doesn't rest with a predictable message of sugary self-acceptance: Dietland swerves suddenly and powerfully from chick lit to revenge fantasy ... Dietland resonated with the part of me that wants, just once, to deck a street harasser. At the very least, I wish an incurable itch upon everyone who has catcalled me on the street. I wish food poisoning and public embarrassment on everyone I've heard make a rape joke. I wish toothache and head lice and too-small shoes upon every stranger who has told me to smile. Which is to say, sometimes I forget I'm angry, but I am. Dietland is a complicated, thoughtful and powerful expression of that same anger.
The writing in Dietland is functional and doesn’t call attention to itself one way or another. But the spliced-in accounts are structurally inelegant, and occasionally give the novel a patchwork quality, like an unfinished garment marked up with pins and tailor’s chalk. The marriage of gonzo satire with a more earnest heroine’s awakening was never going to be an entirely comfortable one, although it allows for great moments ... Dietland’s structural oddities notwithstanding, its message resonates. It’s vanishingly rare (in fact I can’t think of an example, although that doesn’t mean one doesn’t exist) to see a novel that looks like the much-maligned 'chick lit' – and sometimes reads like it – so gleefully censorious of rape culture. If its satire is sometimes a little on-the-nose, it’s only because real life, when you are talking about female grievances, is a dog’s breakfast of things so terrible they hardly need to be satirized.