slogan Sense Publishers emblem Sense Publishers
Find a reseller




© 2016 | Sense Publishers


Low-Fat Love Stories

2017 - 180 pages

Patricia Leavy and Victoria Scotti

ISBN Paperback: 9789463008167 ($ 15.00)
ISBN Hardcover: 9789463008174 ($ 99.00)
ISBN E-Book: 9789463008181

Subject: Social Fiction

Number 22 of the series: Social Fictions Series

pdfFree Preview Low-Fat Love Stories
Low-Fat Love Stories

Low-Fat Love Stories is a collection of short stories and visual portraits based on interview research with women about a dissatisfying relationship with a romantic partner or relative, or their body image.

The stories focus on settling in relationships, the gap between fantasies and realities, relationship patterns, divorce, abuse, childhood pain, spirituality, feeling like a fraud, growing older, and daily struggles looking in the mirror. Once upon a time and happily ever after take on new meaning as the women’s stories reveal the underside of fairytales and toxic popular culture.

Written in the first-person with language taken directly from each woman’s interview, the stories are raw, visceral, and inspirational. As a collection, the stories and art set you on an emotional rollercoaster and illustrate the different forms “low-fat love” may take, and the quest for self-worth in the context of popular culture that tells women they are never enough.

The authors developed an original method of “textual visual snapshots” for this book. Low-Fat Love Stories can be used in a range of courses in art education, gender/women’s studies, popular culture, psychology, relational communication, sociology and social work; or as an exemplar in research or qualitative methods, narrative inquiry, arts-based research or creative writing courses; or it can be read entirely for pleasure by individuals or in book clubs.

NOMINATED - IPPY Awards 2017, in the categories of Short Story Fiction, Popular Culture, and Women’s Issues
NOMINATED - Living Now Book Awards 2017, category of "Inspirational Fiction"
NOMINATED - ICQI 2018 Outstanding Book
NOMINATEDAERA Qualitative SIG 2018 Outstanding Book


“A powerful book that explores the effect of living in the context of a commercial culture that tells women they are not enough. Through both the stories and portraits, Low-Fat Love Stories challenges the representations of women that dominate popular culture, offering alternative narratives and images grounded in women’s real experiences. This will be an engaging springboard for self and social reflection in classes.” Sut Jhally, Ph.D., University of Massachusetts at Amherst; Founder & Executive Director, Media Education Foundation

Low-Fat Love Stories is wonderful! I love it. The images are glorious— emotionally compelling— those eyes, the pain, the fragility; the stories are captivating. The combination of visual images, handwritten journal entries, and stories captures the anguish and hope of women extraordinarily well. Each “textual-visual snapshot” takes you on a breathtaking journey. The methodology is original, exciting, and compelling. I am a writer and a visual artist. Bringing together the two modes has been a life-long challenge for me. Hurrah! This book models a way for me to at long last integrate my creative expressions. I think it will do that for others. I highly recommend Low-Fat Love Stories for general readers, book clubs, writing groups, and any number of college courses.”  Laurel Richardson, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, The Ohio State University and Cooley Book Award winner

Low-Fat Love Stories places women’s experiences and words at the forefront. Through visual art and stories, this book challenges the representations of women we typically see in popular culture and offers alternatives. An important addition to the fields of gender and media studies that is certain to stimulate self-reflection and lively discussion.” Jean Kilbourne, Ed.D., author, feminist activist, and creator of the Killing Us Softly: Advertising's Image of Women film series

“A wonderful model of the infinite possibilities for art as research where conversations with fifty-six women are distilled and transformed into one compelling work proving that artistic expression is uniquely capable of offering transparent evidence and honest insights into complex human conditions. The book shows how fiction as a psychological medium can go where standard psychological formats simply cannot go in getting close to intimate experience. Text and drawings communicate the “dark truth” and make it into an inspirational affirmation of life for all people.” Shaun McNiff, Ph.D., University Professor, Lesley University and author of Art as Research, Art Heals, and Imagination in Action

“Leavy’s words and Scotti’s images transform intimate interviews into captivating portraits of the unspoken inner lives of women— bringing to life the source of their insecurities and fears, and staying alongside these women as they find the courage and strength to change their circumstances. This is important reading for those who’ve experienced similar, and everyone who wants to better understand what is left invisible. A timely read for a growing national conversation.” Nick Sousanis, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, San Francisco State University and award-winning author of Unflattening

“Powerful and riveting! Low-Fat Love Stories captures women’s struggles with self-esteem in very real and visceral ways through “textual-visual snapshots.” This innovative, collaborative practice between an author and a visual artist facilitates a uniquely conceptualized methodology that stretches our impressions and encourages women to reimagine their lives.  Most importantly, women’s lives count! This collection of stories resonates with the experiences of all women and will assuredly benefit all women, and yes, the men in their lives.” Rita L. Irwin, Ph.D., Professor and Associate Dean of Teacher Education, The University of British Columbia

Low-Fat Love Stories is anything but low-fat. This gorgeous book is full of music; the images and stories of women’s relational lives will resonate long after you experience them.  This work represents the best of arts-based research, collaborative work, and feminist research. It questions the damaging popular discourse that romance means happily ever after and that romance is women’s biggest achievement.  I intend to buy this for all the women and men in my life.” Sandra L. Faulkner, Ph.D., Director of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Bowling Green State University and coauthor of Writing the Personal

Low-Fat Love Stories takes readers on a journey into women's hearts, minds, bodies and relationships that is by turns heartbreaking, realistic, difficult, and inspirational. The stories and artwork ask women to consider how they can love, nurture, and grow in their work and their relationships in ways that resist and revise the seemingly endless stream of images and messages that devalue and demean us. In a time when women are shamed, blamed, violated, and told they deserve less, Low Fat Love Stories tells a new kind of fairy tale: one in which women are powerful, smart, beautiful and in charge of their own lives and loves.” Stacy Holman Jones, Ph.D., Professor, Monash University and coauthor of Writing for Performance  and Autoethnography: Understanding Qualitative Research

 “Leavy and Scotti use interviews, techniques of fiction, and stunning visual art to identify and critique prominent cultural fairytales, problematic portrayals of women in popular culture, and unrealistic expectations about love. They also show how women might live through/with toxic relationships, abuse, aging, body image dissatisfaction, and (not) loving themselves. Methodologically and topically, Low-Fat Love Stories makes a noteworthy contribution to both gender and arts-based research.” Tony E. Adams, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Northeastern Illinois University and award-winning author of Narrating the Closet

“In this deeply innovative work, Leavy and Scotti use visual art and story-telling to represent women’s lived experiences of “low-fat love.” Heartbreaking, raw, and beautifully executed, their unique approach to the doing of social science research will inspire scholars to further push the boundaries of what research might look like, and how it might touch and influence others.” Jessica Smartt Gullion, Ph.D., Interim Assistant Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Texas Woman’s University

“With this collection of Low-Fat Love Stories, Leavy and Scotti continue to expand curriculum and strategies for teaching arts-and-research. Low-Fat Love Stories is also an excellent text for teaching education and sociology courses about gender, sexuality, and popular culture. Best of all, Low-Fat Love Stories is a great read and a joy for lay readers, instructors, and students alike.” Susan Finley, Ph.D., Professor, Washington State University and acclaimed arts author and activist

“In Low-Fat Love Stories, we are found in each other’s stories and enter the syllables of our own becoming. Leavy and Scotti call us to honor both vulnerability and strength, and the ability to recreate a life, not hindered by patterns or limitations of one’s own perceptions. By integrating an arts-based practice and weaving textual-visual snapshots, the stories of the women in this book, catch us in an earthy and radiant tone, and we are beckoned to boldly live and celebrate our authentic lives.” Celeste Snowber, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Simon Fraser University and author of Embodied Prayer and Embodied Inquiry


  • Patricia Leavy, Ph.D., is an award-winning independent sociologist and author.
  • Victoria Scotti, Ph.D., is an art therapist and artist.


Buy this book at Amazon:
Paperback | Hardcover
Buy this book at Barnes & Noble:
Paperback | Hardcover
Low-Fat Love Stories