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Friday, July 31, 2009

Thin Is the New Happy by Valerie Frankel~★★★

Author: Valerie Frankel
Title: Thin Is the New Happy
Release Date: September 2nd, 2008
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Genre: Memoir

Book Jacket: "You've heard the phrase 'the mirror is not your friend.' For Valerie Frankel, the mirror was so much more than 'not a friend.' It was the mean girl who stole her lunch money, bitch-slapped her in the ladies' room, and cut the hair off her Barbie.
If you're like 99% of women, the war you wage with yourself over your body image begins at the ripe age of eight, and the skirmishes are fought for the next eight decades. Sometimes you don't even know when you've won. (How many of us have taken out a photo from high school and thought, 'Hey! I looked great---why didn't I know it?') This book is for anyone who has spent most of her life on---or thinking about being on---a diet. It's for anyone who ever wished for candlelight in dressing rooms. It's for anyone who has ever owned a pair of "fat pants." In short, this book is for anyone who ever felt good or bad about themselves based on how they looked.
At age eleven, Val Frankel was put on her first weight-loss program. As a teen, she was enrolled in Weight Watchers (for which she invented creative ditching methods). As a young woman, her world felt right only when she was able to zip a certain pair of jeans. Not wanting to pass this legacy on to her own daughters, Valerie set out to cleanse herself of her obsession. Thin Is the New Happy is the story of one woman's quest to exorcise her bad body-image demons, to uncover the truth behind what put them there, and to learn how to truly love herself. It's a poignant, hilarious, and all-out honest account of one woman's struggle with body image---the filter through which she's always seen the world---and the way she ultimately overcame it."

Taryn's Review: While Valerie Frankel's book was entertaining, there was something about her book that was also a turn-off, although I can't exactly pinpoint what that might be.

I had a glimmer of "Have I read this before?" during the chapter about Frankel's first husband's death and then it dawned on me; I think I had read that excerpt in a magazine before, possibly something like Glamour. I remembered reading the heated letters from readers who were aghast at Frankel's admittance that she was pleased to see herself thinner while her husband was dying. I don't think Frankel's admittance was that shocking; I know a young woman who used the death of a loved one to stop eating and she lost 30 pounds and was also pleased. I think Frankel just highlighted a little-discussed dieting trick that some women do use, and are only able to use given the right circumstances.

Valerie still suffered emotionally from the hurt her mom caused, but her mother Judy would not admit to any wrongdoings. It was sad when Frankel tried to talk to her parents about the past and they both shut her down quickly. Therapy would probably help Frankel work out those past issues seeing as her parents feel they did nothing wrong.

Frankel tried to be really funny, but sometimes it felt like she is masking her real feelings with humor. I did crack a smile, but I never found her to be hilarious. I enjoyed reading her memoir and agreed that many woman do struggle with weight, but by the end of the book I was ready for it to be over. I was tired of obsessing over weight with her. I didn't find it eye-opening in any sense, but it's quick read that will pass the time with a few smiles and nods of agreement.

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