A Little Chick Novel Doesn't Hurt Every Now and Then
I know... I'm supposed to pretend that I'm such an intellectual, only reading high-quality literature with "grown up" words, like copious and raucous. Well, sometimes a girl just needs a little chick novel... and the one my roommate lent me recently just so happens to be a book that men would enjoy as well. Don't believe me? I was reading this book on my lunch break at the office on Friday, and about five different guys came up to me, saying how much they enjoyed that book and what a great message it has and blah blah blah.
But I digress. The book in question is Good In Bed by Jennifer Weiner, and while sex is involved, as the title suggests, that is definitely not the focus of this fabulous chick novel. Obviously, each chick book has to have the obligatory sex scenes, but what really makes Good In Bed stand out from the pack is its heroine, Cannie Shapiro, and the message she gives.
The story begins with Cannie having recently dumped her boyfriend, Bruce. Cannie discovers that Bruce has begun writing for a popular women's magazine, Moxie, and his debut column, entitled "Good in Bed," features none other than Cannie herself. Bruce's article is called "Loving a Larger Woman," which is about his relationship with Cannie, who is in fact a larger woman. While Cannie is initially outraged at being exposed in such a public manner, she realizes that the article actually shows how Bruce truly understood her - her anxiety and sadness over her size and how people perceived her, as well as her inability to truly love as a result. Cannie then decides she needs Bruce back in her life, which leads to a series of events that alters who world so dramatically that she finds herself in an entirely different place at the end of the book.
Weight is, of course, a huge issue in Good In Bed. While Cannie is definitely not obese, she is not an "All American" size four. She is a good, solid sixteen, and she spends much of the novel hating herself for it. However, she begins to learn that it is not about your weight, your looks, your job, your family... it's about you and how you feel about yourself, how you love yourself. Obviously, weight is a huge issue for all women in America, so Good In Bed definitely provides a different perspective on the subject. Men can also appreciate it as well.
Between her verbally abusive, absent father, her recently "outted" lesbian mother, Bruce and her own self-doubting internal monologue, Cannie certainly has her work cut out for her on her road to self discovery. But that is what this book is all about... discovering yourself, seeing those around you in a different light and learning what you really want in life. With that in mind, Good In Bed also stresses the idea of seeing a human being as the person he or she truly is, not just as a body or haircut or outfit. Weiner challenges you to delve below the skin and see what lies beneath. It can be scary, but the end result is infinitely more satisfying.
I read Good In Bed in two days, but I probably could have read it in one. It's such a woman-empowering book, but not in the cheesey "girl power" way. Rather, Good In Bed challenges you to look at who you are and who you want to become. Weiner shows that there are more important things in life than your weight or how you look, and sometimes it takes a mere chick novel to show you that.
On a side note, a friend of mine, whom I respect immensely, pointed out that I have only reviewed more emotional books in this blog thus far. I will strive, hence forth, to make more diverse selections for reviewing.