Carre Gardner's Reviews > Thin Is the New Happy

Thin Is the New Happy by Valerie Frankel
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's review
Apr 06, 2011

really liked it

One woman's memoir of her lifelong struggle with body image and the 20 lbs that kept cropping up over and over in her life, holding as much power over her as though they'd been 200 lbs, convincing her that she was ugly and unlovable...until she learned to conquer her issues once and for all. I read myself on every page, but I had to award it only 4 stars because frankly, it's pretty profane and the author is unapologetic about the promiscuous lifestyle she led during various decades of her life...causing a couple of chapters to reads like a "How-To-Contract-a-Communicable-Disease" handbook. So...boooo on morality and character, but the weight issues rang as loud and clear for me in these pages as they have rung in my actual life. I couldn't stop reading.

My favorite chapter was the one on wardrobe, and how we define ourselves (or refuse to) by the way we dress. This is something I've believed all my life, but especially since I lived in Europe, where women of all sizes and income brackets dress carefully and look beautifully... a opposed to my home state of Maine, where women of those same sizes and income brackets tend to dress like they just rolled out of a boxcar, in the same clothes they've slept in for the last 2 days. Frankel's advice--straight from the mouth of her friend Stacy London (of What Not to Wear fame) is encouraging and inspiring.

My other favorite chapter was where Frankel confronts the man who (as a boy) made her life miserable in Junior High with his malicious teasing about her weight. The adult Frankel, on the cusp of some long-deserved self-confidence and already a successful author many times over, talks to this man, intent on righting some old wrongs, only to find the grown-up version of her tormenter a pitiable non-achiever who lived out his glory days at the age of 17. Huh. Reminds me a little of my own life.

Maybe that's why I liked this book so much.

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