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Speed Shrinking

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“Proust had a cookie. Susan Shapiro has a cupcake—and a really hilarious book.” —Patricia Marx, author of Him, Her, Him Again, the End of Him   In Susan Shapiro’s laugh-out-loud funny fictional debut Speed Shrinking , Manhattan self-help author Julia Goodman thinks she’s got her addictive personality under control. Then her beloved psychoanalyst moves away at the same time her husband takes off to L.A. and her best friend gets married and moves to Ohio.
            Feeling lonely and left out, Julia fills in the void with food, becomes a cupcake addict, and blimps out. This is a huge problem—especially since she’s about to go on national television to plug her hot new self-help book about how she conquered her sugar addiction.             Navigating her insurance network, Julia desperately sees eight shrinks in eight days, speed-dating for Dr. Replacement—or any other new guru—to help shrink back her body and anxiety in time for her close-up.  

320 pages, Hardcover

First published January 1, 2009

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Susan Shapiro

33 books132 followers

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5 stars
34 (14%)
4 stars
47 (20%)
3 stars
71 (30%)
2 stars
57 (24%)
1 star
25 (10%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 43 reviews
Profile Image for Becca Adler.
33 reviews1 follower
February 15, 2011
This was a really fun quick read. I would recommend this book to anyone who has been to a therapist and/or has body image issues. Perhaps it's because I firmly identified with the protagonist (to like a book I always have to relate to the characters in some way) but I thoroughly enjoyed Speed Shrinking. While I didn't necessarily agree with some of the choices the protagonist makes the author writes in such a thoughtful and astute way that I couldn't help but really like the character.
Profile Image for Rachel Kramer Bussel.
Author 200 books1,129 followers
August 4, 2009
Speed Shrinking is a fun, cupcake-filled, search-for-a-shrink romp by noted memoirist Susan Shapiro, which also provides some sly looks at the business of book promotion, weight issues, father figures and very Manhattan mania. Self-help guru Julia Goodman should be at the top of her game, having conquered her many addictions through the help of Dr. Ness, her beloved therapist, found a hot husband, and written a bestselling book, Up in Smoke. But when her pregnant best friend leaves town, her husband is off to LA for work and her therapist, who, in many ways is both the hero and antihero of this offbeat love story, moves away, she feels alone, and turns to cupcakes for comfort. And shrinks, many, many shrinks.

She sets off to find the perfect therapist, who’ll give her exactly what she needs (tough love), one who’s covered by her health insurance, in a hilarious, neurotic journey where she ponders whether a cigar is just a cigar, hires a nutritionists, has occasional cupcake binges, and questions the premises she’s built her life on. When she learns that her therapist may have betrayed her, she wonders whether he’s worth the guru status she’s given him. Meanwhile, she’s competing with her fellow authors and warding off rumors that she’s pregnant because she’s gained so much weight.

This madcap journey will be appreciated by any woman who’s ever worried about her weight, anyone who loves cupcakes, and anyone who’s spent time on either side of a therapist’s couch! Julia’s wackiness has you rooting for her in her quest to get thin, and to finally get at the heart of her issues (though watching her breeze from one potential solution to another will give readers plenty of laughs even as it gives Julia a meltdown).
May 3, 2012
If you've ever had a therapist, been in therapy, known people who've become addicted to therapy, or ever needed therapy, you have to check out Susan Shapiro's new novel, Speed Shrinking.

Speed Shrinking follows self-help expert Julia Goodman, whose books on quitting booze, pot, cigarettes, and diet soda have made her something of a household name. Goodman credits her success to her no-bullshit therapist Dr. Ness. But when the good doctor moves to the other side of the country at the same time her husband is called to L.A. to work on a television pilot, the one-two losses sends her seeking comfort in the figurative arms of her most formidable nemesis: junk food.

The emotional spiral--and attendant weight gain--couldn't have come at a worse time for Goodman; her latest book Food Crazy is being released, and she's slated to appear on the Today Show. Most people would find a new shrink, but Julia, never known to take the path most taken, takes things a little further--by test-shrinking eight therapists in eight days in an attempt to get back to her pre-binge svelteness.

If it sounds crazy, that's because it is. But it's also funny, well-written, and a brilliant debut novel from essayist, mentor, and nonfiction author Susan Shapiro. No one renders the addictive nature of the therapist-patient tango like Shapiro. You'll become as addicted to reading it as I did!
Profile Image for Riki.
524 reviews33 followers
June 21, 2012
Susan Shapiro brings us self-help "guru" Julia Goodman, who seems to have lost all she holds as stable and steady in her life when both her best friend and her psychoanalyst/editor/sounding board/obsession move away from her. Although Julia at times comes off as self-centered and myopic, I found myself rooting for her to "speed shrink" her way to a thin physique and a healthier outlook on life. Any woman who has ever felt conflicted about food will identify with Julia's tendencies towards the occasional all-out cupcake icing binge.

I love the way Susan Shapiro brings Julia's therapy sessions to life with quick, realistic therapy dialogue. As someone who has visited her share of "shrinks," I felt right at home in the offices of Dr. Ness and the handsome Dr. Cigar. In true-to-life fashion, not every relationship Julia tends ends up as fulfilling as she'd hoped, but it sure is a fun ride along the way.
Profile Image for Melissa Lee-Tammeus.
1,425 reviews32 followers
October 3, 2011
Loved this book - this is chick lit for the intellectual. Plot centers on a neurotic, eating-obsessed, addictive, loveable character who self analyzes alone and with numerous therapists as she balances career, marriage, the decision to not have children, and the role of deception in getting what we want and need. It does not preach, but comes in the side door to discuss women's issues such as self medicating with food and dealing with loss. This is a cute way to analyze Freud, understand psychotherapists are weird too, and that we all need a midnight cupcake or ten now and then.
137 reviews1 follower
November 12, 2010

This book set a new record for me. Usually, I try to give a book about 100 pages before I decide not to finish it, but I could only tolerate 22 pages of this banal drivel before I could not tolerate any more. We chose this book for our book club based on the idea we could eat cupcakes at our meeting to go along with the book. Never again should we chose a book based on what we can eat during book club!
3 reviews
December 19, 2015
Shapiro's frenetic style drew me in immediately to the personality of Julia Goodman, a successful writer with a deep need to both meet and defy the expectations of others. Speed Shrinking shows how the pursuit of fame and skinniness can drive a sane person to distraction. But through it all, I was chuckling as I identified with things I did before I learned to slow down. It was an eye opening read.
Profile Image for Kathleen.
1 review
January 31, 2013
The title "Speed Shrinking" caught my eye at the library bookshelves. I was curious about the different ways that the author would portray therapists of different persuasions and how it would interpret Julia's angst and ruminations about her own life. I got some laughs and enjoyed the sprinkling of Yiddish words throughout this book.
Profile Image for Catharine.
41 reviews21 followers
March 20, 2010
Susan takes getting her head straight - life and directions - to a new level with Speed Shrinking. If you haven't read it, or any of Susan's other books, get to them fast. This is one fine writer with a wicked wit and delightful self-deprecating humor!
Profile Image for Christi.
1,078 reviews6 followers
September 8, 2009
cute, fun, fast read
the main character stayed endearing when she easily could have come off as too neurotic, too intense, too self-absorbed
but the balance between her "guru" personality and her "real" self kept her likable and interesting
Profile Image for Christine.
837 reviews8 followers
March 7, 2010
A hilarious tale about a NYC authoress who's both obsessed with food and therapy and can't seem to do without either.
Profile Image for Elizabeth Good.
193 reviews12 followers
January 29, 2020
The title itself points to some of the cleverness of this book (the main character is urgently consulting shrinks, to shrink her body). It’s fun but also “real” in some of the issues if one has dealt with food, diet and body image issues. Not my absolute favorite in this genre, but the genre addressing these issues in a light, engaging manner is a very specific, small pool to choose from so ultimately I loved this book for even being written and published.
577 reviews
September 9, 2017
Hectic.
Not a personality I could deal with even as an acquaintance.
Maybe some psychological insights
are explored?
Not laugh out loud funny to me.
Profile Image for Mamie.
105 reviews3 followers
December 20, 2017
Easy, quick read; got me laughing out loud at times. A little slow in the middle, but it was fun and unusual--an entertaining idea for a book!
14 reviews
December 29, 2022
A solid 3 stars. This book is fast paced, and of an interesting topic. The writing style can be better, but still not awful.
Profile Image for Rachel.
723 reviews12 followers
February 13, 2012
Speed Shrinking is the story of self-help author Julia Goodman. Julia's addictive personality is under control until her best friend gets married and moves away, her therapist also moves away, and her husband goes out of town for an extended period for work. Julia falls apart and goes on several cupcake binges. Now she might look fat when she goes on tour for her latest book, which is about overcoming food addiction. Julia decides she needs a new therapist to fix her up.

I read this book for my book club. The woman in my book club who picked it chose it because it had several blurbs on the back promising that it was a "laugh-out-loud delight" and "hilarious". None of us in book club found this book even mildly amusing, let alone laugh-out-loud funny. Julia is so self-absorbed and obsessive that she is completely unlikeable. Her interactions with her therapists are repetitive and get her (and the reader) nowhere. She never really learns to dig deeper and end her superficial obsession with the numbers on the scale.

This book is the first work of fiction by Susan Shapiro, who has written several self-help books herself. It reads like a memoir and I have a sneaking suspicion that it's autobiographical. If that's the case, I wish the author would have just written a memoir instead of trying to present this book as a lighthearted, funny chick-lit book. Cause that it ain't.
Profile Image for Red Kedi.
478 reviews20 followers
November 25, 2013
Parliamone. Tutte noi abbiamo un problema di dipendenza e la maggiorparte è colpa dei dolci. Quanti di noi riescono a resistere ad un dolcettino colorato e apparentemente godurioso? Ve lo leggo negli occhi, è una tentazione irresistibile... Ci sono però dipendenze e dipendenze, alcune sono solo frutto di una follia interiore, proprio come la nostra protagonista.
Una scrittrice di libri di aiuto che ha bisogno di aiuto... assurdo, no? E invece è così che va la vita della nostra Julia. Una donna fragile che si aggrappa a mille scuse per affogare i suoi problemi di abbandono. Fragilità o piccolezza personale? La linea è sottile, e lo è anche la mia capacità di tollerarla. All'alba della maggiore età è ancora legata in maniera bambinesca alla migliore amica come se fosse parte di se stessa, permalosa come solo un bambino di tre anni sa essere, intrappolata nella visione perfetta della figura smilza (che deve rimanere tale a tutti i costi)... Insomma, una persona che mentalmente non è mai maturata. Eppure, le basta entrare nel caos qualche mese, avrere un'esperienza fugace fuori dal matrimonio e di colpo ecco la donna che avrebbe dovuto essere da qualche anno.
Scritto sicuramente bene e scorrevole ma ragazzi, sembra di leggere il diario di una ragazzina!
Profile Image for Lisa.
1,953 reviews
November 26, 2009
The main character has an addictive personality. She's already overcome some of her addictions and is a self-help guru. The problem is, she can't help herself. How original is that? Now that her best friend and shrink have moved away and her husband is filming a TV show across the country, she can't control her junk food binges and is obsessed with finding a new shrink and getting her ballooning weight down before her next book about conquering her food addiction comes out. Because, of course, she has to go on national TV and can't do that with all the weight she's gained. And the way in which she solves that problem reminds me of one of Jennifer Weiner's books. Not terribly original. Healthy, but not very original. I have a sugar addiction myself, though not to the extreme that Julia does. In fact, this book takes everything to the extreme, which made it hard for me to get into. Some plot devices just didn't seem plausible to me, like the way Julia and her best friend Sarah's friendship disintegrated.
Profile Image for Merredith.
1,020 reviews22 followers
September 5, 2010
I started reading this, and i liked it. I looked up the author, and found out that the book is sort of autobiographical, as it seems to mirror the description of the story of her memoirs. Her best friend since they were little kids ups and moves away with only a few days notice, and then proceeds to ignore her, even through a pregnancy and having a baby. Her therapist, who she's addicted to, leaves too. And for a few months, her husband has to go to LA for a job, but he comes back. This makes her have a nervous breakdown of sorts, and start eating sugar again. So, her husband seems like a good guy. Her therapist sounds crazy. And her best friend seemed like a really bad friend and someone who should be dropped. the main girl herself is kind of annoying. BUT i got to learn a lot about sugar addiction and addictive personalities. By the middle of the book it was kinda ugh and by the end i finished it just to finish it. It had such promise at the start then kinda flopped.
Profile Image for Jeni.
69 reviews6 followers
September 7, 2009
This book was interesting. It's about a girl obsessed with losing weight while gorging herself on cupcakes, and obsessed with seeing Shrinks. A lot of it seemed repetetive, but parts were funny. It did have some language, which it could have done without.

The main character gains some weight at the beginning of the book, and losing weight basically takes over her life.. Not one of those, "be happy with who you are" kind of books. I think by the end, that is what the author wants you to feel, but by then its too late. You already feel like crap for however much you weigh.

It was light hearted, and funny, and I enjoyed reading it (besides the language), but at the same time, it wasn't the best for the self-esteem. I'd give it 2 1/2 stars if I could, but I couldn't so I rounded up.
Profile Image for Emma  Kaufmann.
94 reviews44 followers
January 20, 2010
A totally neurotic new yorker defines herself as a workaholic even though she writes one pseudobabble book every two years and on top of that has a dietician, publicist, personal trainer, someone to tweeze her pubic hairs etc. So basically a really unlikeable neurotic and then we are meant to be fascinated by her jumping from shrink to shrink, sort of speed dating shrinks, looking for someone who will fill the deep gaping hole within. Well the writing wasn't interesting enough and going from shrink to shrink meant you never go to know any of them and ended up making me want to strangle the shrink not to mention Susan Shapiro. Get a life!
Profile Image for James Henry.
276 reviews1 follower
October 3, 2016
Not gonna lie, the first fifty or so pages are rough. It reads like typical surface-level "chick lit." You think you know where it's going, and it's nowhere interesting. But, eventually, "Speed Shrinking" reveals that there is a lot more going on under the surface than you initially thought. This is the story of a Complicated Woman who revels in how complicated she is. She's a walking contradiction, a self-help guru who can't help herself. She spends her life analyzing every thought, impulse, and emotion that goes through her brain but hasn't figured out a way to put it all together.
Profile Image for Jane.
338 reviews3 followers
June 2, 2011
Bait and switch title and I can see why: The idea of speed shrinking - seeing many shrinks for the same problem (or in this case non-problem) in a short time is a great idea and plot device, but it's not actually much of what happens in this book. The main character and her adventures and her internal dialog are all awesome, but after a while I just want to say "You are fine! Shut up!"
Profile Image for Oriyah Nitkin.
329 reviews20 followers
March 3, 2021
Would have been mildly fun to read but it was essentially a self-hating , fat-shaming manifesto.

Books are sacred in my world, yet this one (a hard cover with book jacket, no less) is being torn and chucked in the recycling bin.

I kept hoping it would turn around into some sort of worthy self-acceptance, but it never went anywhere productive, and so, goodbye.
Profile Image for Allyson.
53 reviews2 followers
October 28, 2009
The neurotic lead character is stressing me out. I've read 168 pages and that's enough to know I need to read something more relaxing. I can't relate to this character at all. Well, maybe not at all since the descriptions of her many shrinks was funny as I've done something similar before.
Profile Image for Michelle.
216 reviews
January 19, 2016
February - book #15

(i read one of Shapiro's other books - 5 men who broke my heart - a while back and was happy to stumble across this one. funny, lots of psych talk, and friendship talk. another good, quick read.)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 43 reviews

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