This is a review of the novel 'Good in Bed' by Jennifer Weiner. Set in 1999 (and written around that time) the book follows reporter and aspiring writer Cannie Shapiro through a year in her life.
Cannie is a plus sized reporter. I could never exacly work out just how plus sized as it's all in American sizes and they confuse me! But she is larger than the average woman and this is a running theme through the book.
She is pining for her ex, Bruce, who is also a reporter and is moving on - she finds out about this through his magazine column 'good in bed' which is all about the men's perspective of love etc, and he's dating new people much to her upset. A brief reunion ends up in Cannie becoming pregnant and Bruce not wanting to be involved. Meanwhile, Cannie's career takes off with her screenwriting, all thanks to a random friendship that starts with British film star Maxi.
**What I liked**
I enjoyed reading this book, but found the title and cover picture a little misleading. A pair of naked legs and a cake? When it's not really about this!!! Probably not a bad thing...
Cannie is a likeable and confident character who is humourous throughout the highs and lows of her lives. Her little dog Nifkin helps keep her sane and she clearly has post natal depression after the baby is born prematurely and your heart goes out to her as she shuts herself off from the world.
**What I didn't like***
There's a scene where she meets a man walking his dog and they arrange to go on a date which is a flop. I thought this could have been built up a bit better than just having Cannie slink out the back door with her food in a takeaway parcel.
I also found the scene where a famous actor she has lusted after for years gives her some attention - possibly fancies her but he passes out and I just didn't get the wow factor or much surprise from Cannie that this famous person was after her.
This was quite a good book, plenty of things go on in it to keep you interested. Whilst I wouldn't say that it blew me away exactly, I liked the different take on how plus sized people can be attractive and successful in life.
There is a hint of a new love interest through the book and you do find yourself crossing your fingers that it will work out for both of them, but I won't say what happens in case you choose to read the book at any timein the future!
I thought the title was a bit misleading and clearly chosen to sell a few more copies of the book. However, this was Jennifer Weiner's first novel and I would read other books by her in the future.
Good in bed is written by Jennifer Weiner and was the first of her 4 novels.
The novel is about a plus sized, local newspaper reporter, Cannie Shapiro. Cannie was dating Bruce, a columnist for Moxie magazine, for three years. Three months after they split it came to Cannies attention that Bruce had written a story on her called good in bed. Needless to say Connie is not happy, especially as she is described as a big girl and all of their private details are well... no longer private.
We then go through the ups and downs with Cannie throughout the novel, some incidents are hilariously funny and things start to look up for poor, unlucky in love Cannie... but then things take an awful twist.
The book was not what I expected, it is described as "a fresh, funny feast of a novel" but I feel this is misleading. Cosmopolitan described it as "wildly funny and surprisingly tender" I believe this to be the most truthful statement. You really feel for poor Connie during her bad times but the novel is humorous especially when she reads the article about herself and the descriptions of how she feels.
It wouldn't be a book that would come straight to mind when recommending a novel to read as it is fairly average, although enjoyable, I would not wish to read it again any time soon, I wouldn't say it was a real page turner. I really enjoyed the beginning of the book when the humour was at its best but felt uncomfortable during the darker side of the novel, I felt there was something missing form it.
If you are looking for a heart warming novel with humour then this is the book for you.
Jennifer Weiner has also written Goodnight nobody, In her Shoes and Little earthquakes.
I picked up this book, 'Good in Bed', the debut novel by Jennifer Weiner from a Bookcrossing spot in Derby last week. This book, was first published a few of years ago so it has had time to get as far as the charity shops and also into book crossing. What is nice about a free book is that you can risk trying books that you probably would not normally buy. The title of this book would certainly not grab my attention but I read the blurb on the back and thought I had nothing to lose so I took it. I have got to admit that my expectations of it were not very high but thought I could just pop it back in to the book crossing shelf next time I'm in Derby but I found I was quickly in to the book and was not at all tempted to give it up.
Despite the rather suggestive title this is not a book about sex nor in actual fact there much reference to sex and certainly no raunchy scenes that I remember so if this is the sort of book you enjoy, I'm sorry because you will be very disappointed. The main theme of the novel is to challenge the prejudices and perceptions of our modern society particularly towards people who are overweight and in particular how this attitude affected the heroine of this novel.
I did find it quite a refreshing change to have a heroine who was not 'Miss Perfection' in shape as many novels do make the heroine a touch too good to be true. The heroine is 28 year old Candace (Cannie) Shapiro who is a writer/journalist on the 'Philadelphia Examiner '. She has a great sense of humour and with her very quick wit describes herself as being 'hit with the fat stick'. Initially I imagined a Bridget Jones type of person but as the story develops I do believe she was a little larger still than Bridget Jones, she talks about size 16 and as the novel is set in America then this is size 18+ over here.
Despite the fact the novel is set in the USA there is very little scene setting around the geography or feeling of being in America. It could really have been anywhere as the country did not really make any difference to the story or influence the way the novel or characters developed or behaved. There are passing references to places such as California but for quite a long time I was not really aware of the fact that Cannie was American at all ( apart from the silly name I suppose).
When we first meet Cannie she has just broken up from her boyfriend, Bruce Guberman and she is feeling very down. She has a number of lovely loyal friends who offer support. She also has a somewhat scatty but very loving mother who is divorced from Cannie's rather negative and selfish father.
Picking up on the father we learn in the course of the novel that Cannie's father has a lot to answer for with regard to how Cannie feels about herself and her weight. Apparently he was quite pointed and barbed in his remarks to Cannie as she was growing up, telling her that, ' No man wants a fat girlfriend' and other such comments. The fact that her father then left the family and made no effort at all to keep in contact reinforces Cannie's belief that she must be so unlovable that even her father left her and is ashamed to be with her.
Cannie also has her very loving and supportive mother who is also a bit 'round' but dresses very smartly and seems to cope with her weight. The only thing is that after Cannie's father left her mother met a 'friend' who then moved in with her and became her 'life partner'. Cannie is not sure how to deal with her mother's change in sexuality late in life and finds in slightly embarrassing. It does not help that she does not like Tania very much and that Tania has moved in to her former home and changed things including making Cannie's room into her hobby room so Cannie feels ,yet again, rejected by a parent
Already Cannie is not happy about her weight and things becomes even more of an issue when former boyfriend, Bruce begins to write articles in a regular column, 'Good in Bed' for a magazine called 'Moxie'. The articles begin with one titled ' Loving a Larger Woman' in which Bruce reveals that he was all too aware of Cannie's size :
'I will never forget the day I found out that my girlfriend weighed more than I did......I knew that C was a big girl....bigger than any woman I had ever dated before......I never thought of myself as a chubby chaser......loving a larger woman is an act of courage in this world.'
Anyone who read an article like that about themselves would be upset, as indeed Cannie was. Obviously all her friends know the article is about her,she finds it humiliating and it does nothing to lift her already low morale. Cannie had been unaware that Bruce found her weight an issue in their relationship so this was another blow to her already rock bottom self esteem. In fact Cannie is so affected by the article that she decides to seek medical advice and join a slimming programme overseen by a doctor who specializes in helping over weight patients.
Bruce continues to write his articles in the magazine which not only hurt Cannie more but they also show that Bruce is successfully moving on with his life after their relationship split. Cannie makes a gesture and attends the funeral of Bruce's father despite these unpleasant articles as she was very fond of Bruce's father. Then, this is the part I find very difficult to understand, she ends up comforting him in bed at his mother's house! Why the h....l would you sleep with someone who had put you through all that misery?
The story continues through Cannie's next year with emotional ups and downs. She has some very loyal and supportive friends and she has some interesting experiences and quite a lot of fun too. The author writes in an easy style with an element of humour sprinkled throughout the novel. It is a little predictable but that did not spoil the story. The journey travelled by Cannie was more important than the end.
Throughout this journey Cannie had some fairly big issues to deal with, her weight, a big break up with a long-term boyfriend, a bitchy and competitive boss at work, her mother's 'coming out' and taking in a same sex life partner, the death of someone she was fond of and others that I won't go in to because it would spoil the story. Cannie goes from insecure and lacking in self esteem, at the start of the book, through to deep depression at one stage. Her friends struggle to help as they are pushed away. I am sure anyone who has been through real depression would empathize with the heroine at this stage.
Reading back through I feel I have made this sound very depressing and hard work but it is not. The author uses a lot of humour and there are lighter moments interspersed throughout the story. It is not a gripping read in the way of a thriller but more a relationship novel but I enjoy books when I feel I get to know the characters and I did feel that I could be a friend of Cannie's. I suppose that it is chick lit but I personally feel that the author took her book a little deeper than the average chick lit read and touched on a few deeper issues such a personal weight issues, damage to children inflicted by thoughtless parents, and depression but that she handled these in a easy to read and interesting story.
As I said initially this would not have been a book that I would have chosen to read had I been selecting from a book shop but given that it was free through Bookcrossing I thought it was worth a try. I am glad that I have read it as I did enjoy reading this story and certainly would select another book by this author, Jennifer Weiner, if I saw one in the future. Apparently her next novel is called 'Certain Girls' and after this come others including, 'Little Earthquakes', 'In her Shoes', 'Best Friends Forever', 'Goodnight Nobody' and others so I have afew to look out for.
Published by Pocket Books ISBN 0-7434-4102-8 and available through Amazon from 1p plus postage. I'm passing mine on to my daughter in London so it may well turn up being Bookcrossed down that way.
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OK, I have a confession to make, I bought this book because I'm, erm, somewhat rubenesque. In the end this book has become one of my favourites on my shelf.
In a world of skinny protagonists Cannie makes a refreshing change, after breaking up with her boyfriend he writes an article about how she's larger than he is (well, we've all that that happen to us haven't we!).
The rest of the book follows Cannie as she comes to terms with her ex, her weight, and, well I don't want to spoil the ending so I'll just say I found it to be one of the most emotional and touching I've read.
If you're a fan of chick lit you really must read this book!
'Good in Bed', the debut novel by Jennifer Weiner, was first published a couple of years ago. As it has been around for a while now, I stumbled across my copy at the local gala and managed to pick it up for the grand total of 20p! Because I had got the book for next to nothing, I have got to admit that my expectations of it were not very high and I thought that I would end up abandoning the book half way through, wishing I had not even bothered. I couldn't have been more wrong!
I settled down in my dressing gown one evening, with a steaming hot mug of coffee for company, to begin reading. All of a sudden, my husband dropped the remote control (which doesn't happen very often!), leapt off the settee and enthusiastically grabbed the book out of my hands. He had seen that title and thought that he was in for a treat, wrongly assuming that I had bought some kind of saucy manual!!
Although there are a couple of 'moments' to whet your appetite, this book isn't all about sex as the title would suggest. It is about the prejudices and perceptions of society today, and the effects that this has on one person in particular.
Candace (Cannie) Shapiro is a 28 year old American writer/journalist who is admittedly overweight and describes herself as being 'hit with the fat stick'. This in itself sets the book off to a great start as she is not the typical waif-like heroine who is favoured in books and films. Just what we like to see - a woman with curves!
We join Cannie at a time in her life when she has recently split up with her long term boyfriend, Bruce Guberman - an experience which most of us know is not a pleasant one.
She is just getting her life back on track after picking up the pieces, only to learn that Bruce has got a new job as a writer in Moxie, a popular womens magazine. He has been given a regular column entitled 'Good in Bed' and she is horrified to find that the subject of his articles is her!
Some of the words i
n his first article strike a huge, harsh blow....
'Loving a Larger Woman'
'I will never forget the day I found out that my girlfriend weighed more than I did......I knew that C was a big girl....bigger than any woman I had ever dated before......never thought of myself as a chubby chaser....try to buy her lingerie on Valentines Day and realise that the sizes stop before she starts....loving a larger woman is an act of courage in this world.'
Although the article seems cruel, I don't think Bruce means it to be nasty towards her. He is just drawing on his own personal experiences of dating Cannie and giving a male point of view. She takes it personally though...and who wouldn't!
Cannie didn't realise that he saw her in this way...didn't know that her weight was an 'issue' in their relationship. She feels humiliated and betrayed. How could he publish this in a national magazine? I know that if it had happened to me, I would be mortified!
The story that ensues is an emotional rollercoaster covering the trials and tribulations of Cannies life over the next eventful year.
She is plunged so low after 'the article' that she feels she has to go to the extreme of signing up at a weight management clinic. She wants to be thin!
Cannie hides her misery well as she seems to be a feisty and funny character but, we begin to realise over the pages that her underlying insecurities and lack of self esteem are indeed very strong. This is not as a result of Bruces article, or the fact that she is carrying a few extra pounds. Throughout the novel, the story digresses to moments, experiences and memories of her childhood, teenage years and career. Most of which are elements that have greatly contributed to her low self esteem.
We learn that Cannie has had somewhat of a troubled upbringing, including a father who left when she was in her early teens (never to be seen again) and a late-in-life-lesbian mother who came out at the age of 56 and is now living with her 'life partner'!
The absence of her father has been the source of subconscious torment over the years. His lack of love has made her think 'if my own father doesn't love me, who will?'
On top of all this, she is being upset by the regular column written by Bruce, telling the whole of America how he is moving on. Just what she wants to hear!
Basically, this book revolves around Cannie trying to come to terms with her past, present and future. This involves dealing with some very big changes and the subsequent turmoil in her world.
After an overwhelming year (with a fantastic outcome!), Cannie learns to confront her demons and overcome her problems to eventually become a much stronger person.
Its not all serious doom and gloom though as you would probably imagine. A certain amount of humour has been written in to make this an easy, entertaining read. Add a bit of romance, heartache and trauma, and you have the recipe for a great story. I wouldn't class it as compelling (as the description on the front of the book says) but I would certainly say that it had me engrossed. Some parts are possibly predictable but its really nicely written and is truly tender in parts....I even shed a tear or two!
The main subject broached could result in this book being patronising or even insulting to some people but I don't think it is - it has been handled very well. It is well written with what seems to be an understanding, maybe due to personal experiences of the writer herself.
This is a bit of a girly novel that I think is bordering on the verge of chick-lit. It?s not quite cheesy enough to be fully fledged!
Overall, it is a tale that will touch the hearts of most people for one reason or another....definitely worth a read but don't forget the tissues!
Published by Pocket Books. Priced at £5.99 (but look out for it at your local car boot sale!)
Cannie Shapiro is overweight and her size makes her feel uncomfortable and self-conscious. When she goes to the beach she covers the rolls with a sarong. Sounds familiar, we are conditioned to think that thin is beautiful and fat should be hidden. At the beginning of the book we hear that 28 year old Cannie is a journalist, writes a column about the famous for the Philadelphia Examiner. She had ended her 3 year relationship with writer Bruce Gruberman 3 months earlier by saying that she wanted a break. She is fine with that until she picks up a copy of Moxie, a popular women’s magazine. There she reads an article by new columnist Bruce called Loving A Larger Woman. The first sentence of the article says: ‘I’ll never forget the day I found out my girlfriend weighed more than I did’. He goes on to let the readers know that he never thought of himself as a chubby chaser. Cruel you think until you read further and see that he understands that her hefty 5’ 10” well covered body makes her feel bad when really to him big is beautiful. He ends the article by saying: ‘Loving a larger woman is an act of courage in this world, and maybe it’s even an act of futility. Because, in loving C., I knew I was loving someone who didn’t believe that she herself was worthy of anyone’s love. And now that it’s over, I don’t know where to direct my anger and sorrow. At a world that made her feel the way she did about her body – no, herself – and whether she was desirable. At C., for not being strong enough to overcome what the world told her. Or at myself, for not loving C. enough to make her believe in herself’. I included those sentences from the book because they struck a chord with me. Some people can live happily with being overweight but for many every extra pound means miserable self-consciousness and guilt trips – straight to the kitchen cupboard usua
lly! The bigger you get the less desirable you feel and you start to believe that is the way that others perceive you. I wondered if any of my partners had thought loving me an act of courage at the times in my life that I’ve been overweight. Cannie is very hurt that Bruce could discuss her size with the huge readership of the magazine. She knows that people who know her will read the article and realise that it’s about her. Cannie cries her heart out, gets drunk and cries a lot more. She rings Bruce in anger but then ends up missing him and wishing that she hadn’t ended the relationship. Her mother Ann calls round to Cannie’s flat to offer her comfort and advice. Not welcome because she has a problem with her mother. Ann came out of the closet in her mid fifties and is living with Tanya who Cannie resents too much to give her a chance to get to know her properly. Cannie’s father a plastic surgeon who was very critical of her, walked out on the family when she was twelve. He disappeared from her life leaving her with much insecurity about herself. Her only consolation is her little dog Nifkin, named after a naughty part of the male anatomy. Nifkin had never really got on with Bruce – dogs know you know. Before the article Cannie and Nifkin were drifting along quite happily, but suddenly her life was in turmoil and her insecurities came to a fore. She tries to get her life back on track by deciding that she wants to get back with Bruce, pesters him with phone calls which he always ends and becomes increasingly distant. She blames her size on a lot of her misfortunes and decides to join a fat clinic where some humour is introduced. Good In Bed is described as ‘wildly funny and surprisingly tender’ on the front cover. I have to disagree with it being wildly funny. I found the book amusing in parts but never found myself laughing out loud. I grinned when I read about Cannie going to a
New York hotel to interview film star Maxi. The interview was cancelled by an over zealous agent who was afraid that Cannie would ask awkward questions that would expose the real Maxi to her fans. She got her interview after a touching meeting in the ladies toilets and a drunken girlie night out where the over protected film star was allowed to be herself for once and not act like the image built up for her. Surprisingly tender, yes it is. The story is set over a year and each month a new article appears to hurt Cannie. She reads how Bruce misses her but then gets a blow-by-blow account of how he moves on. I found the book true to life in that I could identify with the emotional turmoil felt at the end of a long-term relationship. You end things for the right reasons and are jogging along quite happily with your life then a few weeks or months down the line something happens or you suddenly miss your ex partner and put yourself through the emotional grinder wondering if you made the right decision. Usually you have but sometimes you have a re-run just to make sure. Will Cannie? I’m not telling. I enjoyed reading Good In Bed but I found it an interesting read rather than compelling. I was able to put it down easily but always looked forward to reading a bit more the next night. Perfect for me when I am tired and just want to read a little to help me relax before going to sleep. There isn’t tons of sex as the title and front cover might suggest, but that would have spoiled the book for me anyway. Instead of finding it wildly funny I found it an amusing, thoughtful read. It was well written enough for me to be able to visualise Cannie’s world and understand her feelings and turmoil while she comes to terms with everything that is happening around her. The ending was unexpected but it wasn’t one of those books where you are trying to figure out the outcome from word go. It is a story that takes you through a period of
lots of big and unexpected changes in Cannie’s life and you learn how she deals with them. Not always well but it’s nice to read about somebody who isn’t perfect – just like the rest of us. This is the second book that I’ve read recently with an overweight heroine and what a refreshing change it is to read about characters who aren’t the stereotyped skinny beautiful heroines that you often find in novels. Unfortunately both were classed as humorous – we big girls don’t just do humour but it’s a good job we can laugh. Good In Bed was Jennifer Weiner’s first novel, published in 2001. Jennifer is a staff writer and columnist at the Philadelphia Inquirer. It is said that it’s always best to start writing about something you know and Jennifer gives a real feel of what it’s like working as a journalist, adding a great background to a pretty good story. I will certainly look out for her second book ‘Get In Her Shoes’. Good In Bed can be found on Amazon for £5.59. ISBN 0-7434-1528-0
It's rare that a book provokes me into writing this sort of review given that I usually try to focus on the positive aspects. However, 'Good in Bed' is one of the leading candidates for the most irritating, pointless, inane pieces of (and I shudder to call it this) literature I've come across. This book was leant to me by a friend, whether or not it was meant as a joke I'm still not sure but to be perfectly honest this is a waste of a tree taking up shelf space in book shops where they could simply have left the shelf empty and it would have been more productive. I've a feeling the term for this type of book is 'chick lit' (not rhyming slang either) which could explain why I didn't get on with it, but then it could also be that after the first 120 pages, Julie Weiner comes to the conclusion that the book is going to finish too early so she must span it out for another 179 (and it feels much more) or so pages with a series of vacuous characters, more coincidences than a Shakespeare comedy and a conclusion that is as flaccid as narrative itself. 'Good in Bed' is the tale of Candace Shapiro, a mid-late twenties middle of the road female journalist, whose boyfriend, Bruce, decides to make her the feature of his own newspaper column. Unfortunately the first title of the column is 'Living with the Larger Woman' which, as the reader realises, is not the most complimentary headline he could have concocted, especially not when Candace realises that the thinly-veiled name he has given the subject bears a distinct similarity to hers. Bruce swiftly becomes an ex leaving Candace to spend a few chapters wallowing in her own self-pity before she decides to join a slimming club. Unforuntunately there is a brief but significant reunion between the two at the funeral of Bruce's father (bet you weren't expecting that!) which introduces the main part of the plot. Regardless of the ending that we can
all spot a mile off, Weiner now leads her heroine off into the sunset with her new found friends for a spot of Thelma-and-Louise style female bonding and male bashing (oh, and shopping, naturally), the most important friend being Maxi the movie-star model who is disillusioned with herself and her career.Indeed, after about 2 paragraphs of her irritating, self-absorbed whinging, we are equally despondent. If I make any reference to the rest of the novel, including one of the soon to be met characters, I'll ruin the climax of the book (which you'll guess after about 100 pages anyway) but if you make it this far and the book is still in one piece then you've my every admiration. Apart from the loose plot, unispiring dialogue, cliched ideas and general absence of any talent or original thought on show the rest of the novel seems to be okay. This is a book to be avoided with a passion!
Jennifer Weiner's Good in Bed is the story of a year in the life of a late-twentysomething American woman