Book Review: Good in Bed by Jennifer Weiner

I had been interested in reading Good in Bed for a few years now. I used to work at Borders Books & Music and of course, in such a setting, I came upon several hundreds of books that I had made mental notes of to read, forgot about them, life went on and on and on; but Good in Bed has always remained on my mental ‘must read’ book list. With a title like Good in Bed, I hardly cared about what the story was about, the book cover and name alone eluded to chick lit, which is super fabulous to indulge in after long days and just wanting to relax in the bath tub, in bed, on the couch, outside in a lawn chair, I just knew in my bones that the book was for me. Knowing very little about the book at first, I put it on my ‘to-read’ list on Goodreads and through the love of books and book sharing, an acquaintance who knew of me through a website I run mailed me a copy of the book.

Upon completion, and even a little less than halfway through the book I knew my intuition about this book was right; it was a book that I needed to read and it is a book that I will cherish for some time to come.

Good in Bed has been quite heavily compared to Bridget Jones’s Diary, which I am also a fan of and can see where people are coming up with the comparison, however, the main character of Good in Bed, Candace “Cannie” Shapiro, is by far superior in wit alone. Cannie is a hilarious, full of character woman who has used her sense of humor and sarcastic wit to cover up the negativism she has felt about herself for quite some time.

Cannie is a larger woman trying to live her life in a world of Hollywood and size 0’s and 00’s. Being a woman who wears a size larger than a 4 sometimes has a difficult time living their life in a world where if you turn on the television, open a magazine or go see a movie, you are bombarded with images of what everyone else thinks you should look like. Cannie gives us women whose left breast couldn’t fit into a size 0 shirt a voice–A brutally honest, no bullshit, real voice. Her life is pretty much together–She has a successful career as a reporter for a Philadelphia newspaper, an apartment she shares with her beloved dog, Nifkin, whose name gives you the first glimpse of how packed with humor this book is, and loving, supporting family and friends. She had broken up with her boyfriend Bruce a few months prior, saying that she had wanted a break and was happy with the decision she had made. However, Bruce is also a writer who had gotten a good gig writing a feature piece in a nationally published magazine every month entitled Good in Bed and his inaugural piece was about Cannie entitled “Loving a Larger Woman” where he compared her physique to Monica Lewinsky.

Cannie then decides that it’s time for her to make some positive life changes and enrolls in a weight loss study in hopes of losing weight. Also on her list of plans is that the man she broke up with but is now starting to miss and want back, will look at her after she loses her weight and want her back. After trying Weight Watchers and several other diets that didn’t work, the new weight loss study and course that Cannie decides to try involves weight loss drugs which seem promising. At her classes, she meets the doctor who is running the course, Dr. K who later becomes a great friend of hers and possible love interest.

Through the story, Cannie goes through ups and downs when it comes to coming to terms with the Bruce debacle and things only get worse for her when Bruce’s father dies unexpectedly. Through her means of trying to comfort him, but him only pushing her further and further away and the next few months of columns he writes for the magazine praise a new girlfriend Bruce has in tow, Cannie begins taking a closer look at her life and figuring out through the never ceasing anger she has for Bruce and that in reality, she isn’t angry with Bruce, she is still angry at her father from her childhood years who abandoned her and his family which in turn has transformed her siblings and even herself, regarding how she feels about herself and her weight. At an early age, Cannie’s father would introduce people to his daughter and say that while she wasn’t a real beauty, she made up for it in brains and would also tell her that no one would want to see her naked and that she was too fat. Cannie’s father, whom she calls The Original Abandoner becomes the person in her life who she realizes she had given too much power to.

Through the steps Cannie takes to make her life better, she meets a woman who she was scheduled to do an interview with, Maxi Ryder, a Hollywood actress who Cannie later finds out also has problems of her own and just because you may be rich and skinny, it doesn’t mean that you’re happy. Cannie’s life forever changes through the pages of Good in Bed, some good and means for celebration and some bad, but by reading Good in Bed, you realize that you can’t make someone love you, how you look to someone physically holds no barrier to how they may feel about you, weight is not something to be hung up about because there is so much more good in the world that you could be experiencing instead of standing in front of the mirror wishing you could be slimmer, and that while things in your life may seem hopeless, the people who love you the most are going to be there to help you through it.

Cannie does indeed become a slimmer version of herself towards the end of the book, in a time of utter despair, and it is then that it doesn’t really matter because she has bigger problems in her life that need to be tended to. The people who love you do not love you because you may be a size 0 or have long, shimmering blonde hair. The people who love you are there for you when you need it the most, they are the ones who can see you at your worst and love you just as much as they did when seeing you at your best and that is a life lesson that Jennifer Weiner hit spot on.

Good in Bed is an excellent book that makes you laugh and makes you cry. It makes you look at your own life and how you see yourself and realize that just by being yourself, you’re good enough for anyone and the problems in your life that you don’t think you can make it through are the ones that make you who are you and with the love and support of your family and friends, you can get through anything.

3 thoughts on “Book Review: Good in Bed by Jennifer Weiner”

  1. Good review.Problems come in everyone’s life but it certainly needs to be handled the ways one wants in order to carry on in life with it or without it.If one goes along with it and is able to achieve what one wants makes one happy.But if one is without any problem, is happier the fact that such a situation never arises.But i am sure everyone come across something or the other.Ones positive approach accepts it and ones negative approach would not accept and hence become unhappy in life.

  2. I’ve been curious about this book myself. I’m not generally a big fan of “chick lit” (though I did enjoy Bridget Jones) but reading your review I might have to check it out. I’m an actress, and a large woman and I can understand the issues this book raises.

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