Best for: Someone looking for a quick read that has only a marginally absurd premise
In a nutshell: Journalist Cannie Shapiro deals with many different issues, kicked off by the fact that her ex is writing a magazine column about her.
Line that sticks with me: Nothing stood out enough to underline.
Why I chose it: I became aware of Ms. Weiner because of the chapter about her in Too Fat Too Slutty Too Loud and thought it’d be fun to check out her work. Starting with her first book.
There is so much to enjoy about this book, and one storyline that dropped the rating for me. I’ll talk about what I loved first (mild spoilers below).
I’m 6 feet tall and technically overweight (per BMI, which I know is bullshit, but whatever). I’ve never purchased a button-down shirt that I can actually get to close across my bust. What I’m saying is, as far as her feelings about her appearance go, I could certainly relate to Ms. Shapiro. The scene in the weight loss clinic was so wonderfully written that I was practically cheering when the nutritionist went running.
I also enjoyed the bit of fantasy fulfillment that occurs in her relationship with the movie start Maxi Ryder. Maxi is such a sweet person who becomes a true friend to Cannie, that I was fine with some of the more absurd things that happened as a result of that friendship.
I also enjoyed that Cannie was a strong women in her work life. She wrote the stories she wanted, she didn’t take shit when she was brushed off, and she managed to write a screenplay that gets picked up. And I appreciated that she was complicated – just because she was able to get shit done at work didn’t mean she had everything else worked out.
But what I didn’t like was how she spoke of her mother’s relationship with her mother’s partner, Tanya. I get that other reviewers have thought that it was more about Cannie being upset the loss of her old life, but it was so heavy-handed that I found Cannie to be quite homophobic. Especially when she dismisses her (then) boyfriend’s comments about how it’s not cool to be responding this way as being too “PC.” I’ve mentioned before that I have zero tolerance for people who use the term “PC” as an insult. I’m not sure if Ms. Shapiro was trying to be edgy, or didn’t know quite how to give Cannie a personality flaw so she would be more complex, but making her homophobic (and repeatedly revisiting that) was a hugely off-putting.
I don’t think Ms. Shapiro meant that, and I’ll look to see if she’s addressed it in other interviews or essays. If not, then I’m probably done with her work. If so, then I might check out another book of hers.