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Good in Bed: A Novel    by Jennifer Weiner order for
Good in Bed
by Jennifer Weiner
Order:  USA  Can
Washington Square, 2002 (2001)
Hardcover, Paperback, Audio, CD, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Candace - Cannie - Shapiro discovers that she is the 'C' written about in her ex-boyfriend's magazine column, 'Loving a Larger Woman'. Hurt beyond belief and embarrassed by Bruce's depiction of their relationship, she tries to hate him but finds instead that she is still in love with him.

This is the story of a young woman who comes to grips with herself and how she looks. Learning to live with not being the world's ideal woman, Cannie finds, is not the easiest thing to do. The author writes a modern day fairytale with intelligence and sensitivity. She makes you care about Cannie, groan when bad things happen to her (even in fairy tales not all goes the way we would like it to) and cheer when she gets the upper hand. Weiner gives us the woman's point of view without her novel becoming a force for women's rights.

Good in Bed is a wonderful read - funny, witty, deeply insightful, and full of love, caring and the antics of its heroine's little dog Nifkin - I'll let you enjoy discovering for yourself what the meaning of the dog's name is.
[ib:Reviewed by G. Hall
^bic]G]ood in Bed has such a provocative title and a sexy book cover, that one does not know what to expect, or whether one should hide the cover if reading it in public. It turns out to be a wonderful first novel that is both very witty and also insightful and poignant.

In real life the author Jennifer Weiner is a writer for the well-regarded Philadelphia newspaper. The book's protagonist, and one assumes her alter ego, is Cannie Shapiro who writes columns on the entertainment industry for the fictional Philadelphia Examiner. Good in Bed turns out to be the title of a monthly column written in Cosmopolitan look-alike magazine Moxie by Cannie's ex-boyfriend Bruce.

As the story starts, Cannie is horrified to read that Bruce has written a column titled 'Loving a Larger Woman' about his ex-girlfriend 'C.' In it Bruce talks about how he tried to make 'C' know he loved her as she was, but she never had the self-esteem to realize that. Although the column appears to be caring and understanding, Cannie is mortified to see it in print in such a widely-read magazine.

At first the book seems like it may be an American version of Bridget Jones's Diary. But that would do it a disservice, since Good in Bed is so much better. It has the comic moments of Bridget, but also is much more perceptive in understanding the pysche of a smart, well-liked and attractive young American woman who still feels she is a failure since she is fat. And Cannie is truly fat, not like the ridiculous Bridget who wailed when she was 5 pounds above her perfect weight.

In the book we meet Cannie's sympathetic old friend Samantha, her newly lesbian mother and her partner, the traitorous Bruce, and her new pal movie star Maxie Ryder. We learn that much of Cannie's feeling of inadequacy stem from her childhood with divorced parents and a verbally abusive and critical father who eventually totally absented himself from her life. As the book progresses Cannie struggles with her weight and her residual feelings for Bruce. Some of the funniest moments occur during sessions at a university weight control clinic. When Cannie becomes unexpectedly pregnant her life changes forever and almost founders, but she eventually finds a new sense of pride in herself just as she is.

Good in Bed is a must-read for anyone who has ever struggled with her weight and the bigger issues to be confronted in this thin-obsessed society. It is also both a very entertaining novel with hilarious comments on modern life from the perspective of a young single woman and a very perceptive look at how one's early experiences become the prism through which one views the rest of life.

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