Adventures in Life, Love, and Writing
By: Jennifer Weiner
My Rating: 4 Stars
Jennifer Weiner is many things: a #1 New York Times bestselling author, a Twitter phenomenon, and “an unlikely feminist enforcer” (The New Yorker). She’s also a mom, a daughter, and a sister; a former rower and current cyclist; a best friend and a reality TV junkie. In her first foray into nonfiction, she takes the raw stuff of her personal life and spins into a collection of essays on modern womanhood as uproariously funny and moving as the best of Tina Fey, Fran Lebowitz, and Nora Ephron.
Jennifer grew up as an outsider in her picturesque Connecticut hometown (“a Lane Bryant outtake in an Abercrombie & Fitch photo shoot”) and at her Ivy League college, but finally found her people in newsrooms in central Pennsylvania and Philadelphia, and her voice as a novelist, activist, and New York Times columnist.
No subject is off-limits in this intimate and honest essay collection: sex, weight, envy, money, her mom’s newfound lesbianism, and her estranged father’s death. From lonely adolescence to modern childbirth to hearing her six-year-old daughter’s use of the f-word—fat—for the first time, Jennifer Weiner goes there, with the wit and candor that have endeared her to readers all over the world.
By turns hilarious and deeply touching, this collection shows that the woman behind treasured novels like Good in Bed and Best Friends Forever is every bit as winning, smart, and honest in real life as she is in her fiction.
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A special thank you to Atria and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Love the cover!
We all fell in love with Jennifer Weiner's fictional stories; from her very first book to the present. Her signature wit and honesty once again gives readers an inside look at the talented author (the woman behind the words) and her incredible journey. A total reveal.
A huge Weiner fan, having read all her entertaining books, HUNGRY HEART further reiterates the author’s passion and talent. Where no subject is off-limits in her essay collection: from sex, weight, image, money, motherhood, lesbianism (mother), love, dating, daughters, childbirth, social media,and her estranged father’s death.
Weiner’s first memoir is deeply honest and insightful- An empowering personal account of the author's childhood to adulthood and everything in between. Readers will laugh and cry, caught up in Weiner’s witty and heartfelt stories, and reminded of our favorite reads. You will find yourself drawn to different parts which are relatable.
"You fall down. You get hurt. You get up again. Women stories matter. They tell us who we are, they give us places to explore our problems, to try on identities and imagine happy endings. They entertain us, they divert us, they comfort us when we’re lonely or along. Women’s stories matter. A women matters, too."
Weiner always delivers stories which matter - from the heart. From her childhood dream of becoming a published author, she has taken stands, and taken the heat, and has changed the world. From a father who left, a mother which came out of the closet, her girls, a marriage.
Stories of hunger. Wanting something from the world: love, approval, a boyfriend, a husband, a sense of belonging, a way of doing some good. We all want something. Wanting is the human condition. The ifs. Seeking perfection. Learning as we get older- there is no finish line, or if there is, it keeps moving.
Jennifer entertains readers while leading us through successes, failures, fears, and dreams. She makes us laugh. Her books, and adventures– the ups and down.
I particularly enjoyed the parts about Florida and Nanna (can relate). The parts of pain, guilt, shame and sorrow, and spinning them into fiction. How they took life. From Good in Bed about weight screwed up funny families and finding happiness in spite of it all.
My Favorite Parts:
• Her second book, and one of my favorites of Weiner: (and movie), "In Her Shoes": weight, sisters, family labels. Filming in Delray Beach, FL, south of West Palm Beach and her Nanna -ninety at the time, making sure she was featured; to rank her as the number-one grandchild. (Cameron Diaz, Toni Collette, and Shirley MacLaine). Also, loved, "Best Friends Forever."
• "A Few Words About Bodies" Learning to tell the difference between hungry and sad, angry and bored. Honor each of those feeling wit what it requires. Eat when you’re hungry, cry when you’re sad, deal with your anger and boredom, but don’t stuff them down with food, or booze, or men, or pills, or whatever else might be available.
• "Mean Girls in the Retirement Home" (NYT 2015) Again, a story about Nanna. I can relate since I live in Florida in a senior independent living where everyone is so caddy. Hilarious!
• "Letters to her daughters: Lucy and Phoebe" (Time, 2015) What is coming next.
"Within the next few years, some people- not all, but some- will stop seeing you as you, and start seeing just your surface; your face, your hair, your body. They will reduce you to a body instead of seeing you as a person. If you succeed, they will whisper, or write, that you must have slept with someone important to have gotten whatever you go."
"If you speak up, they will try to shame you into silence, because—and it breaks my heart to write these words—that’s the way some people think women ought to be. My prayer is that you’ll never lose sight of yourself—all of yourself.” “Love your bodies for what they can do.”
My least favorite part of the book was the tweets (not a fan of The Bachelor). However, commend her for loving social media. “It’s where movements coalesce, where evildoers are exposed, where wrongs are righted and justice prevails.” Twitter, 29,300 funny tweets--of course, is also a "cesspit of crude, hateful misogyny, insults and name-calling and poorly considered tirades, delivered in impulsive and regrettable hundred-and-forty-character blurbs."
It is a place where she hopes, she has done some good, and a place where for sure she has had fun, a place where she has been horribly humiliated, and made mistakes and said things she regretted.
Just as her fiction has entertained women for years, HUNGRY HEART, Adventures in Life, Love, and Writing -the memoir will charm and inspire you, just as much. It is powerful, insightful, funny, smart, and courageous.
She turns herself inside out for the world to see. The woman behind the books, furthermore affirming her special gift and talent as an author, mother, and a powerful feisty woman we all admire and respect. We love you!
PS. I want to see more Jennifer Weiner action, on Younger!
Oct Must Reads
“In this generous, entertaining memoir, novelist Weiner, known for her plus-size heroines, authentic voice, and hilarious one-liners, offers her fans and others a front-row seat to the drama of her life. Weiner doggedly pursues her dream of becoming a writer who speaks to women’s lives, insisting—and proving—that women’s stories matter, and not just those of the slim and beautiful. Like her enormously popular commercial fiction, from its very first page this memoir will enthusiastically reach out to female readers and swiftly draw them close." --Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Hungry Heart is a fiercely funny, powerfully smart, and remarkably brave book. With candor, wit, and insight, Jennifer Weiner writes beautifully about her darkest struggles and brightest triumphs, about growing up and getting on with it, about gaining and losing, about herself and also—ultimately—about all of us. I was spellbound by Hungry Heart from the first page to the last.” --Cheryl Strayed, New York Times bestselling author of Wild)
"In her new memoir, Hungry Heart, Weiner turns her understanding eye on her most compelling character yet—herself—and reveals the story behind some of her most beloved books. You'll laugh, you'll cry—and in true Jen style, there's a happy ending." --Good Housekeeping
“Weiner lays her heart bare in this memoir, which is insightful and affecting and affirms exactly why she is so popular—she is gifted in the ability to write honestly and easily.“-- Booklist
"I'm mad Jennifer's Weiner's first book of essays is as wonderful as her fiction. You will love this book and wish she was your friend." --Mindy Kaling, author of Why Not Me?
“Haven't we all wondered exactly how the many-splendored Jennifer Weiner became so many-splendored? This candid, poignant, and very funny memoir tells all, and I'm confident other readers will be as fascinated and moved by it as I was.”--Curtis Sittenfeld, New York Times bestselling author
"Funny, fierce, feisty!" --Glamour
“For the first time, Weiner releases a collection of essays, and they are just as warm and funny as you’d imagine (and want) them to be. In Hungry Heart she takes on marriage, love, parenthood, and that one Summer that she was called 'the fat Jennifer' with grace, humor, and intelligence.” --PopSugar
Interview with Author
“The essays investigate what it means to live as a woman today, navigating these labels and roles and how they all fit together.” --Allure
“A beautifully heartfelt new memoir. Her honesty, charm and buoyant spirit come through on every page of this hilarious, wise, putting-it-all-out-there book."--BookPage
"The New York Times best-selling mastermind behind fictional characters such as Cannie Shapiro bares her soul in a series of essays about family, writing, and body image. Weiner’s first journey into nonfiction, this aptly titled memoir chronicles her childhood and adult life with a dose of wit. Like the protagonists of her novels, Weiner’s voice is relatable and poignant as she shares the struggles that shaped the woman she is today."-- Library Journal
About the Author
A #1 New York Times bestselling author, Jennifer Weiner’s books have spent over five years on the New York Times bestseller list with over 11 million copies in print in 36 countries.
She is the author of the novels Good in Bed (2001); In Her Shoes(2002), which was turned into a major motion picture starring Cameron Diaz, Toni Collette and Shirley MacLaine; Little Earthquakes (2004); Goodnight Nobody (2005); the short story collection The Guy Not Taken (2006); Certain Girls (2008); Best Friends Forever (2009); Fly Away Home (2010); Then Came You(2011); The Next Best Thing (2012); All Fall Down (2014) and Who Do You Love (August 2015).
Jennifer Weiner grew up in Connecticut and graduated with a degree in English literature from Princeton University. She worked as a newspaper reporter in central Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and Philadelphia, where she wrote a series of popular columns for The Philadelphia Inquirer. Now a Contributing Opinion Writer for The New York Times Op-Ed and Sunday Review, Weiner’s recent contributions – “Mean Girls in the Retirement Home” and “Another Thing to Hate About Ourselves” – rose to the top of the “most emailed” lists and have been picked up by newspapers and media outlets across the world.
With over 95,000 fans on Facebook and 108,000 followers on Twitter, Weiner appeared on Time magazine’s list of “140 Best Twitter Feeds.” The magazine hailed her “must-read” live “Bachelor” tweets, noting that “rarely has there been such an ideal pairing of material and writer.” Forbes magazine ranked her second on their list of “25 Working Moms to Follow on Twitter”: “Tune in for hilarious shards of brilliance.” A recent New Yorker profile demonstrated how much influence this “unlikely feminist enforcer” has had on her culture, celebrating Weiner’s “lively public discussion about the reception and consumption of fiction written by women.”
Weiner has appeared on numerous national television programs, including The Today Show, CBS This Morning, and CBS Sunday Morning, and has been published in dozens of newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, Seventeen, Redbook, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, and Good Housekeeping. Most of her essays are featured on her website, where she started her blog in 2002. Jennifer can also be found on Facebook, and, in real life, Philadelphia, where she lives with her family. Read More