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Friday, December 17, 2010

Good in Bed

Chick lit has been controversial this year.  Jonathan Franzen was recognized and applauded for freedom before it even came out.  Jennifer Weiner and Jodi Picoult decided to speak out about what they perceive as unfair media bias against women writers.  For some reason I'm drawn to situations where media types get all hot blooded so I decided to check out some of the books Picoult and Weiner have written to see what they're talking about.

I started with a used copy of Good in Bed, I hope Ms. Picoult and Ms. Weiner don't think that I'm going to be giving them any money to figure this out.  I'm afraid that unless you can produce some compelling cover art, I'm not going to be buying any new books.  My bookshelf is stacked two layers deep, I just got an unexpected bonus at work and I have a used bookstore coupon that's going to get used along with some of that bonus money.  Mr. Franzen won't be seeing any royalties either because I was able to pick up a big hardcover copy of The Corrections at the used book store as well.

Let the battle begin.  Jennifer Weiner's Good in bed is the story of a writer named Cannie who works the celebrity section of a newspaper.  Her ex-boyfriend gets a job at a national women's magazine writing a column called "Good in Bed".   The boyfriend writes about their relationship.  Cannie is overweight and the boyfriend writes about how challenging it is to date an overweight woman, which is of course our heroine Cannie.

I'm honestly reaching for ways to compare this book to other media I've consumed but the only other girly media that comes to mind is the day I was stuck with nothing else to do and ended up watching Bed of Roses in Lake Powell.  I think I may not have been sober that day either but I do remember the stalker flower salesman randomly chasing down some woman and then one of them deciding that they were having second thoughts.  I'm still perplexed at how having second thoughts about a perfectly normal relationship is a plot driver, in fact I'm not even sure that most men have second thoughts.  In fact many of the situations I've been in make me wonder if I even am capable of forming complete first thoughts.

Some of this book was fascinating.  There was a chapter where Cannie described going to college and getting her job in fantastic detail.  Jennifer Weiner showed some amazing talent in parts of this book, some parts though were rough, so rough that I'm surprised that anyone let it go to print without another re-write.  The ending was happy, Cannie got everything she wanted, it certainly didn't happen the way anyone would want it to happen but it happened nonetheless.

From a literary standpoint this book was average.  I need to finish the Picoult and Franzen before I make any kind of judgement about media bias and the subjugation of women's fiction but comparing this to other books it is a pretty lukewarm bowl of soup.  It wasn't terrible enough to send it back but it wasn't good enough that I'd call it memorable without the controversy.

2 comments:

  1. I think you were very kind in your review. I think the book was awful, completely jumping the shark in a few places, starting when she went to LA, and again when she went a little crazy towards the end. I found it to be a very unsatisfying, yet I couldn't put it down. Like you said, the author had moments of brilliance, just enough to keep you hooked, unfortunately they were few and far between. There were relationships that could have been explored more deeply, and I feel like it ended too soon. It was if Jennifer Weiner knew she had a certain number of pages to write and got 90% done and thought, ooops I better wrap this up! There is a sequel which I may read - it starts when the baby is now a teenager. Might be interesting to see how the characters are developed in it.

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  2. Well I've read much worse and remember the point is to compare it to Franzen, who's books I haven't read yet. The reviews on The Corrections are very mixed so Weiner and Picoult may actually be better authors.

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Hey I appreciate you leaving your thoughts behind! Be well my friend.