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Kiki Overthinks Every Thing
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Kiki Overthinks Every Thing
October 6, 2005
Picturing Cameron Diaz as the Bitch Helped
Mood:  chillin'
Now Playing: In her Shoes by Jennifer Weiner
Topic: Book Reviews

About a month ago, I saw an ad online for the movie In her Shoes with Cameron Diaz and Toni Collette. This chick flick is based on the book of the same name by Jennifer Weiner. I read Jennifer's first book, Good in Bed, because it had a plus-sized protagonist. I ended up hating GIB, because the ending ended up reading like a cheesy soap opera plot. You could see the mistakes the main character was going to make a mile away. In Her Shoes seemed liked a better plot, so I picked it up about two years ago. I couldn't even get through the first chapter before I wretched. However, I judged the book too harshly.

Once I saw that they had made a movie out of IHS, I decided to give it another chance. Plus, imaging Cameron Diaz as the bitch sister helped immensely. At first, I found the 500-page book daunting but soon I was devouring the book like a pint of cookie dough ice cream.

Younger sister Maggie is a rebellious teenager stuck in a 28-year-old's body. She drinks and has sex recklessly, and is incredibly selfish. She often blames her learning disabilities for her actions. She actually just lacks self-esteem. Older sister Rose is the more responsible sister who feels compelled to take care of her screw-up of a sister although Maggie is never grateful. Rose is established in her career, smart, single-minded but heavyset. She makes herself invisible with dull clothes, makeup and hair. She too lacks a certain self-esteem.

Maggie's story is well thought out, and you can almost believe her character arc. Rose's story, no pun intended, is less fleshed out. You're never fully aware as to why she continues to help her sister besides familial obligation. Maggie and Rose also discover they have a long, lost grandmother in Florida. Her name is Ella. Ella brings the sisters together into a mutual and loving relationship, and rediscovers her family.

It is a wonderful story divided into three parts. Despite the length, I went through the book in about ten days. I was unable to put it down once I got past the third chapter. I was dying to know what came next. It didn't hurt that I got to imagine Cameron Diaz as the "dumb sister" who was the world class manipulator although she had "learning disabilities."

After reading the book, I am certainly excited to see the movie. I'm curious how mean they're going to let Cameron Diaz be as Maggie. Since her wonderful performance in Being John Malkovich, Diaz has only played the lovable kook. (I'm not counting that three hour bore Gangs of New York.)

Out of five stars, I give the book In Her Shoes three and a half stars. I give Good In Bed two stars.

Good in Bed is a painful book to read because the main character, Cannie, is so unpleasant. She is full of bitterness for the father who abandoned her, and the ex-boyfriend who writes about their relationship in a woman's magazine. She also loathes her mother's lesbian lover and is generally unaccepting of their relationship. (Which is odd because she longs for her size to be accepted by society.) You hardly want to root for her.
Cannie is a woman in need of good therapy and a hug. She's so full of self-loathing that she makes the most hideous decisions that you can see coming a mile away especially when it comes to her ex-boyfriend Bruce. Cannie hides her pain through jokes and sarcasm, but it wears thin.

Cannie is also a very physical woman, which real-life studies say should help her have a higher self-esteem. She turns to exercise like some women turn to comfort food. This was the best aspect of the book, because most plus-sized women are portrayed as couch potatoes.

The book does become soap opera-ish when she becomes best buds with a thin movie starlet and nearly loses her baby. I forgive this because it's fiction. But do yourself a favor, and borrow this audio book from the library.

Posted by Kiki Shoes at 4:01 PM EDT | Post Comment | Permalink
Updated: October 6, 2005 6:55 PM EDT

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