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Good in Bed
ISBN 0743418166 / 9780743418164 / 0-7434-1816-6
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Jennifer Weiner's Good in Bed is the story of a year in the life of a late-twentysomething American woman: Cannie, a journalist on the Philadelphia Examiner, who has recently broken up with her boyfriend of three years (cue endless similarities with countless other books aimed at young Western women). Fortunately, Weiner's book has enough originality to break out from the mould, with an overweight heroine and a mother who has recently moved in with her lesbian lover. Good in Bed has its funny moments, dealing with humour and sensitivity with Cannie's status as a "larger woman", her bizarre family and her regrets at splitting up with Bruce, but there is often more a feeling of pathos than laughter. Cannie is not a tragic figure through her dress size--Weiner successfully side-steps any attempt to pity her or her fellow larger women at a weight-loss clinic, taking the humorous path instead--but through her relationship and career predicaments. It is therefore not clear why Weiner cast Cannie as a plus-size, unless to drive home the eternal fact that whatever their size, all women have the same neuroses inside. Cannie's year offers more lows than highs--with a particularly heart-breaking low towards the end of the novel, which is unlikely to be read by anyone with even a wry smile--and it therefore is not a "feel good to be a woman" novel. For laugh-out-loud writing with a dash of pathos try Shannon Olson's Welcome to My Planet, but for sensitive and ultimately tear-inducing touching narration try Good in Bed. --Olivia Dickinson [via]