- ISBN-13: 9781476723402
- ISBN-10: 1476723400
- Publisher: Atria Books
- Publish Date: October 2016
- Page Count: 416
- Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 1.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-07-25
- Reviewer: Staff
In this generous, entertaining memoir, novelist Weiner (Who Do You Love), 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. Born to bookish Jewish parents (her father a physician, mother a part-time teacher), Weiner reads at the age of four and publishes her first poem in a children’s magazine at eight. Precocious, gifted, and overweight, she struggles through a suburban New England childhood and adolescence, followed by college at Princeton, where she is told she’s too heavy for crew team but gleans invaluable writing advice from such professors as Joyce Carol Oates and John McPhee. (Writers will be particularly interested in this section, and in the tale of her first published novel, Good in Bed, and its six-figure advance.) Her “fairy dust” story is not without heartache, however; weight issues plague her social life, her beloved but destructive father abandons the family (leaving her late-blooming lesbian mother to raise four kids); and after marriage and motherhood, she eventually weathers divorce and miscarriage. Still, 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. The book includes previously published essays, parenting tips, and funny Twitter feeds. 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. (Oct.)
Jennifer Weiner tells all
I consider myself a bit of a Jennifer Weiner connoisseur. I’ve read all her books and short stories, watched her short-lived TV series “State of Georgia” and laughed at her live-tweeting during “The Bachelor.”
Yet even I—a borderline creepy Jen Weiner fan—was surprised by many of the personal details she divulges in her beautifully heartfelt new memoir. Hungry Heart is about all the phases of Weiner’s life: an awkward Jewish teenager in suburban New Jersey, a Princeton student, a bestselling writer, a twice-married mom of two girls.
“You fall down. You get hurt. You get up again” is the book’s refrain. And while she seemingly lives a charmed life, Weiner has had her share of falls. She writes poignantly about her father, a successful doctor, who was doting when she was young but then left the family and died a drug addict. It was only after his death that Weiner and her siblings learned that he had fathered another child. She shares the searing details of a miscarriage after an unplanned pregnancy in her 40s. In another chapter called “Carry That Weight,” Weiner writes about her nearly lifelong struggle with body acceptance.
“You deprive yourself until you’re weak, faint with hunger, embarrassing yourself by drooling every time an Applebee’s commercial comes on,” she writes. “Then you cram whatever’s handy down your trough, and you don’t even taste it, and you eat more of it than you’d intended, and you hate yourself even more. Rinse, repeat.”
Ultimately, though, Weiner has found peace with her body—and her life. Her honesty, charm and buoyant spirit come through on every page of this hilarious, wise, putting-it-all-out-there book.