Monday, December 5, 2016

Hungry Heart - Book Review

Hungry Heart: Adventures in Life, Love, and Writing
Jennifer Weiner B-
Published Oct 2016
Jennifer Weiner changed my life before I ever read her books. During the fall of 2004 I reluctantly attended one of her readings. Subsequently, I was hypnotized by her charm, her wit, and her story of becoming a bestselling novelist. She inspired and motivated me that evening. A few days later I enrolled at a local community college. A few years later I graduated from a local university. All because of that chance encounter.

Since then I have enjoyed several of her novels (Good in Bed and Fly Away Home are my favorites), and the film adaptation of In Her Shoes (very underrated). I've never been Weiner's "target" audience, and that never mattered to me. At the risk of sounding over dramatic, she changed my life. Now, twelve years after that initial encounter I still follow Weiner on social media, TiVo her on GMA (Good Morning America), and remain interested in her writing. Hungry Heart, her first nonfiction book, was especially exciting because it presented an opportunity to learn more about her life and her writing process. Plus, the book boasted that "no subject is off limits."

In this collection of essays, Weiner discusses all the usual suspects - weight, love, parenting, family, writing, etc... Some of which felt familiar (about her mother), some not so familiar (about her father), some I thoroughly enjoyed (the success of Good in Bed/the film adaptation of In Her Shoes), and some I couldn't relate to (motherhood). Hungry Heart is thoughtful and warm, but it only confirmed what I've been feeling lately- we've grown apart. Many times during this book I was struck by how impactful Weiner's experiences might be for young female writers. At times, It felt like I was privy to a conversation that wasn't meant for me, even though I was welcomed to listen.

I appreciate Jennifer Weiner. She's a fabulous role model and a champion for women. But, I'm afraid we don't have much in common, and maybe we never did? I guess this is why I'm not her target audience... and why should I be? There are plenty of books for jaded middle-aged men (like me) to draw inspiration from. Nevertheless, it's always a good idea to read broadly (it's great for the soul!).

Highly recommended for her targeted audience, you know who you are.

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