In June of 2012, I got to hear one of my favorite authors Jennifer Weiner speak at BEA Bloggers conference. Yes, I confess I was one of those wondering why she was chosen to be the keynote speaker at a blogger convention. But it doesn't matter because she was extremely funny and engaging. I remember a story about a bad smell during a reading at a bookstore. "Sorry about the smell, here's Jennifer Weiner!" At the end of her speech, I tried I really tried to get her autograph on my very worn copy of Good in Bed. But no such luck on the first day. The next day, of course I forgot to bring my copy of Good in Bed back with me to BEA. Grrrrrr!! But I had the good fortune to be the fourth or fifth person in line for her autograph the next day.
Photo proof right here. Five years later, I'm pretty sure I'm wearing the same pair of glasses. Fast forward to the present day, I've just finished reading her book of essays, Hungry Heart: Adventures in Life, Love, and Writing. After reading this book, I wish I had something pithy to say back in 2012 besides "How do you say your last name?" She did answer that question with a laugh! Or if Hungry Heart was out back in 2012, I would have said, "How do you get away with calling your mother Fran instead of mom?" Seriously that fascinates me. I've called my mother by her name once or twice and it was just to get her attention in a crowded airport! Or I might have asked have you ever met Jonathan Franzen and wouldn't you just love to tell him about the joys of Twitter and books written by women!!
But back to Hungry Heart, I liked reading about this side of Jennifer Weiner. I came to see her as more than just the person who writes about plus size heroines or the snarky tweets about trashy reality shows like the Bachelor and Bachelorette (Shhhh I've never seen either show but I feel like I have when I read her tweets). I wanted to give 16-year-old Jennifer a hug because like a lot of people I know what it's like to be called the "fat one." I read about her love for books, about her absentee father, about her struggles with weight, her delightful Nanna, her siblings (there's a whole chapter dedicated to her sister, Molly. I defy anyone with siblings to read that without laughing), and of course Fran. She's very honest about all her success and her low points, which were the hardest, but also most insightful, parts to read. The vivid descriptions of her miscarriage and her father's death left me with my mouth open. Those were deeply personal moments that she didn't have to share. But I'm glad she did.
Note: I received a copy of the book from the publisher (Atria) in exchange for an honest review.