Good in Bed by Jennifer Weiner

October 19, 2009

good in bed Plot summary (with spoilers): Candace “Cannie” Shapiro is a Philadelphia-based entertainment writer whose world is turned upside down when she reads a magazine column penned by ex-boyfriend Bruce. It’s about “loving a larger woman”, and is part of his “Good in Bed” series. Cannie is absolutely horrified by what Bruce wrote about her, as she never thought he cared about her size 16 frame. But now that his feelings are out in the open and he has humiliated her, Cannie’s sense of self-esteem goes down the proverbial drain.

Cannie ends up joining a “fat study”, where participants go to get counseling on how to lose weight, like by controlling portion size and exercising on a treadmill, and gain access to experimental drugs. The leader of the group is Dr. K — Peter — a friendly man, who takes a liking to Cannie almost immediately. Dr. K’s advice, along with help from best friend Samantha, allow Cannie to at least proceed with her life.

Things start looking up when Cannie meets movie star Maxie Ryder in the bathroom of a downtown hotel. The two become unlikely friends, and after a drunken night on the town, Cannie takes a chance by giving Maxie the screenplay she had written. The screenplay sells, which propels Cannie’s life in a whole new direction.

It’s not all sunshine and roses after that, however. Cannie learns that she is pregnant by Bruce, and sends him a letter letting him know about it. He never responds, instead choosing to wrap himself up in his own life and his new girlfriend. This indifference devastates Cannie all over again, as it brings to the surface deep-seated issues she has with abandonment thanks to her father.

After a fall precipitates baby Joy’s premature birth, Cannie adopts a whole new outlook on life. She lets go of her anger towards Bruce, accepts Peter’s personal advances, and heads off in a new direction.

Liked:

  • Cannie was a likable protagonist, despite not being your stereotypical gorgeous, together woman. She seemed like a regular person, was completely relatable, and was the kind of character you could imagine having as a friend.
  • There were some very engrossing sections in the book where I almost couldn’t put the thing down. It’s odd to think about Good in Bed this way, because the overall effect wasn’t that great. But there were definitely stretches where I couldn’t wait to find out what happened next.
  • I have mixed feelings about Cannie’s friendship with Maxie. On the one hand, how likely is it that a movie star would become fast friends with a Philadelphia reporter who was nothing like her? On the other hand, I think we all have had that fantasy at one point or another, the one where we’re sure that a favorite celeb would be friends with us if they only had a chance to get to know us. It was cool reading about this friendship between a movie star and a regular gal, so I was willing to suspend my disbelief about how the relationship started.
  • The “Good in Bed” columns were realistic and seemed like something I would read in one of those cheesy women’s magazines that Moxie was clearly supposed to mirror.

Disliked:

  • At times, the plot seemed to just meander all over the place. Maybe it’s just because I’m used to reading crime novels, where there’s only one overriding goal (catch the killer) throughout the entire book, but I had a hard time figuring out what was supposed to be going on here half the time. In some places, events just piled one after another; in others it seemed like nothing was happening. The book was very uneven overall.
  • I didn’t like how everything worked out perfectly for Cannie. I mean, everything. Her baby recovered, she got a nice man, she sold her screenplay, she became friends with a Hollywood starlet… she even lost all her extra weight before deciding that wasn’t who she really was. I don’t know, maybe this is the norm for chick-lit, but it just felt like too much for me.

Rating:
Good in Bed was the first Jennifer Weiner novel I’ve ever read, but it probably won’t be the last. It wasn’t a great book or anything, but there were enough positives to leave me open to trying another title from this popular author. I give this book 3 stars out of 5.

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