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~Waking Beauty~

by Elyse Friedman

Heroine: Stout, then willowy

     At the ripe old age of 22, Allison Penny is already sick of life.  Her alcoholic mother berates her at every possible chance. The young woman is barely making it as a cleaning lady.  And she is rooming with a sex fiend who only serves to remind Allison that her own love life has always and will always be in the toilet because, in a word, Allison Penny is ugly.  Well, two words.  Not just ugly, but fat.

     But all that changes one morning when Allison miraculously awakens to find herself in a new body, one that transcends the supermodel class.  Yet after all those years of being certain that a new appearance would be the answer to the pain in her heart, Allison-the-beauty discovers that perfection personified isn't necessarily all that it's cracked up to be.     

What worked for me:

      This was a very funny book that took a tongue-in-cheek look at the realities of what a person's appearance means in the world--especially a woman's.  The choice of characters and settings were excellent, even if they weren't always fully developed.  They really helped the reader to delve into the subject of a caste system based upon personal beauty or lack thereof.

      I felt that the author made it easy to relate to Allison, both before and after her "miracle".  I fully understood the need for Allison-the-ugly to run away into fantasyland and daydream the way she did.  And I have to admit there was a certain pleasure to riding along with Allison-the-beauty during her payback times, but the vendettas I enjoyed most weren't a direct result of her new attractiveness.      

     The ly adverbs that popped up here and there kept catching my eye, but other than that I really enjoyed the writing style in this book.  Some of the visuals that the author painted were just wonderful.

      Size-wise, prior to turning into a living Barbie doll, Allison was squat, flat, and flabby with unattractive features all the way around.  But not only females suffered from beauty discrimination in this novel.  Allison's guy pal Nathan was overlooked many times because he was merely average in appearance.

What didn't work for me:    

       There were times when reading this book left me feeling downright depressed, but I don't want to give anything away so I can't tell you why.

      I would have liked to have had some concrete idea of why and how this change occurred in Allison.


       A great book for the bubble bath or beach, but there is plenty of deeper thinking here about the nuances of the human psyche that would make it a terrific subject for a women's studies discussion group.

       Warning: there are some coarse words and some sexual scenarios, as well as weight loss, in this book.

If you liked "Waking Beauty" you might also enjoy "Love at Large", "Jemima J.", "Fat Chance", "Separation Anxiety", "The Way It Is", "Inappropriate Men", "Coffee and Kung Fu", "What a Girl Wants", "Getting Over It", "Bridget Jones's Diary", "Good in Bed", "Last Chance Saloon",  and "Having It and Eating It".

Have you read this book and have a comment to make on it? Join a discussion about the book at the Dangerous Curves forum or submit a review to this website


Good-bye, Mom.

I love you and will miss you forever.


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