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Review: "Hungry Heart" by Jennifer Weiner

I started reading Hungry Heart: Adventures in Life, Love, and Writing by Jennifer Weiner because my mom suggested it. According to her, the book had “something in it for everybody.” At first I was skeptical. How could Ms. Weiner have enough in common with an 18-year-old to keep me interested? But, because I try to do what my mom suggests as often as possible (which is less often than one might think), I dutifully began reading.

I quickly realized two things throughout Weiner’s memoir. 1) Hungry Heart really did deal with everything and 2) I connected with it. A lot. Throughout the 400-something page book, Weiner discusses – among other things – relationships, family, motherhood, feminism, The Bachelor/Bachelorette, dogs, college, body weight, fitting in, Twitter, and writing her own novels. There were times I laughed (mainly at her tweets regarding The Bachelor) and times I wanted to cry (mostly during the parts regarding her family or how hard she tried to fit in). While some might argue the style wasn’t “unbelievable,” I thought Weiner wrote in a way that could speak to, well, just about anybody.

Personally, I liked Weiner’s takes on body image and writing. As a girl in today’s world, it’s hard to remember that we’re worth more than our external appearances, especially when female protagonists in movies etc. are rarely fat. (Thank gosh Gal Gadot qualifies as a goddess in Wonder Woman so we humans don’t have to feel bad in comparison.) Because of this, it’s essential to note that even if someone is overweight or doesn’t have perfect skin doesn’t mean she isn’t beautiful too. Weiner for her part discusses how hard it was for her to be overweight growing up. No matter what tops or shoes she bought, she felt her heavier stature prevented her from fitting in. Even into her successful professional career, it seemed her weight was something that never quite went her way. Eventually, though, Weiner learned to be happy with herself and confident in her looks, a process and conclusion that was incredibly inspiring. Weiner’s story helps hone in on the point that the only important opinion about your appearance is the one you yourself hold. If you can learn to love who you are inside and out, that’s enough.

Weiner’s work as a writer interested me as well, because that is something I hope to pursue. My favorite part about her experience was when she talked about turning down an offer to publish her novel, Good in Bed, because to do so she would have had to make her main character ‘lose a few sizes.’ As an aspiring writer, I understand how many rejections writers face – how they can plaster their walls with letters of “Thanks but no thanks.” But I have rarely heard of an author gaining the offer to publish and then turning it down because the publisher’s vision was different than her own. The fact that Weiner did this taught me (and I hope others) important lessons about writing and life as well: Stick up for what you believe, don’t compromise yourself just for a position or a contract, and don’t let someone else change your vision.

All in all, Weiner’s memoir perfectly mixes heart-breaking and heart-warming content. It’s an ideal way to pass a few summer afternoons, because not only is the book funny and engaging, it’s also one that resonates with its readers. Whether you are interested in discovering Weiner’s various experiences or you just feel like reading something that will probably make you smile, Hungry Heart is a book worth investigating.

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