Real Gorgeous: The Truth about Body and Beauty

Kaz Cooke, Author
Kaz Cooke, Author W. W. Norton & Company $19.95 (272p) ISBN 978-0-393-31355-0
Prebound-Other - 978-0-613-23756-7
Hardcover - 256 pages - 978-0-7475-2696-4
Hardcover - 256 pages - 978-0-7475-2147-1
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Australian filmmaker and newspaper columnist Cooke shoots as straight from the hip as Dr. Ruth when discussing body image. Although her jocular tone and clever cartoons often make this book more appropriate for young teens than adults (e.g., ``Like a little old caterpillar programmed to become a butterfly, our grown-up shapes are already decided before we are born.''), her no-nonsense pronouncements on the ultimate uselessness of moisturizer and the eating disorder- inducing tactics of the fashion industry are wonderfully refreshing. Some of this ground has already been covered, but Cooke's irreverence is all-inclusive: she reels off statistics and examples (particularly damaging are quotes from fashion magazines); doesn't wince from explaining why, scientifically speaking, ``No cream or lotion in the world will firm or shape or enlarge or reduce your breasts''; and even supplies practical advice on how to deal with (or answer back to) people who feel compelled to comment on others' bodies. Cooke tries to be funny and very often succeeds, but she is never coy or condescending, and there is plenty of serious stuff mixed in with the cheery advice. Dissections of advertisements and their phony techno-speak are priceless, and her cartoons have the same mordant wit. A complete list of resources rounds out this hefty, funny reference. (Oct.)
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