Up for Renewal: What Magazines Taught Me About Love, Sex, and Starting Over

Cathy Alter, Author . Atria $24 (322p) ISBN 978-0-7432-8840-8

Realizing she needed to do serious work on her junk food/junk sex–littered lifestyle, Alter, a “recently divorced thirty-seven-year old” freelance writer, decided to spend each month of the coming year following the advice of a major women's magazine “without question.” She picked nine titles focusing on a “how-to ethos” more or less aligned with her own demographic: Elle , Marie Claire , O , Allure , Self , Cosmopolitan , Glamour , InStyle and Real Simple . Each month she'd work on a particular “damage zone”—diet, social fears, clothes, relationship snafus, cooking, sex, etc.—and follow the advice of her chosen magazine as earnestly as possible. Meanwhile, she'd also begun dating a new guy, which brought up relationship challenges her magazine mentors loved to address—spicing up the sex, learning to cook instead of eating out and deciding if his birthday present meant a marriage proposal was imminent. While she ends up feeling positive about the self-improvement her magazine experiment has brought, she knows if she hadn't been ready and willing to change, all the advice in the world wouldn't have helped. In the end, fans of Bridget Jones will also enjoy Alter—she's funny and endearing. (July)

Reviewed on: 04/07/2008
Release date: 07/01/2008
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 272 pages - 978-1-4165-8042-3
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-0-7432-8841-5
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