cover image Thin Is the New Happy: A Memoir

Thin Is the New Happy: A Memoir

Valerie Frankel, . . St. Martin?s, $23.95 (243pp) ISBN 978-0-312-37392-4

Prolific author Frankel (most recently, I Take This Man ) was only 11 when her mother put her on a diet. She went from 100 to 88 pounds in six weeks, making her mother ecstatic, although she gained back four pounds right away. Frankel learned a basic lesson: she could enjoy eating or “have approval,” but not both. Although she blamed her mother’s “fatphobia” for her unhappy childhood, from middle school on her peers were her cruelest tormenters. As she got older, her “bad body image” translated to “anorgasmia”; research shows that women who feel unattractive often develop sexual dysfunction. Later, working at Mademoiselle , where so many co-workers had eating disorders, she realized that an obsession with diet was one way of avoiding life’s thornier issues. In her 40s, Frankel decided to jettison all the emotional baggage she was carrying about her weight, to free herself, finally, from dieting. After hiring a photographer to shoot a portfolio of her nude, having a friend help her find her personal style in clothing and coming to terms with her husband and her mother over fat issues, Frankel finally got rid of her body-image negativity. (Sept.)