Novelist/memoirist Jenny Gardiner’s (Sleeping with Ward Cleaver, Winging It: Twenty Years of Caring for a Vengeful Bird Determined to Kill Me) most recent book Slim to None [Kindle Edition] was epublished in April 2010, but the delicious news is that it’s now also in Paperback, available for everyone to enjoy.
Although the cupcake on the book’s cover easily identifies the story as “food themed,” Jenny’s novel is as unique as are all the others in that category. How unique? Well the tale comes from the writer’s lifelong love of food and her constant struggle of balancing on the dieting treadmill. Knowing she was not alone in the quest to keep trying to fit into a size 6 pair of Gloria Vanderbilt jeans, Jenny decided to tackle the ups and downs of this way of life from a professional foodie’s point of view. She confessed….with relish:
“I loved the idea of taking someone who has to eat for a living then not be able to eat in order to continue to be able to eat for a living. Such a quandary! And then of course I wanted to pile her up with all sorts of issues that she has to overcome.”
The result became a novel combining realistic problems, thoughtful insights, and a share of humorous trial-and-error resolutions along the way. Here is a brief synopsis of Slim to None:
Abbie Jennings is Manhattan’s top food critic until her expanding waistline makes staying incognito at restaurants impossible. Her cover blown on Page Six of the New York Post, her editor has no choice but to bench her-and suggest she use the time off to bench-press her way back to anonymity. Abbie’s life has been built around her career, and therefore around celebrating food. Forced to drop the pounds if she wants her primo gig back, Abbie must peel back the layers of her past and confront the fears that have led to her current life.
The praise from the author’s peers has been outstanding:
“With a strong yet delightfully vulnerable voice, food critic Abbie Jennings embarks on a soulful journey where her love for banana cream pie and disdain for ill-fitting Spanx clash in hilarious and heartbreaking ways. As her body balloons and her personal life crumbles, Abbie must face the pain and secret fears she’s held inside for far too long. I cheered for her the entire way.” –Beth Hoffman, bestselling author of Saving CeeCee Honeycutt
“Satisfying as a Thanksgiving dinner at Mom’s. … Jenny Gardiner’s heroine gives us a sarcastic but provocative look at our love-hate relationship with food. You’ll eat this up in one sitting.” –Ad Hudler, bestselling author of Househusband and Man of the House
“A fun, sassy read! A cross between Erma Bombeck and Candace Bushnell, reading Jenny Gardiner is like sinking your teeth into a big frosted chocolate cupcake…you just want more.” —Meg Cabot, author of Big Boned and Queen of Babble Gets Hitched
Now (scroll down) to read Chapter 1 of Slim to None along with the added bonus of Jenny’s recipe for Banana Cream Pie. In fact there are approximately 17 recipes included in the book — everything from Chicken Soup to Pasta Salad.
Ah food, Abbie believes that almost everything in her life has revolved around it to cause her problems as well as to offer comfort. Yet, while she knows this isn’t healthy –either emotionally or physically –, the character remains reluctant to change her eating habits or even work out regularly at the gym. Her life is complicated and change would be good if it wasn’t that frightening.
Of course even one small change can cause a ripple effect and, as life as she’s known it begins to drop away, Abbie feels the weight of loneliness. How human and more realistic can a storyline be? For, at one time or another, we’ve likely experienced being an outsider, craving to belong.
This is where Jenny Gardiner shines by spotlighting the truth that no one can have it all, although it appears to be a natural condition to keep trying for that greener pasture. As she explains:
“What I loved exploring with Slim to None was much in the same vein as Sleeping with Ward Cleaver–how many people have that “‘perfect’” marriage, the “‘perfect’” life? Not many, because you’re dealing with human beings who are innately flawed and instinctually conflict is going to arise at some point—how can it not? So I enjoy sort of putting it out there, saying things that a lot of people might feel but never speak, because it helps people to realize that a) they’re not alone, and b) they’re not abnormal–they’re all part of quirky human nature, warts and all.”
On occasion, Slim to None [Kindle Edition]/Slim to None [Paperback] is as light as a souffle and can turn within a page to be a hearty, three course meal. What will likely satisfy and fill a reader up, however, is the author’s ability to evoke real feelings. So treat yourself to Slim to None, it’s food for thought yet calorie-free!
Book Giveaway: The Divining Wand is giving away two copies of Jenny Gardiner’s Slim to None in a random drawing of comments left only on this specific post. Comments left on other posts during the week will not be eligible. Also, winners will have the choice of either the Kindle Edition or the Paperback. However the contest is just for today. The deadline is tonight at 7:00 p.m. EST with the winners to be announced here in tomorrow’s post. If you enter, please return tomorrow to see if you’re a winner.
Book Giveaway: The Divining Wand is giving away two copies of Alice Eve Cohen’s What I Thought I Knew: A Memoir in a random drawing of comments left only on this specific post. Comments left on other posts during the week will not be eligible. The deadline is Wednesday, tonight at 7:00 p.m. EST with the winners to be announced here in tomorrow’s post. If you enter, please return tomorrow to see if you’re a winner.