I consider myself a bit of a Jennifer Weiner connoisseur. I’ve read all her books and short stories, watched her short-lived TV series “State of Georgia” and laughed at her live-tweeting during “The Bachelor.”
Yet even I—a borderline creepy Jen Weiner fan—was surprised by many of the personal details she divulges in her beautifully heartfelt new memoir. Hungry Heart is about all the phases of Weiner’s life: an awkward Jewish teenager in suburban New Jersey, a Princeton student, a bestselling writer, a twice-married mom of two girls.
“You fall down. You get hurt. You get up again” is the book’s refrain. And while she seemingly lives a charmed life, Weiner has had her share of falls. She writes poignantly about her father, a successful doctor, who was doting when she was young but then left the family and died a drug addict. It was only after his death that Weiner and her siblings learned that he had fathered another child. She shares the searing details of a miscarriage after an unplanned pregnancy in her 40s. In another chapter called “Carry That Weight,” Weiner writes about her nearly lifelong struggle with body acceptance.
“You deprive yourself until you’re weak, faint with hunger, embarrassing yourself by drooling every time an Applebee’s commercial comes on,” she writes. “Then you cram whatever’s handy down your trough, and you don’t even taste it, and you eat more of it than you’d intended, and you hate yourself even more. Rinse, repeat.”
Ultimately, though, Weiner has found peace with her body—and her life. Her honesty, charm and buoyant spirit come through on every page of this hilarious, wise, putting-it-all-out-there book.