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Skinnydipping: A Novel Hardcover – May 1, 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone; First Edition edition (May 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 145166737X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451667370
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (108 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #738,493 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Bethenny Frankel, a graduate of The Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts in New York City, is the star of Bravo’s Bethenny Ever After…. Her recipes and health tips can be read monthly in Health. She lives in New York City with her husband and daughter. Visit her at Bethenny.com.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

prologue

Where are the stilt walkers? Has anybody seen the stilt walkers?

I’m calm, but I can hear the shrillness creeping into my voice as I picture the absolute disaster that will result if Andy doesn’t show up soon with the damn stilts and the people to put on top of them. The stilt walkers are essential—the dramatic cherry on top of the charity carnival. The finale of Domestic Goddess, and the deciding factor in the rest of my life. And isn’t that typical? You raise $80,000 for charity, you erect a forty-foot tent practically single-handedly, you hire and coordinate seventy-five employees, and you produce the whole goddamn spectacle, and then your life hangs in the balance because of a couple of clowns on sticks. Meanwhile, the cameras are rolling and America is watching. My failure would make just as good TV as my success, so nobody cares whether I win or not. Nobody but me. And this is just what Sybil Hunter expects. I have to make this work.

Somebody runs past pushing a popcorn cart that dribbles grease along the floor. The amplifier blares circus music, then cuts out with a crackling pop. A chunky, squinting boy in thick glasses grabs my arm—Jerome, the facility manager’s assistant I roped into helping me. He looks barely twelve years old. “The sno-cone machine is broken, one of the ponies is sick, and somebody left the banner on the floor and it got trampled,” he says, pushing up his glasses nervously.

Easy, Faith. Easy. You’ve done this before. I’d handled events bigger than this, and disasters bigger than this, too. My eyes are fixed on the wide double doors standing open across the warehouse space, where Sybil Hunter stands, backlit, imposing, the evil overlord ready to reign terror and destruction on the final challenge of what has come to be, in my mind, a sell-your-soul-to-the-devil concept: reality television. I imagine her smirk, her lust for my failure. I’m barely noticing the cameras rotating around in front of us, though part of me recognizes that my alarm is being recorded for national consumption. Tears are welling up, but I bite my lip hard, reminding myself what Sybil told me during the middle of the season, when my team lost a challenge and turned on me, the team leader. “A woman who shows weakness in this business won’t last long.”

Suck it up, Faith. This is it. Keep your eye on the prize. With a last glance at Sybil’s Hitchcockian outline, I turn to the pimply kid waiting for instructions. They come out of me like machine-gun fire: “Call the vendor and demand another sno-cone maker within forty-five minutes. Get the sick pony out of here, call a vet, call the rodeo, whatever it takes. Repair the banner—just make it look good. And for God’s sake, get Andy and Jodi Sue over here now! I need my fucking team.”

He nods and runs off. I stare at my clipboard. The list of unchecked items is three times longer than the list of checked items. I persuade a man with a mop to clean up the grease that’s trailing the popcorn machine. My eyes dart over the list, trying to prioritize at warp speed. Suddenly, Jodi Sue, eliminated contestant and disgruntled team member, is in front of me.

“I can’t find Andy,” she says in her squeaky voice, her cleavage even more evident and elevated than usual in a bright yellow wrap dress with a plunged neckline. “I finished the caramel apples, the cotton candy machine looks great with the neon, and the programs were just delivered and they’re perfect.”

“Show me,” I demand. She holds out one and I grab it. The glossy, oversized program has saturated carnival colors, balloons, clowns, and a Ferris wheel on the cover. Good, very good.

“But Andy’s still MIA,” she adds, shrugging.

“Where the hell is he? What could he possibly be doing with five stilt walkers in the middle of Manhattan?”

“I really don’t know,” she says, shrugging again. “He won’t answer his cell phone.”

“This is great. Just great. This is Shari Jacobs’s lucky day,” I mutter. I could just imagine Sybil Hunter fawning over my ex-BFF/archenemy and fellow finalist, as she pulled off her final challenge with typical high-rent perfection. I get a carnival, and she gets a baby shower for Sybil’s pregnant cousin. A fucking baby shower. I can just see the fondant baby bootie cupcakes and sterling silver rattle party favors and pink champagne. They’ll all act like best friends, trying to impress each other with how rich their husbands are.

And here I am, sweating it out, pits soaked, with swamp crotch, trying not to have an anxiety attack, and running on fumes both on this warped excuse for a television show and in my life, with just eighty-seven dollars in my bank account and a team that hates me. Everything depends on an out-of-control carnival about to go horribly wrong. I’m so damn close to winning, and I need that prize more than anything, more than anyone else on the show. I just can’t bear going back to my so-called normal life.

Now I’m sweating blood to make this event happen, and I can’t even get some paid extras on poles to show up—hell, I can’t even get my whole team to show up.

I look around: total chaos. A group of union guys tries to unroll artificial turf into the same spot where another group is trying to set up the Ferris wheel. A speaker on the sound stage wobbles and topples over with a crash, nearly crushing the woman trying to secure it to the stand. I look at Jodi Sue in despair.

“How are we going to do this?” I say. “How is this even possible?”

“Search me,” she says. “It’s your challenge. I was eliminated weeks ago, thanks to you, and I wouldn’t be here helping you if it wasn’t in my contract, because I think you’re a bitch.” She smiles sweetly.

I’m in this alone. It’s a zero-sum game.

“OK, Jodi Sue,” I say. “Why don’t you just go sit on your ass out of the way and get your cleavage ready for the stilt walkers. They’re going to have a great view.” Her mouth drops open as I spin away and set off to track down Andy. Because if I don’t find those clowns in the next fifteen minutes, I might as well not even show up at the finale. As I storm past Sybil—she stands silently, critically in the doorway with her arms crossed—I can’t help myself. “What do you think, Sybil?” I ask. “Are you entertained? Is it everything you hoped to see from me? Because you haven’t seen anything yet.”

More About the Author

Bethenny Frankel is the four-time bestselling author of Skinnydipping, A Place of Yes, Naturally Thin, and The Skinnygirl Dish. She is the creator of the Skinnygirl brand--which extends to cocktails, fitness, and health--and in 2013 she will take the stage as the host of her own talk show, "bethenny". She has been named one of the Top 100 Most Powerful Celebrities by Forbes magazine and is regularly featured in both Health magazine and Glamour. She is a graduate of the Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts. Bethenny lives in New York with her daughter, Bryn, and dog, Cookie. Visit www.bethenny.com.

Customer Reviews

This book is captivating and entertaining, a great summer read for the beach.
Pamela S. Bowman
I feel like Bethany and her publishers are just putting crap out there to make money off stupid people that watch her show and might buy the book.
L. Baxter
I started reading it and became very disappointed with the slow plot line and found myself struggling to read the book.
Sophia

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Lisa R on June 25, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I expected more from Bethany Frankel,who is a bit funny on TV, and am disappointed that she would pen such a braggy and boring "fictional" story somewhat mirroring her own life story. To me, it's just one more example of a reality star taking advantage of their fame to make money on something that will sell simply because of her name recognition instead of any talent or ability. Reminds me of all the fashion lines, fragrances, cosmetics, wine, etc. coming from reality stars that are such a joke. Save your money!
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Doree Kohles Bebee on June 17, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Not sure if the fictional story worked in this case. The story was so close to a biography of Bethenny's life. I found myself trying to place actual names to the characters.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By tioga on July 7, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Boring, repetitive, annoying. I started to hope the main character would stop talking. I lost track how many guys she slept with, drinks she had, or meals she skipped. Don't waste your money.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Hobokengal on July 30, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Fiction this is not. It's once again all about Bethenny. It's not super creative and the writing isn't anything to write home about. It's a quick, easy read, but it so closely parallels her life, it's nauseating. She should have just written an autobiography.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Jessica M. on July 20, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
We all have seen Bethenny on The Real Housewives but the question I wanted answered was: can she write? If turning tales from your real life into thinly veiled fictional narrative is ok by you, then you'll find this book lots of fun and a quick read. This is absolutely a guilty pleasure. It's chock full hilarious events in the main character's life - a struggling actress slash wannabe businesswoman - as she searches for what many women search for, the right guy, a cool career and to come closer to the perfect body. The book also covers the 2 cities I like reading about best - New York and Los Angeles - and has a slew of hilarious, sexy misadventures. If you know Bethenny then you know there'll be some stuff in here that some people may find inappropriate but that's what I love about it. It's got snarky stuff to spare but also covers some ground that isn't flattering (again, assuming you believe this stuff comes straight from Bethenny's life itself). She doesn't shy away from missteps, embarrassing romantic moments, and outrageous stories of nights on the town. The book often feels like you're hearing these stories from a friend over cocktails - with no punches being pulled. Check it out and you won't be disappointed. I should warn you though - I felt it started a bit slow but definitely picks up in the late second half. But you also get some fun behind the scenes glimpses of her reality television experiences!

As an aside, if you're a reality TV fan like me, and have ever wanted to go on a show or wondered how people like Bethenny get cast on those shows, there's a really fun and informative book I also just checked out - Me On TV: The First Ever Kick-Ass Guide To Get You On Any Reality Show. I highly recommend it.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Lindsay S. Nixon on June 6, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you don't like Frankel's TMI, crude or vulgar-style, this book is probably not for you. It's written in Frankel's voice so you're stuck reading about tampons and "swamp crotch" and boners (in other words, I won't be buying my mom this book!).

"Voice" aside, the book did keep me interested until the reality section of the book, which is too long and so boring, but it picks back up and ends well. A good beach read, minus the boring parts.

So why three stars?

So much of the book seemed to draw on Frankel's life -- if she wanted to write a memoir, just write a memoir. Drawing a little on real life is fine, but so much was re-reading what I already knew (read in her other books, or heard on her shows) but with code names and a few skewed details. I wanted something new. The character names were also terrible and take away from the story. Sybil Hunter? Faith Brightstone? Jodi Sue? The Make Dreams Come True Foundation? Not an ounce of realness or creativity.

The other star loss: I read a free excerpt of the book before it was released (I rated it 4 stars). The early chapters were about Faith (the lead) meeting a musician and them going Skinny Dipping (which I guess is where the name of the book comes from?). At excerpts end, you're left wondering how the evening played out. Unless I totally missed it, this entire event, was never mentioned in the novel. WHAT?

It pains me to write this review because I worship Bethenny, but I'm a long-time novel and memoir reader in addition to Frankel groupie, and this was not good.
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32 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Hannah on May 1, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I've never even seen Bethenny's show and haven't read any of her other books, but I actually had a chance to read a review copy of this book. Watching the main character grow into herself provides an interesting--and utterly hilarious--literary journey for the reader. While the book is funny, cute, and romantic--all of the elements to render it a perfect summer beach read--the obstacles that Faith encounters in her transition from New York, to L.A., to New York again speak to many women who endure transitions between major stages in life, especially the one between graduating from college and entering the real world. In this way, readers can relate to Faith as she fluctuates between feelings of intense self-criticism while eventually sassing her way to self-confidence, transcending life's pitfalls as she's caught by surprise and good fortune by the end of her journey.

One more thing: If you can't wait for the beach and happen to pick this up for a fun read--perhaps for some entertainment during your daily commute on the transit--you absolutely must be comfortable with laughing freely!
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