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Speed Shrinking Hardcover – August 4, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In Shapiro's bubbly latest, self-help guru Julia Goodman is fresh out of advice. Just as Julia is about to follow up her bestseller Up in Smoke with a book about controlling her food addiction, her shrink, Dr. Ness, and best friend, Sarah, both leave New York, sending her into a cupcake-scarfing tailspin. Soon she has packed on some extra pounds that she must lose before Food Crazy is published. To make matters worse, her director husband, Jake, has been called away to L.A., leaving no one to stop her late-night binges. Without Dr. Ness's tough talk, Sarah's help and Jake's love, Julia searches for a new support system, interviewing eight shrinks in eight days. Her selection, Dr. Cigar, only complicates her quest to return to her svelte weight in time for her Today show interview, leaving her to find her own answers to the weight question. Shapiro rescues a conventional plot with an original voice and an energy that will resonate with anyone who's ever stared down a Twinkie. (Aug.)
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From Booklist

Rachel Solomon is ecstatic to escape her upper-middle-class midwestern Jewish family for bohemian New York City, chasing her dream of becoming a photographer. Her first step, a job at a magazine, becomes complicated when she meets the person she’s replacing. Elizabeth Mann is the Waspy daughter of one of Rachel’s favorite photographers and appears to have everything that Rachel desires: an upcoming photography show, famous family friends, and no Jewish mother who sends her suburban-chic clothing, or pressues her to become a doctor like Rachel’s father and two brothers. Elizabeth scoffs at everything Rachel loves, yet every break Rachel gets in the business is through Elizabeth. When Elizabeth ends up marrying one of Rachel’s brothers, Rachel feels bereft. It seems as though her friend is deserting her to become part of Rachel’s wacky clan, usurping what should be Rachel’s role in the family. Shapiro expertly captures the elusive aspects of family, friendship, and love in this winning dramedy. --Patty Engelmann --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books; 1st edition (August 4, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312581564
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312581565
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,972,867 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Susan B. Shapiro is an award-winning Manhattan writing professor and The New York Times bestselling author of 10 books, including the acclaimed memoirs FIVE MEN WHO BROKE MY HEART, LIGHTING UP and ONLY AS GOOD AS YOUR WORD, the coauthored nonfiction books UNHOOKED and THE BOSNIA LIST, and the novel WHAT'S NEVER SAID. Her books have been translated into 12 languages. She writes for The New York Times, Washington Post, L.A. Times & teaches "the instant gratification takes too long" method at The New School and in private classes and workshops. Visit her at her website or follower her on Twitter at @Susanshapironet.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Tina on August 9, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This is an ideal combination for me. Susan Shapiro writing about one of the subjects that is closest to my heart - weight and addiction.

I feel in love with Shapiro when she wrote her "memoir" about trying to stop her various addictions and although this book is a novel, she picks up along of the main themes that she has used in her non fiction book.

In this one, our main character is now a "guru". She has managed to lose all her weight and is now the person who helps other people out there. She has surrounded herself by a huge support system (which is a great idea when you are battling addictions) but, as luck and the universe would have it, these people are all leaving her, in various degrees - which means she needs to find herself, among other things a new shrink - before her nightly binges threaten to envelop her and prevent her from making her appearance on TV.

This book is at times hilarious, poignant and always rings true, true, true! When the author describes the battles against binge eating and how this is just but a symptom of a bigger problem, I wanted to cry. I loved that Shapiro chose to make her main character strong (and weak) and willing, willing to do what she needed to do to stay in recovery.

This book is for everyone who has an addiction (or if you know someone who does) who wants to take a funny and poignant look at the situtation.

No victims need apply.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Rachel Kramer Bussel VINE VOICE on August 4, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Speed Shrinking is a fun, cupcake-filled, search-for-a-shrink romp by noted memoirist Susan Shapiro, which also provides some sly looks at the business of book promotion, weight issues, father figures and very Manhattan mania. Self-help guru Julia Goodman should be at the top of her game, having conquered her many addictions through the help of Dr. Ness, her beloved therapist, found a hot husband, and written a bestselling book, Up in Smoke. But when her pregnant best friend leaves town, her husband is off to LA for work and her therapist, who, in many ways is both the hero and antihero of this offbeat love story, moves away, she feels alone, and turns to cupcakes for comfort. And shrinks, many, many shrinks.

She sets off to find the perfect therapist, who'll give her exactly what she needs (tough love), one who's covered by her health insurance, in a hilarious, neurotic journey where she ponders whether a cigar is just a cigar, hires a nutritionists, has occasional cupcake binges, and questions the premises she's built her life on. When she learns that her therapist may have betrayed her, she wonders whether he's worth the guru status she's given him. Meanwhile, she's competing with her fellow authors and warding off rumors that she's pregnant because she's gained so much weight.

This madcap journey will be appreciated by any woman who's ever worried about her weight, anyone who loves cupcakes, and anyone who's spent time on either side of a therapist's couch! Julia's wackiness has you rooting for her in her quest to get thin, and to finally get at the heart of her issues (though watching her breeze from one potential solution to another will give readers plenty of laughs even as it gives Julia a meltdown).
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth on November 11, 2009
Format: Hardcover
The main character in Speed Shrinking is a best friend I want to have. She devours junk food to make herself feel better about her loneliness and then cries about for days. Though Julia is at times as dysfunctional, her unashamed and insightful honesty in her quest for the perfect therapist is inspirational. I could read this book over and over. It opened me into the world of designer psychotherapy and had me dreaming of flavorful bakery goodness. I'm addicted to this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Bruce Frankel on February 4, 2010
Format: Hardcover
When I first came home with Susan Shapiro's compulsively funny novel, Speed Shrinking, about a diet guru who falls off the cupcake wagon, I made the mistake of pitching it on the bed and heading for a shower. Before I was thoroughly soaped, I heard peals of laughter coming from the bedroom. When I peaked in, my girlfriend was speed reading the book and hyper-ventilating from comic identification. Her ploy to steal it for herself: "This is such a woman's book. You're never going to get it like me." Nice try.

Regardless of reader gender, Speed Shrinking is an irresistible a book. From the start, Shapiro winds the main spring of her plot tight and then sends her protagonist, diet diva Julia Goodman, careening toward career fatality. As she readies for the release of Food Crazy-- her new book on controlling food addiction-- Julia's TV-director husband, best friend, and shrink all vacate Manhattan and Julia, triggering a high-caloric relapse and binging on the leftover hungers of a lifetime.

It's fear and self-loathing in the Big Apple as Julia piles on the pounds, prompts rumors of pregnancy and visions of scuttling the publication of her book. Searching for an appetite-surpressing savior, she burns through eight shrinks in eight days before Julia lands on Dr. Cigar's couch and speed walks into a final twist in Central Park. Though the protagonist's unrestrained narcissism may at times make you hope she gets her just desserts, by the end you'll be elated, sated, and touched by Julia's provisional recovery.
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