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Up for Renewal: What Magazines Taught Me About Love, Sex, and Starting Over Paperback – Bargain Price, July 28, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
"Cathy Alter's Up for Renewal is witty and whimsical. You'll want to stay with her well-developed voice all the way to the end." -- Rachel Sontag, Author of House Rules
"You know that warm, relaxed, pleasurable feeling you get when cracking open the latest issue of your favorite magazine? That's what reading Cathy Alter's Up for Renewal is like. Prepare to not only have a great time but also to get truly inspired." -- Mandy Stadtmiller, "About Last Night" New York Post columnist
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Top Customer Reviews
First off, you need to know that it is written by a woman who details how she coped with a period of time when she was trying to get past a divorce and felt unhappy, deeply so. By her own admission, she was making some poor choices and she is open about the details of her mistakes. Dating the wrong people. Eating poorly. Just generally...bumbling along.
Then she has a moment of inspiration and decides (however crazy it sounds) to use magazines as a path to self-improvement. She chooses to follow the advice she finds in those magazines, focusing on various aspects of her life, one part at a time - from choosing jeans to learning how to be happier.
Although I was skeptical and expected this book to be a rather superficial and light read, similar to many glossy magazines out there (all surface but no substance) I was surprised to find Up for Renewal to be far more charming and engaging than I expected. There were genuine nuggets of wisdom in the book - as well as plenty of humor and insight.
At the same time, I do feel obligated to note that Up for Renewal will probably appeal primarily to female readers, particularly those going through a crisis...and perhaps those drawn to rather gossipy, self-help books. Would it have been my first pick of a book to read? Probably not. But it was well worth the time spent reading it.
What seems like a semi-autobiographical peek into the insecurities of a big city girl, Alter shares her life. A divorce, bad relationships and overall bad choices lead her to wonder if the large display of shinny flashy women's magazines know something that she doesn't. So she plans to live the life that the magazines tell her to for one year and see what happens. Each month she picks a new topic and decides to work on it. And coincidentally, that month the magazines address her specific issues. Funny how that worked out.
I don't know if I got used to her antics and anxieties, but by the end of the book I was actually laughing along with her. I wouldn't recommend this to everyone, or even most, but if you have any tolerance for women that are slow to grow up and overly anxious about the world in general give it a try. Other wise, just know that magazines are designed to entertain and make you insecure and if you're wise enough you don't live your life according to what other anxiety ridden writers tell you is important.
Changing your life while living it (as opposed to going to Italy, India and Bali on vacation) is something any of us can do. While Cathy gives us a prescription/subscription for doing so the magazines are not central to her tale. They do provide for amusing anecdotes though, especially when she tries out Cosmo sex moves.
Don't think it's all about sex. It's really about how your behavior affects your relationships with others, dating, friends, family. I've known Cathy for a long time, but I know her much better through this book. Great writing is personal. You will want to get to know Cathy Alter.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It's not easy to write a self-help book, even if you're an expert. If instead you are a smart-alecky advertising copywriter going through life issues, it must be even tougher. Read morePublished on September 26, 2013 by EricinLA
I was so disappointed by this book. First of all, the concept of following advice from women's magazines is clever and interesting....and a very small part of the book. Read morePublished on July 29, 2013 by Liesl522
After Reading Up for Renewal, I have to admit that I liked the book even though I think that trying to change your life by following magazine advice is really strange. Read morePublished on July 23, 2012 by L Smith
Up for Renewal is about a woman who decides to use magazines as gurus in an attempt to get over divorce, bad office relationship choices, and too much partying. Read morePublished on April 19, 2012 by atisheh
I bought Up for Renewal at a library sale for fifty cents and I'm in the middle of an internal debate about whether it was worth the money. Read morePublished on January 16, 2012 by angie bookclub
My only complaint about the book is it starts out so fast and dives into a character description and life so quickly that it almost loses you before you get to know that the... Read morePublished on January 14, 2012 by Rebecca Dunham
We're used to biographies of famous or interesting people who did extraordinary things or lived with unusual situations. Well, Cathy Alter didn't write one of those. Read morePublished on November 11, 2011 by Bookivore
Many of us have subscribed to magazines. Maybe not as many magazines as we once did, given the dwindling circulation and closing of many magazines, but there is still a market for... Read morePublished on August 18, 2011 by John L. Hoh Jr.
This woman thinks she is a WRITER? What a joke.
She is WHITE TRASH with no writing ability. Amazing what gets published these days.