Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $4.90 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
Up for Renewal: What Magazines Taught Me About Love, Sex, and Starting Over Paperback – Bargain Price, July 28, 2009
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
"A funny, wise-crackey, addictively readable coming-of-maturity." -- Cathi Hanauer, author of Sweet Ruin and editor of The Bitch in the House
"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
About the Author
Cathy Alter is a Washington, D.C.-based writer whose articles and essays have appeared in The Washington Post, Washingtonian, Self, Fitness, and McSweeney's. Her first book, Virgin Territory: Stories from the Road to Womanhood, was released in 2004.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Admittedly, Alter is a sweet, if clueless, recent divorcee with relationship troubles at work and home. She flounders at intimacy, freaks out at the very idea of commitment, and has no idea how to relate to friends of her significant others, much less their family. She begins a program of advice acquisition and use, all from the pages of the girl glossies. This causes consternation, head-scratching and a lot of money spent on trendy looks. It may all work out in the end, but the reader is going to wonder whether the end result is more from the eventual growth and maturity of the author, or the liberal use of advice columns written by anonymous magazine authors.
Guys, buy it for your girl if she wants an acerbic look at self-improvement; pass if you want to understand the female mind. It's still impenetrable after this read, trust me.
I received this book free from Amazon Vine.
The premise of Up for Renewal is that the author's life is sliding out of control so she decides to see if magazines can help her improve emotionally, professionally, romantically, etc. She subscribes to a bunch of magazines, dedicates a month to a specific arena (Sex, Cooking) and documents how it all works out for her.
I think most women can relate to the book's premise because if you are like me, you've ripped out pages from a magazine with the intent of trying a recipe, buying some miracle skincare product, or improving your happiness. I just don't think title it works as a book because it seems like the author embarked on her 12 month magazine improvement strategy as a business proposition rather than as a real personal improvement strategy and the whole book reeks of insincerity because of that disconnect.
Another problem is that the author is such a head-case that much of the book doesn't even focus on the helpfulness of magazines, but on her issues, which are less interesting. Case in point: the author doesn't try out a range of magazines representing different viewpoints, but basically sticks with some pretty shallow mags (Cosmo, Glamour) that already fit into her existing (and problematic) lifestyle. She repeats numerous times that she is an independent and feminist woman, but like some of the magazines that she subscribes to and which also define themselves as independent and feminist, she is emotionally immature and relies way too much on appearance and sex to define herself.
One of the advance praise quotes on the back of the book calls the book "a funny, wise-crackey, addictively readable coming-of-maturity." And that's the problem: the author is 39-40 at the time she wrote this book. I think it will be hard for most women to relate to an adult woman who has the mindset of an eighteen year old and a jerk eighteen year old at that (her husband's weight gain is one reason she stops being intimate with him). She does sometimes become more sympathetic during the book, but she reverts to unlikeability more often than not. There is one part of the book, for instance, where she is looking for her wedding dress and she really, really wants the more expensive gown, but her mother, who is paying for the gown, wants the less expensive gown. My gut reaction when I was reading her whining about the dress was "Grow Up." Her grousing and indecision about what gown to buy (excuse me - for her parents to buy) seemed more appropriate for a twenty-two year old getting married for the first time than an established professional woman of forty on her second marriage. I really had questions about the book and the author when I read her bio on the back cover; she has actually written another book (about herself of course) and that, too, from the title at least, also seems focused upon her immaturity.
I would say if you are looking for a quick and easy beach read, this book will work for you. But if you are really interested in the idea of magazines improving your lifestyle, the book doesn't deliver. And if you don't like insincerity, self-absorption, and shallowness, it will just annoy you. Try the Happiness Project instead -it actually has some ideas that you can adapt to your own life.
With periodicals like Real Simple, O Magazine, Cosmo and Allure pouring into her mailbox, Cathy chooses to focus on improving one area of her life monthly. As she tries to end an office affair about to combust and desperately wants to improve her relationship with her well-meaning but critical mother, Cathy looks to her magazines for advice on getting through all of life's sticky situations.
There's much to like about Alter's wit and the hilarious situations in which she finds herself -- including all the gritty details about her affair with Bruno, the office lazybones who skates by on his Latin charisma. At many points I wanted to reach between the text and give Cathy's shoulder a good shake -- I mean, seriously, what was she doing sleeping with this guy . . . especially at work? -- I couldn't necessarily fault her for how her views on life had slipped.
I'm younger than Alter and haven't been married, let alone divorced, but I've ended plenty of relationships -- and know the pain that accompanies that. I could definitely sense her real desire to become an "improved" version of herself, but I did have a bit of a problem with the entire concept of looking to women's magazines for inspiration regarding that change. Still, it was a fun read with plenty of heart, and I loved that it read like a novel. And many women will probably find themselves typed out on Alter's pages -- I know I did.
Most recent customer reviews
She is WHITE TRASH with no writing ability. Amazing what gets published these days.