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by Alison Pace

Pub Date: Aug. 7th, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-425-21561-6
Publisher: Berkley

Two sisters with very different lifestyles come together, then fall apart, when they team up to try and lose weight.

Anxious to shed pounds after the birth of her first child, New Jersey stay-at-home-mom Stephanie Cunningham recruits her New York restaurant critic sister Meredith to go on the Zone diet with her, figuring they can support each other, as they always have. City gal Meredith, who, unlike her sister, has been heavy her whole life, is anxious to slim down, especially after seeing an ex-flame whom she suspects dumped her because of her weight. But this quest is especially daunting for Meredith, who loves—and needs—food so much. She is, after all, very good at her job. The two begin well enough, but issues much bigger than dieting rear their head after Stephanie discovers that her enviably handsome and athletic husband Aubrey has a prescription drug habit. Devastated by this information, but not ready to share it with the somewhat self-absorbed Meredith, Stephanie has a falling out with her sister. This hiatus forces both to face stark realizations about themselves. Stephanie wonders if, even after rehab, she can still love her husband, and Meredith discovers how her type-A habits and unrealistically high expectations have been exacerbating her loneliness. Stephanie also goes on Weight Watchers, while Meredith adopts a remarkably soulful little dog and asks out her equally adorable new yoga instructor Gary. That Gary is a far cry from the lawyers and “junior tycoons” Meredith has long hoped for feels less important than finding someone who accepts her as she is. That the girls cannot stay estranged forever is a forgone conclusion, but it is still gratifying when “perfect” older sister Stephanie admits that she is anything but, then reaches out to her long-time confidant. Shot through with the melancholy of having to make adult choices, Pace’s latest (Pug Hill, 2006, etc.) has its share of bright spots.

Sensitive and knowing exploration of the trickiness—and value—of meaningful relationships.