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by Cinthia Ritchie

Pub Date: Feb. 5th, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-446-56813-5
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

The story of a young woman who suffers from low self-esteem and who at first sells herself short, but she makes progress in her life by starting and keeping a journal with guidance from a guest on Oprah Winfrey's show.  

The author’s narrative style is witty and completely down-to-earth and creates the expectation of a meaningful message that is ultimately delivered. Carla has grown up in the shadow of an oh-so-perfect older sister, her own artistic talent not appreciated by her alcoholic mother, and is resigned to working as a waitress, barely able to support her gifted 8-year-old son while digging herself deeper and deeper into debt. She does not expect to find love, prosperity or even self-respect, but as the story unfolds, she finds all these things. Following suggestions from the Oprah guest, whom she calls "the Oprah Giant" (the woman is quite tall), Carla explores such concepts as forgiveness and gratitude. She also experiences visions of her beloved Polish Gramma, and this ghostly visitor is a more positive influence on her life than the memory of her living but estranged mother. As her older sister begins to unravel and reveal the sad and difficult truths in her life, the two become closer, and Carla finds herself caring for her sister as well as her son. She maintains a warm friendship with her son’s father even as she finds love with a man who comes into the restaurant looking for her. She turns her artistic skills toward creating erotic dolls (hence the title), which sell well on the Internet, and eventually gets her own show at a local gallery and achieves a certain celebrity.

Despite, or perhaps because of, her very human flaws, Carla is a character who is easy to love, and her journal is an engaging read.