Prolific chick-lit novelist and funny girl Frankel (Thin Is the New Happy: A Memoir, 2008, etc.) dishes about what there is to love about hatred.
In her latest, the author explores the more unseemly side of her nature. The resulting string of essays on negativity and its pursuits includes a number of hilarious moments alongside helpful, hard-won insights into parenting and the nature of complaining. When presented with the grim news that she and most of her family are genetically predisposed to a variety of abdominal cancers, Frankel opted to look within to see whether a change of attitude might improve her state: “My doctor told me the hate in me just had to come out. I followed his orders, fessing up to jealousy, phoniness, coldness, bitterness, insecurity, envy, distrust, impatience, revulsion, pettiness, bitchiness. Name the hate, I let it out. The big question: Was I happier for it?” Answer: not entirely. “I’d say that I was generally more ‘er’ about all of my emotions,” writes Frankel, “which (bonus) made me deeper.” Though longing for the critical acclaim afforded select other members of the chick literati, the author confesses an unwillingness to dispense with her self-professed shallowness: “If misery were required for depth, I’d rather be a lesser artist. In fact, I was a lesser artist.” Frankel admits having been born into a family of “kvetchperts,” and she looks to her youth, when she was rejected by the “in” crowd and criticized by her mother because of her weight. Though this loosely chronological account exhibits the vague arc of plot development and emotional growth, the memoir lacks the narrative cohesion and relevance needed to give it the je ne sais quoi of a bestseller.
With humor, Frankel shrewdly probes her darkly shallow places.