Palmer, Liza

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Palmer, Liza

PERSONAL:

Born in Pasadena, CA. Education: American Academy of Dramatic Arts—West, received degree.

ADDRESSES:

Agent—Fletcher and Parry, 78 5th Ave., 3rd Fl., New York, NY 10011; Lucas Alexander Whitley, 14 Vernon St., London W14 0RJ, England. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Writer, novelist, and playwright.

WRITINGS:

Conversations with the Fat Girl (novel), 5-Spot (New York, NY), 2005.

Seeing Me Naked, 5-Spot (New York, NY), 2008.

Also author of the Liza Palmer Web log.

ADAPTATIONS:

Conversations with the Fat Girl was optioned for film by HBO.

SIDELIGHTS:

Liza Palmer's debut novel, Conversations with the Fat Girl, is a "sprightly entry in the ever-expanding category of light romantic comedies starring plus-sized heroines," stated a Publishers Weekly contributor. In an interview for the Chick Lit Books Web site, Palmer stated that her impetus to write the book was her exasperation with other novels in the genre that did not ring true. "I was sick of reading and seeing this archetypical fat person," she remarked. "The sad, donut-in-hand virgin who decides she's going to lose weight and then in three months takes off like a thousand pounds and finds herself in a relationship with Ben Affleck or somebody. It was just so false to me—so, I wrote the book I'd been dying to read."

The novel's protagonist, Maggie, is a plus-sized character who is dissatisfied with her life and her job in a coffee shop. The twenty-eight-year-old woman holds a master's degree in museum studies, but she has been unable to find a job that interests her or takes advantage of her education. Worse, her dating life has been a disaster, never generating a steady, long-term relationship. Her best friend since childhood, Olivia, has suffered from the same malaise for years, but recent gastric bypass surgery has allowed Olivia to lose a significant amount of weight, becoming a svelte size two. She is newly engaged to a handsome physician and fat-hater, but nonetheless asks Maggie to be her maid of honor. As her friend's wedding approaches, Maggie begins to realizes that Olivia's weight loss has also altered her personality for the worse. She hides her "fat past" from her fiancé and new friends. Her new social circle appears to consist of superficial, skinny individuals who have a deep contempt for the overweight. To Maggie's dismay, Olivia begins to distance herself more and more from her old friend. Eventually, the two engage in a blistering confrontation, and Maggie realizes that she no longer has much use for the new Olivia. In the meantime, Maggie learns a lesson in self-acceptance and works toward a new life, and a new love, that will fulfill her on her own terms.

In Conversations with the Fat Girl, Palmer "explores issues of friendship, love, family, values and self-esteem," commented Shannon Bigham, a contributor to BookLoons. Bigham added that "Palmer manages to broach all of them in a light, yet poignant manner that makes this book highly entertaining and thought-provoking." Booklist reviewer Aleksandra Kostovski commented that "Palmer's likable characters and snappy dialogue make this novel stand out from the crowd."

Palmer's next book, Seeing Me Naked, tells the story of Los Angeles, California, pastry chef, Elisabeth Page. Elisabeth comes from a family of fabulous overachievers—her father is a Pulitzer Prize winner, her mother is a wealthy heiress, and her brother has followed in their father's footsteps with a novel on the best-seller lists. Despite working at the hottest restaurant in town, Elisabeth feels like something of a failure in comparison, particularly given the fact that she is on the eleventh year of her five-year plan, and she has very little to show for it. No marriage to her childhood sweetheart, no kids, and no pastry shop of her own, all of which were goals she meant to have achieved by now. Then, she gets the chance to host a cooking show, and her life begins to change significantly. Also, she meets Daniel, a basketball coach who makes her heart race and who suddenly appears far more interesting than her childhood sweetheart. Will she be able to take on these new opportunities, or will she remain hidden in her family members' shadows? Lisa Kisner, in a review for MBR Bookwatch, found Palmer's effort to be "a fun to read novel that transcends traditional chick lit with a clever and classy romance." A Publishers Weekly contributor concluded that Palmer's "prose is sharp, … characters are solid and … narrative is laced with moments of graceful sentiment."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, August, 2005, Aleksandra Kostovski, review of Conversations with the Fat Girl, p. 1995.

Entertainment Weekly, September 9, 2005, Jennifer Armstrong and Clarissa Cruz, "Chick Lit 101: Ladies Who Launch," review of Conversations with the Fat Girl, p. 147.

Library Journal, September 1, 2005, Rebecca Kelm, review of Conversations with the Fat Girl, p. 133.

MBR Bookwatch, February 1, 2008, Lisa Kisner, review of Seeing Me Naked.

Publishers Weekly, July 25, 2005, review of Conversations with the Fat Girl, p. 40; September 24, 2007, review of Seeing Me Naked, p. 41.

ONLINE

Armchair Interviews,http://www.armchairinterviews.com/ (September 9, 2008), review of Seeing Me Naked.

BookLoons,http://www.bookloons.com/ (November 28, 2005), Shannon Bigham, review of Conversations with the Fat Girl.

Chick Lit Books,http://www.chicklitbooks.com/ (November 28, 2005), author interview.

Dee's Book Dish Web log,http://deeanddeedish.blogspot.com/ (January 20, 2008), author interview; (February 16, 2008), review of Seeing Me Naked.

Let's Go! Southwest,http://www.letsgosouthwest.com/ (September 9, 2008), review of Seeing Me Naked.

Liza Palmer Home Page,http://www.lizapalmer.com (September 9, 2008).

Southern California Independent Booksellers Association Web site,http://www.scbabooks.org/ (November 28, 2005), author biography.

Trashionista,http://www.trashionista.com/ (September 9, 2008), review of Seeing Me Naked.

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