Weiner, Jennifer 1970-
WEINER, Jennifer 1970–
(Jennifer Agnes Weiner)
PERSONAL: Born March 28, 1970, in De Ridder, LA; married; children: Lucy Jane. Education: Princeton University, B.A. (summa cum laude), 1991; attended Poynter Institute for Media Studies, 1991.
CAREER: Centre Daily Times, State College, PA, education reporter, 1991–94; Lexington Herald-Ledger, Lexington, KY, features reporter, 1994–95; Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia, PA, features reporter, 1995–2001; full-time freelance writer, 2001–.
Good in Bed (novel), Pocket Books (New York, NY), 2001.
In Her Shoes (novel), Atria Books (New York, NY), 2002.
Little Earthquakes (novel), Atria Books (New York, NY), 2004.
Also contributor to short-story anthology American Girls about Town, Downtown Press (New York, NY), 2004. Contributor of short fiction and articles to numerous periodicals, including Seventeen, Mademoiselle, Philadelphia Inquirer, Time Out New York, and the Columbia Journalism Review.
ADAPTATIONS: HBO optioned television series rights for Good in Bed; In Her Shoes was produced as a film starring Toni Collette, Cameron Diaz, and Shirley MacLaine, 2004; In Her Shoes was adapted as an audiobook.
WORK IN PROGRESS: A Murder mystery/satire set in Connecticut about a crime-solving mother of triplets.
SIDELIGHTS: Jennifer Weiner has taken her experience as a journalist as background for the novels she now writes full time. Originally studying English literature at Princeton University, she attended journalism classes at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies to gain an education in an area she thought she could reap more-gainful employment. Weiner soon found herself working under such writers as an education reporter for the Centre Daily Times, in State College, Pennsylvania. This job led to her writing an op-ed column twice monthly about Generation X, which was eventually distributed broadly through Knight-Ridder's news wire. Weiner moved on to work for the Lexington Herald-Ledger and the Philadelphia Inquirer, writing articles on such varied subjects as the Democratic National Convention, the Miss America Pageant, the Pillsbury Bake-Off, and Wrestlemania, as well as interviews with Helen Gurly Brown and Adam Sandler. Meanwhile, she worked on her fiction, and her short stories began appearing in such periodicals as Seventeen and Redbook. She also began work on her first novel, Good in Bed.
Good in Bed tells the story of twenty-eight-year-old Candace Shapiro, an overweight reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer who is struggling with an ex-boyfriend who uses his column to humiliate her, a mother who has decided she's a lesbian, and an unwanted pregnancy, among other hardships. Weiner addresses the single life of a plus-sized woman, illustrating both the similarities between Candace's problems and those of other twenty-something women, and those unique to her as someone who is overweight. In an interview with Robert O'Hara for Bookreporter.com, Weiner explained: "I wanted to tell a Cinderella story where Cinderella gets her happy ending without dropping down to a size six because a book like that, first and foremost, would fill a gap in my own heart and my own library, and could maybe be some measure of comfort to other teenage girls who devour 'chick books' and come away feeling like they're the only ones who've ever weighed more than their boyfriends, struggled to find a prom dress, had a grandmother who religiously relocated the bread basket at every meal out, etc." A contributor to Publishers Weekly remarked that "this is a must-read for any woman who struggles with body image, or for anyone who cares about someone who does," and Clarissa Cruz wrote in Entertainment Weekly that "Weiner's smoothly written novel is stuffed with dialogue that rings with humor and truth."
Weiner's follow-up novel, In Her Shoes, examines the bonds of sisterhood between Rose, an overweight bookworm, and Maggie, a dyslexic bad girl, focusing on the ways in which each girl grows up and the relationship they each develop with their grandmother as adults. A contributor for Kirkus Reviews commented that "Weiner's follow-up lacks some of the bite of her first novel, but still tells a poignant tale of two damaged girls who need to find themselves so that they can find each other." In a review for Publishers Weekly, a contributor felt that "Weiner, a marvelously natural storyteller, blends humor and heartbreak to create an irresistible novel" and Amy Waldman, reviewing In Her Shoes for People, remarked that the author's "vivid characterizations and her light touch with heavy topics make this … an entertaining romp through family battles and toxic relationships."
Little Earthquakes follows the lives of four very different women who meet and bond over the common experiences of a pre-natal yoga class and their lives as new mothers. Weiner based the novel in part on her own similar experience, mining the friendships she made while she was pregnant with her daughter. There are various difficulties and tragedies over the course of the book—earthquakes in the women's lives—the most notable being one child's death from SIDS. In an interview with Carol Fitzgerald for Bookreporter.com, Weiner remarked: "I wanted to write about how a woman—and how a marriage—can survives such a tragedy, and set that discussion in the larger context of current thoughts on motherhood. We see so many movie stars on the covers of magazines toting their newborns like the latest chic handbag, all of the baby fat vanished, looking completely blissful … and new motherhood isn't always blissful." A Publishers Weekly contributor commented that the book is "a poignant, thoughtful look at marriage and new motherhood, but it would have been better served by a more skilled narrator." However, People critic Debby Waldman called Little Earthquakes "lively, witty, and often touching," and Kristine Huntley, writing for Booklist, wrote that Weiner's third novel is "a warm, often funny, touching look at the challenges and joys of new motherhood and marriage."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, April 15, 2001, Kristine Huntley, review of Good in Bed, p. 1538; October 15, 2002, Kristine Huntley, review of In Her Shoes, p. 390; October 1, 2003, Whitney Scott, review of In Her Shoes, p. 339; September 1, 2004, Kristine Huntley, review of Little Earthquakes, p. 66.
Entertainment Weekly, June 8, 2001, Clarissa Cruz, "Text and the Single Girl: Move over Bridget Jones—The Latest Crop of Chick Lit Is Hitting the Shelves," p. 68; September 27, 2002, Clarissa Cruz, review of In Her Shoes, p. 80; September 17, 2004, Clarissa Cruz, "Chick Lit's Big Star: With Her Witty, Smart, and Refreshingly Unglam Novels, Author Jennifer Weiner Has Made Hollywood Rethink Its Image of Women," p. 38; September 24, 2004, Jessica Shaw, review of Little Earthquakes, p. 112.
Hollywood Reporter, August 5, 2002, Chris Gardner, "Scripter Grant Tries on Fox's Shoes," p. 4.
Kirkus Reviews, July 15, 2002, review of In Her Shoes, p. 992; July 15, 2004, review of Little Earthquakes, p. 659.
Kliatt, May, 2003, Jodi L. Israel, review of In Her Shoes, p. 48.
Library Journal, April 15, 2001, Rebecca Sturm Kelm, review of Good in Bed, p. 134; September 1, 2002, Rebecca Sturm Kelm, review of In Her Shoes, p. 216; August, 2004, Rebecca Kelm, review of Little Earthquakes, p. 71; April 15, 2005, Barbara Valle, review of Little Earthquakes, p. 136.
People, October 21, 2002, Amy Waldman, review of In Her Shoes, p. 55; October 25, 2004, Debby Waldman, review of Little Earthquakes, p. 52.
Publishers Weekly, April 9, 2001, review of Good in Bed, p. 50; June 10, 2002, John F. Baker, "'Good in Bed' Author Even Better," p. 14; August 26, 2002, review of In Her Shoes, p. 40; January 20, 2003, Daisy Maryles, "Good Elsewhere, Too," p. 20; September 13, 2004, Tracy Cochran, "All Grown Up: Jennifer Weiner Writes Her Own Happy Ending," p. 50; October 4, 2004, Daisy Maryles, "Chick Lit's Big Star," p. 23; October 4, 2004, review of American Girls about Town, p. 70; November 1, 2004, review of Little Earthquakes, p. 26.
South Florida Sun-Sentinel, December 13, 2002, review of In Her Shoes (audiobook).
Allreaders.com, http://www.allreaders.com/ (June 21, 2005), "Jennifer Weiner."
Bookreporter.com, http://www.bookreporter.com/ (June 21, 2002), Robert O'Hara, interview with Weiner; (September 17, 2004) Carol Fitzgerald, interview with Weiner.
Jennifer Weiner Home Page, http://www.jenniferweiner.com (June 21, 2005).