Sunday, June 19, 2016

My Horizonal Life

By Chelsea Handler

Chelsea Handler has always been honest about the fact that she is a boozy, horny slut. In this book, she tells stories about some of her youthful sexual adventures, mostly one night stands. I don't know if these stories are true, I sort of doubt it. But they might be.
I enjoyed the stories, some were amusing, some not so much. But it was an interesting if not-exactly-believable look at a lifestyle completely different than my own.
I found two opposing opinions online of the book. One reader loved the stories, the other hated them. See and

Jemima J

By Jane Green

Jemima is a young, beautiful woman. But she is fat. So, of course, she has no friends or lovers. Fat, fat, fat and hopeless. She is so fat, even her tears are fat.
Then one day, she discovers the internet and begins a relationship with a fitness instructor, Brad, in California. Jemima, living in London, sends him a photoshopped  picture of herself. Brad is charmed and talks Jemima into coming to California for a visit.
Weighing over 200 pounds, Jemima knows she can't show up in California like that. So she undertakes a drastic program of diet and exercise and manages to drop all her excess weight. In the novel, her skin tightens up and her breasts don't get saggy, although in actuality, that much weight loss so quickly would leave her with loose skin and saggy breasts, as the contestants on NBC's Biggest Loser know. But never mind reality, this is a romance novel, after all.
So she goes to California and dazzles Brad with her magnificent toned body and movie star good looks. He actually asks her to marry him. But Jemima is carrying a torch for her former coworker, the gorgeous Ben, who likes Jemima but can't see Jemima the woman through all her fat. (Ben hasn't seen Jemima since she lost weight.) Obviously Jemima and Ben belong together but Ben isn't there and Brad is. What will Jemima decide? And what is the problem with Brad's angry and hostile assistant, fat Jenny?

This is just another of those fat girl loses weight and wins the man of her dreams stories. It was an OK read. The story of fat Jenny might have been more interesting, though.

The Danish Girl

By David Ebershoff

Greta and Einar Wegener are married and both are artists. Greta paints portraits that are less than successful. Einar paints landscapes, mainly of his gloomy and marshy birthplace and he is moderately successful.
One day, Greta needs to finish a portrait of a woman but the woman can't come to pose. So she talks Einar, who is a small, delicate man, into putting on the woman's clothing and sitting as a substitute so Greta can finish up the portrait. But once Einar dons women's clothing, something in him responds to it. Thus Lily is born.
Einar begins spending more and more time as Lily. He is happier that way. Gerta finds her transformed husband fascinating and begins a series of portraits of Lily. The Lily portraits are very popular and Gerta has become successful as an artist. Not that she needs the money. She is from a wealthy family in California and has plenty of money.
Einar spends more and more time as Lili and even begins to date men. Gerta's husband is slowly drifting away, being replaced by Lili, who is attracted to men and not to his own wife. The final nail in the coffin of their marriage is Lili's series of surgeries to complete the transition from male to female.

This novel was inspired by the life of Einar Wegener, but only inspired by it. It is a work of fiction. It was quite a good read but I think I would have enjoyed the true story of Einar more than this fiction. It is fun to imagine how people might feel and behave but even more interesting, in my opinion, is how they actually felt and behaved. I guess I was expecting more of a story based on fact, not on the author's imagination, so I was a bit disappointed.