Seeing Me Naked

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Overview

Elisabeth Page is the daughter of Ben Page, yes, that's right, THE world famous novelist. And yes, she's also the sister of Rascal Page, world famous novelist in his own right. So what does Elisabeth do? Much to her family's disappointment, Elisabeth is a pastry chef. And a pretty damn good one, at Beverly, the hottest restaurant in LA.
The last relationship Elisabeth had was with Will, a man she grew up with and whose family ran in the same social circles as her family. But ...

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Seeing Me Naked

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Overview

Elisabeth Page is the daughter of Ben Page, yes, that's right, THE world famous novelist. And yes, she's also the sister of Rascal Page, world famous novelist in his own right. So what does Elisabeth do? Much to her family's disappointment, Elisabeth is a pastry chef. And a pretty damn good one, at Beverly, the hottest restaurant in LA.
The last relationship Elisabeth had was with Will, a man she grew up with and whose family ran in the same social circles as her family. But Will's constant jaunts around the world have left her lonely and brokenhearted in L.A.
That is until Daniel Sullivan bids on one of Elisabeth's pastry tutorials at a charity auction. Daniel is everything her family is not: a basketball coach, a non-intellectual, his family doesn't summer on Martha's Vineyard, and the only metaphors he uses are about passing the ball and being a team player. But somehow they fit.
Between her family, Will, and the new cooking show that Elisabeth is recruited to star in, Elisabeth's life is suddenly incredibly new and different—the question is, can she embrace being happy or has her family conditioned her to think she's just not good enough?
Liza Palmer expertly depicts a woman trying to come to terms with professional success, personal success, and finally dealing with a family that might love her from the bottom of their heart but doesn't necessarily have her best interest always at heart.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Palmer follows up her mirthful debut, Conversations with the Fat Girl, with a subtly sophisticated romance that outclasses most of the genre's other offerings. Elisabeth Page is a 30-year-old pastry chef at L.A.'s restaurant du jour whose perpetually knotted stomach has roots in any number of sources: her father, Ben, a two-time Pulitzer-winning novelist and "the kind of cultural icon that doesn't exist anymore," with whom "every conversation is a chess game"; childhood sweetheart Will Houghton, whose globe-trotting as a journalist has stunted their ill-defined relationship; the head chef from hell at her all-consuming job; and her patrician family's way of "bonding through blood sport." But relief begins to filter in as Elisabeth's dalliance with beer-drinking, salt-of-the-earth basketball coach Daniel Sullivan turns into a fulfilling relationship and her culinary career takes an unexpected turn. If it sounds chick litty, it is, but consider it haute chick lit; Palmer's prose is sharp, her characters are solid and her narrative is laced with moments of graceful sentiment. (Jan.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Kirkus Reviews
Palmer (Conversations with the Fat Girl, 2005) returns with a romantic comedy about the adventures and woes of Elisabeth Page, a celebrated L.A. pastry chef who can't escape the shadow of her world-renowned novelist father. In a book that depends too much on interior monologue, Elisabeth drones on about never reaching the bar set by her snobbish family. Her unhappiness is further evidenced by a nonexistent social schedule and a sex life reduced to the occasional rendezvous with childhood neighbor Will, a reporter constantly traveling on assignment. Used to her solitary routine and fearful of commitment, Elisabeth gets her world flipped upside down when she meets Daniel Sullivan at one of her mother's charity balls. Her career simultaneously gets a boost when she's offered the chance to star in her own Food Network show. But these intriguing plot twists get buried beneath Elisabeth's constant and excruciating self-analysis. Getting banged over the head by metaphor-Elisabeth exerts the same control over baking that she does over her private life-also becomes tiring. A secondary story involving a growing friendship with a coworker and his pregnant wife is meant to illustrate Elisabeth's gradual embracing of happiness, but it feels forced and unnatural. The physical descriptions are weak and the dialogue-though at times sharp and witty-is mostly cliched or unrealistic. This plot has all the right ingredients-an opulent, dysfunctional family, handsome men and vibrant settings-but the protagonist is so irritating that the story flops. Elisabeth says it best: "Apparently, when I'm not being a pompous asshole or a know-it-all, I have very little to say."Painfully unfunny.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780446698375
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • Publication date: 1/8/2008
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Liza Palmer lives in Pasadena, California with her dog, Poet. She has written two plays that were performed in Los Angeles, and is a graduate of The American Academy of Dramatic Arts-West. She is the author of CONVERSATIONS WITH THE FAT GIRL (5 SPOT, 2005).

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Read an Excerpt

Seeing Me Naked


By Liza Palmer

5 SPOT

Copyright © 2008 Liza Palmer
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-446-69837-5


Chapter One

The crowd simmers down as the bookstore owner approaches the podium.

"I'm very excited to have such an amazing crowd here tonight for one of L.A.'s prodigal sons. I'm extremely pleased to welcome you to a very special night of literature-a night we hope will be a beacon in these, the darkest of days in publishing. This debut novel is a far cry from the paint-by-numbers, just-add-water types of books that are overtaking our bookshelves and best-seller lists. At just thirty-two years of age, this writer commands the publishing industry to sit up and take notice. Real literature is back with the publication of The Ballad of Rick Danko, by Rascal Page!" I visualize a dazzling shower of pyrotechnics from behind the man as he builds to a climax. A girl in the middle of the bookstore lets out a tiny yelp. Rascal sighs.

I try to push away the insistent drone of my workweek. It keeps bumping up against my consciousness, like a seemingly bottomless hamper of dirty clothes. The perfection of the restaurant is never that far away. Never finished. I can never just sit. But tonight I take a deep breath and try to relax into my brother's big night with happiness and a splash, a hint, really, of my usual knotted stomach.

I give Rascal a sympathetic smile as the obsequious, cloying introduction drones on. We're both waiting for the mention of him. Dad. I peek out into the crowd. Mom is beaming. Her long legs are crossed at the ankles and slanted to one side-nothing out of place. The only untidy thing about her is the overwhelming pride she's feeling right now for her firstborn. Rascal smiles at her. She snaps a picture of him.

"So, without further ado, let me present the heir apparent! Scion of one of the giants of twentieth-century American literature! The successor to the throne!" Rascal and I flinch in unison at each sentence. The man continues with a flourish, "Raskolnikov Page!" The crowd goes wild. Mom winces every time someone calls Rascal Raskolnikov. She lost a bet to Dad for the right to name their first son, and believe it or not, Rascal turned out to be the lesser of two evils. Rascal walks up to the podium and looks out into the crowd. I see his eyes fix on someone. I crane my neck to look past the stacks of books.

A wave of recognition rolls through the audience. He leans casually against one of the bookcases at the back of the store. Mom looks over her shoulder, gives him a small wave, and quickly turns her attention back to Rascal. I watch the people as they slowly realize whom they're standing next to.

Ben Page. My dad.

The kind of cultural icon that doesn't exist anymore. I remember for my best friend, Laurie's, eleventh birthday, her parents took us to Disneyland. Later that year, when my eleventh birthday rolled around, Laurie asked what I was doing to celebrate. I said I was going to New York to watch my father receive his second Pulitzer Prize.

Rascal clears his throat and takes a long drink from the bottle of water set out for him on the podium.

"Thank you for coming out tonight. I'm going to start by reading a passage from the novel, and then I'll take some questions before we call it a night," Rascal says as people in the audience shift and contort in their chairs. Who will they look at? It's an embarrassment of riches. Rascal's pale skin contrasts with his mop of dark brown curls. His features are delicate: pinkish lips, gentle blue eyes. His build is slight, with thin, long fingers, and his shoulders look as if a wire hanger is poking through his threadbare sweater. People always tell us we could be twins, much to Dad's chagrin. We both got Mom's patrician genes. We were built for an aristocratic existence. Neither one of us inherited Dad's workhorse build, that olive skin, the coarse hair, or his almost black eyes-which, as he grows older, are beginning to turn to sunlit amber and, in the innermost circles, the lightest of blues.

Rascal begins reading.

My body relaxes as my brother's voice fills the room. The audience is drawn in and can barely keep up. His prose is hot and fast, like a come-on to a one-night stand. He reads only the opening chapter, and even live, it won't be enough for them. The crowd applauds as Rascal closes the book and looks up.

"Okay. Any questions?" Rascal takes a drink of his water. Several anxious hands shoot into the air. He points to a twentysomething young man in the third row who has more product in his hair than I do, and I believe he's wearing a velvet blazer.

"I just want to say that, first off, you are like a god, man," the guy oozes. The crowd titters. Rascal forces a smile. I can see him look toward the back of the room at Dad. Is my brother embarrassed? I glance quickly at Dad. He's rubbing his eyes like he has a headache. Ahhh-the unwashed masses and their inconvenient adoration of our family. I've always wondered why Dad was so bothered by people whose only sin was simply enjoying and connecting with his work. I've never made a big fuss to Dad about his writing, even though his brilliance awes me-humbles me. I was afraid it would open up an unwelcome dialogue about what exactly I was doing with my life and, more importantly, what am I doing to change the world? I've found the best and safest method in dealing with my father is to keep a safe distance and watch the fireworks from a remote mountaintop.

"I just want to know if, like-you know, coming from the family you did helped you get published. I mean, it probably didn't hurt having Page as your last name, right?" The guy looks eagerly around at the crowd for validation. Everyone in the room has silently asked this question in his or her mind. But now they all act horrified that this guy had the nerve to ask it, especially as the first question. Rascal is unimpressed. He's used to it-the constant comparisons to Dad in every area of his life.

"Let's see." Rascal draws it out like a pitcher's windup before hurling a hundred-mile-an-hour fastball. He continues, "My father is perhaps the greatest writer of his generation, and I roll up and say I've written this manuscript that I think is pretty good. Now, any other writer, on his best day, doesn't get constantly measured against my father. But in every single review of my book, I'm compared, head to head, with him. So, yeah, I probably moved right to the top of the slush pile in my agent's office. But after that, I'm kinda fucked, huh?" The crowd laughs nervously. Everyone checks to see if Dad is laughing. His face is expressionless and focused. The same look is mirrored in Rascal as he points to a woman in the front row who's raised her hand. I've spent so many years trying to free myself from these great shadows. The hitch is, I'm equal parts repulsed and enticed by them.

"Who are your influences, Raskolnikov? Who inspired you to-I mean, besides the obvious, of course-who inspired you to write?" The woman sneaks a coquettish look back at Dad.

"Ma'am, my own mother doesn't call me Raskolnikov," Rascal corrects with the slightest of edges to his voice. Mom tenses. In turn, Rascal flashes a conciliatory smile to the woman. The bookstore owner who introduced him shifts in his chair. Rascal continues speaking. "I went through the usual list of rebellious-guy literature-Burroughs, Thompson, Bukowski, Rollins, just like every other zit-faced kid with a constant hard-on. I found Milan Kundera because one of his covers had a naked lady on it. A lot of Richard Ford. I went through a whole Pynchon thing. Hope that answers your question, ma'am ..." Rascal trails off. Mom is wincing. She didn't bargain for "constant hard-on" talk. I'm unfazed by it. My brother and I are the truest blend of our two parents: We'll tell you to fuck off but then apologize profusely, call you "ma'am" or "sir," and follow that up with some kind of card and/or flower arrangement.

"And your father?" the woman blurts. The entire room gasps.

"I don't know ... Dad? Who are your influences?" Rascal casually takes a drink from his water bottle as the entire room shifts in their chairs to get an official look at the great Ben Page. The woman tries to correct the misunderstanding. She tries to spit out that what she meant to ask was whether Rascal was influenced by his father, not who inspired Ben to write. "It's a misunderstanding," she yells. Rascal slowly sips. Dad doesn't move from his languid, leaning position-his arms crossed across his wide chest, his black hair swooping effortlessly over his eyes. His lower lip is forever contorted into a relaxed curl that, when not cradling his beloved pipe, looks like an ominous snarl. How many times have I seen this look? I take a long breath. Finished batting the woman around like a trapped mouse, Rascal has offered the woman up for sacrifice. Dad goes in for the kill.

"Come to the party, Lady. I named my own kid Raskolnikov. You do the math." Dad's voice is smooth as he finishes with a benign smile. Rascal is nodding and laughing to himself. The crowd goes wild. Rascal looks up from the podium. There is the sweetest moment between them. Nothing like the evisceration of an overzealous fan to bring father and son together.

Our family: bonding through blood sport.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Seeing Me Naked by Liza Palmer Copyright © 2008 by Liza Palmer. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 40 )
Rating Distribution

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(20)

4 Star

(13)

3 Star

(2)

2 Star

(3)

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(2)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 40 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 27, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Very enjoyable book!

    I picked up this book when it was on sale as a bargin book. Now, I have to admit I didn't expect much.. and was so pleasantly surprised at what a delightful story this is. I would not have regreted paying full price for this book. Now I am going to have to read the other book by this author, Conversations with the Fat Girl.

    I could not wait to read the entire story to see what happens.. and at the same time hated for the story to end.

    I hope to see many more books being written by this author.. Totally recommend this book for those who just enjoy reading a good story.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2013

    Amazing.

    I couldnt put it down!!! You instantly fall in love with the characters and everything about them. Incredible story and writing!

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  • Posted March 13, 2013

    This book is tedious, and only likeable characters are the the n

    This book is tedious, and only likeable characters are the the new boyfriend, assistant chef, and his wife. Boo hoo I'm a poor little rich girl with snobbish views; I sneer at rich people yet take advantage of the benefits (the character) and really have no redeeming characteristics.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 6, 2013

    Although the book is a little slow in the beginning, it picked u

    Although the book is a little slow in the beginning, it picked up when Elisabeth met Daniel. It was a cute story and a bit sad to think about how disappointing she saw herself. There was a little too much inner dialogue of Elisabeth but overall it is a well written. I could have done without the story of her assistant chef as it seemed a bit fluffy. Enjoyed the rest of the storylines though, especially how her relationship with her family and Daniel pans out.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2013

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2013

    A must read! A must own! You need to read!

    This is in my top five most favorite books. Ever! I loved the Daniel and Elisabeth relationship at all stages. Each time I read this book, I cheer for Daniel and Elisabeth even more. I recommend this book to all my friends and family. You will like this story!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2012

    Nope

    Enjoyed the written style, but did not care for the book as a whole.

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  • Posted January 8, 2012

    More than just eye candy!

    Elizabeth Page is the under achiever in a family of over achievers. She's chosen to be a pastry chef, while her older brother, Rascal, and father Ben, are literary geniuses, each with award winning books under their belts. Ballard Foster, Elizabeth's mother, is from THE Foster family, and has inherited a fortune. Elizabeth is in a "relationship" with Will, a childhood friend who is an international reporter. At one of her mother's soirees benefiting charity, Elizabeth meets and goads Daniel Sullivan , the antithesis to the men in her life, to bid on and win her contribution to the prizes being raffled on. What follows is an unlikely romance.

    You'd think that this book coming in at just under 300 pages would be a light fluffy read, but Liza Palmer surprises and dazzles once again with a story that's not just flirty and romantic, but that also has serious undertones about relationships and roles in the family. It's both endearing and heart rending at the same time, a skill Ms. Palmer has in spades.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 14, 2011

    Fantastic.

    Love, love, LOVED this book! It was emotional without being sappy, witty, smart and engaging. The characters felt like old friends. The writing was SUPERB. I can't say enough about this writer. Pick up her other books, too.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 12, 2010

    Romance with GOOD writing

    I was skeptical of this book at first because of it's title and cover (seems racy, eh). Yet, it was not long before I began to see that it was a solid story with great writing. The novel's genre is romance at its base, but it reaches beyond.

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  • Posted July 4, 2010

    Transcends Chick-Lit (men will love it as much as women)

    First off, Palmer can write. Not 'construct a sentence, give us a few laughs', write, but 'weave emotion and detail and character with such style you're amazed she isn't a household name', write. This isn't fluff. This isn't the 'lost girl searching for the right guy,' although there is a bit of that. This is a novel in which character dynamics with family and friends are vivid and real. The dialogue is crisp and full of subtext that most readers will miss, thinking that, like many chick-lit novels, the characters are rather one-dimensional. The reason why this works is Palmer KNOWS how to write male characters, another rarity in this sub-genre. This alone elevates her prose to the point that male readers will enjoy the novel just as much as female readers.

    Palmer now needs to pen a novel that goes beyond one member of the Page family. She knows these characters inside and out and it would be a shame if readers aren't treated to another helping of their wonderfully delicious family dysfunction.

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  • Posted July 3, 2010

    Great beach read

    I found this book very enjoyable and engaging. Perfect reading for a lazy day in the sunshine or a rainy day on the couch.

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  • Posted June 30, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    This book is a very fun read!

    I started reading this book and couldn't put it down. You can easily identify with the characters. The main character learns about finding love, finding herself, and learning to take pride in that.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 22, 2008

    Totally Delicious

    As with other readers, I found myself eager to read the entire book in a matters of days. I laughed, cried and was thrilled by the ending. It was an enjoyable book to read and would recommend it to others with no reservations. I typically look through book stores in search of unfamiliar authors to explore their talent. Liza Palmer is a talented writer and I look forward to reading her other books. Thank you Liza Palmer for a great piece of literature!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 14, 2008

    Fun Read

    I picked this book up in the airport bookstore because it looked interesting and the blurb on the back sounded like a light read. This is the first time I read anything by thei author, and I was very pleasantly ssurprised. It was a fun and easy, well written book. I have a friend who's daughter is a trained chef who said many chef really are like the one that page worked for.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2008

    Intriging realism and awe

    WOW. i mean wow. I'm a young writer myself and find myself often critiquing the many books I scim over. I haven't read any of her books before but the way she writes is amazing. It's hard to describe. It's almost like how a writer would narrate their own life. Some parts were very hard to muffle a guilty laugh. The goal of achieving to make a difference in the world but still achieving what makes you happy is very relateable. truely though, the writing is what caught and kept my attention

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 12, 2008

    Good read!

    I couldn't tell you the last time I sat down and read a book, let alone finished it in 3 days! It made me giggle and tear up throughout the whole thing. Can't wait to read Confessions of a fat girl!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2008

    A reviewer

    I was lucky enough to receive an advance copy from the author and boy was it good. I absolutely loved Conversations with the Fat Girl and her follow up is just as good. Does not disappoint.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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