Approval Junkie: My Heartfelt (and Occasionally Inappropriate) Quest to Please Just about Everyone, and Ultimately Myself

Approval Junkie: My Heartfelt (and Occasionally Inappropriate) Quest to Please Just about Everyone, and Ultimately Myself

by Faith Salie


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From comedian and journalist Faith Salie, of NPR's Wait Wait…Don't Tell Me! and CBS News Sunday Morning, a collection of daring, funny essays chronicling the author's adventures during her lifelong quest for approval
Faith Salie has done it all in the name of validation. Whether she’s trying to impress her parents with a perfect GPA, undergoing an exorcism to save her toxic marriage, or baking a 3D excavator cake for her son’s birthday, Salie is the ultimate approval seeker—an “approval junkie,” if you will. 

In this collection of daring, honest essays, Salie shares stories from her lifelong quest for gold stars, recounting her strategy for winning (very Southern) high school beauty pageant; her struggle to pick the perfect outfit to wear to her divorce; and her difficulty falling in love again, and then conceiving, in the years following her mother’s death.
With thoughtful irreverence, Salie reflects on why she tries so hard to please others, and herself, highlighting a phenomenon that many people—especially women—experience at home and in the workplace. Equal parts laugh-out loud funny and poignant, Approval Junkie is one woman’s journey to realizing that seeking approval from others is more than just getting them to like you—it's challenging yourself to achieve, and survive, more than you ever thought you could.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780553419955
Publisher: Crown/Archetype
Publication date: 04/18/2017
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 367,246
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

FAITH SALIE is an Emmy-winning contributor to CBS News Sunday Morning and a panelist on NPR’s Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me! She also hosts the PBS show, Science Goes To The Movies. As a commentator on politics and pop culture, she’s been interviewed by the likes of Oprah Winfrey, Bill O’Reilly, and Anderson Cooper. As a television and public radio host, she herself has interviewed newsmakers from Lorne Michaels to President Carter to Robert Redford, who invited her to call him “Bob.” Faith attended Oxford University on a Rhodes scholarship, and while her fellow scholars went on to become governors and mayors, she landed on a Star Trek collectible trading card worth hundreds of cents.  She lives in New York City with her husband, two children, and her husband’s dog.

Read an Excerpt

I totally saw the proposal coming, because, well, it was simply time. We’d talked about getting married, explicitly and erosively, for so long that it wasn’t worth talking about anymore. We’d been dating for five years, which is also known as a “lustrum.” But even that rococo word doesn’t romanticize that half a decade is a long time to wait, and everyone in our lives was sick of it. There was an unspoken feeling of Let’s get this over with, so we can see if it will make things better. Please buckle up, because here comes some caps lock: YES I TOTALLY KNOW THAT GETTING MARRIED IS NEVER THE WAY TO FIX A CRAPPY RELATIONSHIP BUT I ALSO KNOW I SHOULD FLOSS MY TEETH EVERY DAY BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH THANKS.
I really didn’t think it would happen this one particular afternoon. This explains why I had no makeup on and had decked myself out in an Old Navy shirt, comfy jeans, and boots that supplied no flattering heel height. The wasband had gone into the Lighthouse Museum, because his great-grandfather or someone had had something to do with the building of the village lighthouse. I was exhausted (from an­ticipation) so I stayed in the rental car, reclined my seat, and napped. He woke me up with a knock on the window and an enthusiastic grin. “You’ve got to see this view!”
If you’ve watched Braveheart, you know that Scotland doesn’t really give a shite that it’s late May or that you’re about to get proposed to, so it was wildly windy and chilly. My hair was flying everywhere. Poised on the precipice, we admired the vibrant indigo of the North Sea and the was­band’s cultural provenance.
When he told me to sit on the lone bench surrounded by wildflowers, I knew. His fist was clenched, and he began to kneel. My heart started beating faster.
I shook my head. “Oh my God . . . no. Stop.” That is what I said. Something deep inside me, beyond ego and beyond heart, knew this thing for which I’d been yearning wasn’t what was best for us.
He paused midkneel, his blue-gray eyes full of hurt. Un­characteristically, transparently, vulnerably surprised and hurt. I’d never seen that look on his face before, and I would never see it again. It lasted maybe “one Mississippi, two Mississippi,” and I couldn’t bear it.
“Go ahead,” I said. “I’m sorry, go ahead.”
He knelt down and asked me to marry him. He kept it simple. Perhaps that was a bold choice suggestive of a re­birth of our relationship, or maybe it was head-in-sandy not to acknowledge how rough our journey to this moment had been. Or, quite likely, I wasn’t much of a muse after ordering him to stop proposing.
When he asked, “Will you marry me?,” I looked at him through my shades, coolly. His question, like his first “I love you,” created such a panoply of emotions that the best course seemed to be to try to keep my face neutral. I didn’t smile or cry or gasp. I waited a few moments, my heart beat­ing out of my chest, while I tried to relish the return of that ephemeral taste of power.
The man I deeply loved and resented, in whom I’d deeply invested, was on one knee, asking me the question I’d longed to hear since our first date. It was, in theory, the ul­timate gesture of approval, but it didn’t feel that way. It was too hard-earned, and that made me feel hollow. The Scot­tish winds carried any “power” I had out to sea. I said only, “Yes,” quietly, because I wanted to. I wanted to marry him.
You don’t have to believe in karma to understand this: he and I were meant to be, well, not meant to be. We had to live through the first part to realize the last part.
I couldn’t wear his grandmother’s ring, because it was too small. Way to feel fat at your betrothal.

Customer Reviews

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Approval Junkie: Adventures in Caring Too Much 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I quit reading after the into because of the language. If you do not want your mind cluttered, do not bother with this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Honest, eye opening, refreshing, and entertaing! Could not put it down!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Faith Salie's reflections of life as a woman, as a professional, as a wife, daughter and mother are honest, poignant and funny. She tells her story authentically, and thus relevant to so many readers. I found her journey of "self discovery" relatable - and literally laughed and cried as I read the memoir. Faith has a way with words, and her writing felt brave in many ways, yet so many of her trials and tribulations are ones that a large percentage of women experience. It was a raw telling of the stories that have guided her life; it was heartfelt, and in a way, I'm sure critical for her to grow as a person. Told in a lighthearted way, many of Faith's anecdotes were heartbreaking: her complicated relationship with food, which is so common in today's society; her relationship and the death of her mother. I loved her distinction between perfectionist and "junkie," as well as how she learned the difference between questioner versus listener. I also loved the way that Faith related her love of and relationship with her mother and other family members - it brought tears to my eyes when I read about her mother baking. I admire Faith's bravery for sharing her store in this way. Definitely worth the read!
Edlyn More than 1 year ago
I liked Approval Junkie! It’s easy to see how Faith Salie became successful. She bets on herself and is unrelentless when she falls short of expectations, whether they come from her or society at large. She’s unapologetic about being Type-A, and it’s taken her to many places she wouldn’t have been otherwise. Unlike so many other books nowadays, I didn’t feel like I had to relate to every story she was putting out there. Salie took me on an adventure through a whirlwind of thoughts of someone whose personality and perspectives are so different from mine. There’s a lot of energy in her writing, but it can be exhausting to read all in one go - I had to break up the book into several readings. She tries hard to make each essay funny or poignant. Though I never laughed out loud at any of her essays, I still enjoyed reading them. This isn't the kind of book I'd pick up for a beach reading. I'd pick it up when you want to motivate yourself to get back into the game and lean in, hard, to see where life takes you.
Sharon-L More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed Salie's stories and reflections. She tells everything with a great sense of humor and is incredibly open about her life and experiences. The experiences she shares in this book were deeply personal but so easy for me to relate to. I applaud her for her willingness to share her perspective and her bravery in admitting to her approval-seeking ways!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Appreciated Salie's sense of humor and candor when discussing love, life and everything in between!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Approval Junkie starts off at a manic pace, feeding the reader with one witty, overwrought anecdote after another. A little saturated to read fluidly at first, Salie settles into her stride after a few chapters, and I found myself enjoying her endearingly neurotic musings on life, career, love, and motherhood. This book is in the vein of Elizabeth Gilbert's "friendly/confessorial" style, and has some great chuckle-out-loud moments. The Type A women of the world will definitely relate to this memoir.
Kate-Huot More than 1 year ago
Having known very little about the author prior to reading this book, I didn't really know what to expect. This was a quick read that took me through a spectrum of emotions, from the author's loss of her mother, to an eating disorder and a never-ending battle with perfectionism, to "What I Wore to My Divorce". Though the subject matter can be bleak at times, Salie keeps a lighthearted tone and is able to find the humor in most situations. This book was relatable, real, and refreshingly not-fluffy.
Holly Vine More than 1 year ago
Faith's self deprecating and honest humor makes this journey through her life an authentic story of self discovery and growth, without even a hint of narcissism. Though deeply personal, the trials and experiences Faith writes of resonate with so many women, myself included. I hugely respect her 'chutzpah' for telling the warts (or lashes) and all stories behind the dissolution of her first toxic marriage; not being pretty enough for a women who's name doesn't have enough vowels; knowing that vanilla is anything but bland; and finding that real love is more than just who says it first.
Cathrine Nelson More than 1 year ago
Being a twenty-something, I find myself constantly searching for inspiration and motivation. This book was the perfect fix. Full of funny and real life experiences, this book was an easy nightly or morning read that put me into good spirits for the next day. A quick read with a a smooth flow was easy to grab when I had a few moments and enjoy the adventures of an approval junkie.
KateMac More than 1 year ago
Faith Salie is complicated, neurotic, brilliant and hilarious... just like all my favorite ladies. Story by story, Approval Junkie paints a picture of her quest to find herself through love, loss, love lost... and hand jobs. If you watch Faith Salie on CBS Sunday Morning, you know her acerbic wit. But Approval Junkie is more intimate - like having a cup of coffee with a friend that turns into a drink that turns into several. Highly entertaining and a bit of a guilty pleasure.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. Faith Salie is a funny writer and I was surprised at how much she opened up about personal feelings-- her doubts, ambitions, the sad things in life-- she tells it all. It's kind of refreshing to hear that life isn't perfect but at the end of the day, things work out and you can process the past and laugh at things that were really, really difficult in the moment. My favorite part is the letter she writes to her daughter as the very end which beautifully captures her wisdom and candid advice.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
While I appreciate that Faith is a complex woman, I had a really hard time with this book. While it's clear that Faith has done some soul-searching and shares some valuable lessons, sometimes she is still altogether too brutal towards herself, usually under the guise of humor. I felt bad for the way she picked herself apart from her body to her choices. When she would joke about crying in the backseat of her car as a punchline, I just wanted to hug her. I also think that while the author is very funny, and clearly has a firm grasp upon writing, I sometimes felt confused by the comedic timing. It seemed like every sentence had a punchline and I wanted to "breathe." It could be because I don't know her in real life, but sometimes the words streamed across the page at such a frenetic pace that I felt like I needed a melatonin and a good night's sleep. I do admire that Faith so bravely shared this raw account of her journey and how she's made peace (somewhat?) with herself. I also hope she takes the time to give herself a hug.
Laura_at_125Pages More than 1 year ago
3.5 Stars Approval Junkie is a memoir that focuses on why a person would seek validation from everyone but herself. It was an interesting read, as I think that needing the okay from others is something that is taught in a low-key way to all girls. Faith Salie, an actress, writer and radio host, has sent the majority of her life questing for approval. She altered her desires and career to please others, primarily her ex, whom she refers to as her wasband. I would have liked a deeper dive into this relationship as I feel it could have been a much more powerful read with more on this relationship. Faith Salie forged an interesting path in life, moving from onscreen to a very successful radio career. Her writing reflected this versatility well. While the synopsis stated that Approval Junkie was “Equal parts laugh-out loud funny and poignant”, I never found the laughing parts. I was amused by some of the chapters, most noticeably the section dealing with Bill O’Reilly, but I never did so much as chuckle. I did find the poignant, as there were a few chapters where Salie really started to open up and dive into her emotions. I did enjoy Salie’s path. She was open and honest with her falters and wins and I appreciated her message at the heart. Unfortunately, I was never super pulled into her life and felt as if I was an impartial observer. Approval Junkie was not a memoir that I disliked, I just never clicked with the narrator and at times felt like she was trying to hard to prove that she was now all fine. I wish the few chapters where I felt the author opening up resonated throughout, but I just didn’t feel it. I did enjoy this read as a whole, but from Faith Salie’s resume expected just a bit more. Original review @ I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.