Waisted: A Novel

Waisted: A Novel

by Randy Susan Meyers

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Overview

Named a “Hot Summer Read of 2019” by The Boston Globe

In this provocative, wildly entertaining, and compelling novel, seven women enrolled in an extreme weight loss documentary discover self-love and sisterhood as they enact a daring revenge against the exploitative filmmakers.

Alice and Daphne, both successful and accomplished working mothers, harbor the same secret: obsession with their weight overshadows concerns about their children, husbands, work—and everything else of importance in their lives. Scales terrify them.

Daphne, plump in a family of model-thin women, learned only slimness earns admiration at her mother’s knee. Alice, break-up skinny when she met her husband, risks losing her marriage if she keeps gaining weight.

The two women meet at Waisted. Located in a remote Vermont mansion, the program promises fast, dramatic weight loss, and Alice, Daphne, and five other women are desperate enough to leave behind their families for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The catch? They must agree to always be on camera; afterward, the world will see Waisted: The Documentary.

The women soon discover that the filmmakers have trapped them in a cruel experiment. With each pound lost, they edge deeper into obsession and instability...until they decide to take matters into their own hands.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781501131387
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication date: 05/21/2019
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 110,954
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 4.40(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Randy Susan Meyers is the bestselling author of Waisted, Accidents of Marriage, The Comfort of Lies, The Murderer’s Daughters, and The Widow of Wall Street. Her books have twice been finalists for the Mass Book Award and named “Must Read Books” by the Massachusetts Center for the Book. She lives with her husband in Boston, where she teaches writing at the Grub Street Writers’ Center.

Read an Excerpt

Waisted


  • Everyone hated a fat woman, but none more than she hated herself.

    Alice knew this to be true. Today’s proof? She, along with six other substantial women, stood in the parking lot avoiding each other, as though their abundance of flesh might transfer from body to body, despite all waiting to board the bus for the same reason: “the unique opportunity to spend an entire month exploring ways to bring yourself into balance.”

    Balance, as written in the Waisted brochure, implied weighing less. The virtually memorized pamphlet tucked in Alice’s jeans pocket promised a new life. The women scuffled in the leaves in the parking lot of a designated Dunkin’ Donuts—a meeting place Alice suspected, for no good reason, had been chosen with deliberate irony. She pushed away thoughts of mean-spirited motivation, chalking up her suspicion to nerves and rising hints of buyer’s remorse.

    The thick smell of donuts blew around with the scent of fall leaves. As Alice shuffled from her right to left foot, pulling her suede jacket tight against the wind, a redheaded white woman approached with an outstretched hand.

    “I’m Daphne.” Being much shorter, she had to look up at Alice. “And nervous as hell.”

    Before Alice could do more than shake Daphne’s hand, a uniformed woman came into view, self-importance emanating from her stiff shoulders to the black pen she clicked on and off.

    “No talking, ladies. Line up, tell me who you are, and then march on board.” She checked names against a paper fastened to a red clipboard. One at a time, the women climbed the steps of a repurposed school bus. After the last participant dragged her crazy-wide thighs up the stairs as though this ascension were an Olympian event, the woman in charge marched aboard.

    “Listen up. I’m the driver. Here are your rules.” Though she wore no cap, an invisible one seemed perched on her head. “You will have five minutes for any last texts or emails that you wish to send. After that, you will give me your cell phones and wallets. Tell your loved ones you’ll speak to them in four weeks. Until that time—”

    Daphne, her voice breaking, raised her hand. “What if—”

    The stern woman held up a hand. “No exceptions will be made. Every one of you signed agreements containing this information. You will be allowed to write letters. This is not meant as punishment; it’s your first step in freedom from your past. From this moment on, you concentrate on yourselves and no one else.”

    Alice stared at her phone, pulled up the keyboard, and then closed the screen. She repeated the exercise three times until shutting off the device. She’d already sent all the explanations to her husband that she could muster. To her parents as well. Additional messages wouldn’t help justify her actions.

    The driver walked down the aisle, hand out. When receiving each phone, she peeled off a sticker—a small name tag, it turned out—and placed it on the back of the device. “To ensure you get the right phone back,” she explained.

    After handing over her phone, Alice unfolded the creased and much-read brochure.

    “Waisted: Where You Discover You Can,” the luminous cover announced.

    A photo of a sprawling mansion, rays of sun shining through clouds and dappling the windows with sparkling promise, covered the front. Adirondack chairs dotted the green lawn. Giant sunflowers waved from a garden in the distance. Muscular women with strong-looking legs lay on straw mats.

    An avalanche of fancy words for slimming down drew her, once again, like a magic potion. Idealized photos revealed attractive, plump women in yoga positions, diving into a pool, and sitting cross-legged in circles. Alice read again the quote she’d highlighted in yellow. “?‘If there is no struggle, there is no progress.’—Frederick Douglass.”

    She pushed away thoughts about the brief paragraph regarding filming for educational purposes.

    None of the women sat far from the front of the bus, though nobody shared any of the bench seats. They only darted covert glances at one another. As though imitating the brochure, they formed a virtual UNICEF poster of heavy women: white, black, Hispanic, Korean, and Indian. And then there was Alice, representing mixed race, though who knew into which category they’d slotted her.

    Alice tried to ignore her period cramps and the nausea brought on by exhaust fumes. Perhaps the first test of fortitude “as you embark upon a journey of inner exploration to reevaluate your lives and learn how the mind-body connection affects your body,” was this bumpy ride to the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. After traveling for hours, Alice wanted to separate from both her outer and inner explorers. Sleep threatened to overtake her, the day having begun with an early train ride from Boston to Springfield.

    Alice needed food, water, and ibuprofen.

    The women surrounding her were dressed as though they were headed to a brunch attended by friends they wanted to impress. Without phones, zoning out with headphones and a playlist was impossible. A dark-skinned woman with red glasses clutched an unread paperback, but most of them simply gazed out the window.

    After three hours, they left the highway and turned onto a two-lane state road. Neither homes nor businesses appeared on either side. The area seemed deserted.

    The driver made a sharp left, though no identifying marker beckoned from anywhere, and steered the bus up a narrow paved road. After driving up as though on the ascent of a roller coaster, the ride evened out as the road gave way to tamped-down dirt. They slowed to a crawl along a single-lane road bordered by a low rock wall until reaching an open area fenced in by barbed wire. Here the bus entered a road bisecting a magnificent field strewn with fiery maple leaves until resuming its journey to the top of a long circular driveway.

    Alice put a hand to her heart as the vehicle shuddered to a stop. From this vantage point, high up a mountain, she beheld the breathtaking view: multiple valleys colored by a riot of October colors.

    “You’ve arrived.” The driver’s sardonic grin unnerved Alice. “Enjoy.”

    Across two football fields’ worth of grass loomed a yellow mansion, topped with a copper-topped cupolaed roof. A vast white porch curved around the building.

    The women exited the bus and walked the long brick path leading to a set of broad perfectly painted brown stairs.

    Hanging from a porch beam swung a cryptic wooden sign.

    Welcome to Privation.

  • Reading Group Guide

    This reading group guide for Waisted includes an introduction, discussion questions, and ideas for enhancing your book club. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.
    .
    Introduction

    In this provocative, wildly entertaining, and compelling novel, seven women enrolled in an extreme weight loss documentary discover self-love and sisterhood as they enact a daring revenge against the exploitative filmmakers.

    Alice and Daphne, both successful and accomplished working mothers, harbor the same secret: obsession with their weight overshadows concerns about their children, husbands, work—and everything else of importance in their lives. Scales terrify them.

    Daphne, plump in a family of model-thin women, learned only slimness earns admiration at her mother’s knee. Alice, breakup skinny when she met her husband, risks losing her marriage if she keeps gaining weight.

    The two women meet at Waisted. Located in a remote Vermont mansion, the program promises fast, dramatic weight loss, and Alice, Daphne, and five other women are desperate enough to leave behind their families for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The catch? They must agree to always be on camera; afterward, the world will see Waisted: The Documentary.

    The women soon discover that the filmmakers have trapped them in a cruel experiment. With each pound lost, they edge deeper into obsession and instability . . . until they decide to take matters into their own hands.

    Topics & Questions for Discussion

    1. How does the mood of the opening scene resonate with you? What did you expect to come after reading this?

    2. “What are you?” Alice has gotten this question for most of her life in regards to being mixed-race (page 11). How does the question affect her? What role does race play in her identity and her relationships?

    3. Describe Alice and Daphne’s relationship to food and their weight. What are the differences and similarities between them? Do either of their relationships to food match yours?

    4. After leaving the film awards ceremony, Clancy and Alice have an argument when they arrive home. Read between the lines and dissect what each character is really trying to say. How does the argument affect Alice’s decision to sign up for the documentary-filmed retreat, Waisted?

    5. At the wedding of Daphne’s sister, her mother directs some sharp words toward her: “Sunny grabbed Daphne’s upper arm. ‘Cover these,’ she whispered. ‘The photographer is everywhere’” (pg 56). Why do you think Sunny acts this way toward her daughter? Are her actions fitting for a mother? Could you imagine doing this to your daughter? How would you have reacted if you were in Daphne’s shoes?

    6. What does Daphne realize about her parenting tactics toward Audrey? What had been her intention in the first place? Discuss what she may mean by her “body [ruining] relationships” (page 65).

    7. How do the trainers treat the women upon their arrival? How do you feel about their remarks toward the women and their goals?

    8. Besides sharing the experience of acclimating to Waisted’s grueling demands, what bonds Alice, Daphne, and Hania? Describe a few of their conversations. What roles do they each play in this friendship that is engendered by being roommates?

    9. The weigh-ins had been humiliating enough for the characters when they were clothed, but the trainers take it a step further by ordering them to strip completely before stepping on the scale. What are some of your reactions to this scene? What did Daphne and Alice’s responses reveal about their character growth?

    10. The women’s revenge plan is based on what they discover in the filmmaker’s den? What’s their revenge plan? Where do you think their courage came from?

    11. Describe what Daphne and Alice’s lives are like after returning from the mansion. Did their weight loss come at a cost? How do people react to their new appearances?

    12. Describe Clancy’s reaction when he learns about Alice’s plans against the filmmakers for Waisted. Are you surprised at all? What are your thoughts on Alice and Clancy’s reconciliation? Do you think the issues brought up in the beginning of the novel are surmountable?

    13. How do the characters view themselves in the end? What do you think their lives will be like going forward?

    Enhance Your Book Club

    1. “‘I wonder if there’s a girl in America who doesn’t grow up wanting to be skinny?’ Alice mused” (pg 115). Reflect on your own relationship with weight and body image. How would you answer Alice’s question? Research the history behind the body positivity movement. Read news articles about the movement today and discuss where it might be going.

    2. Discuss reality television shows that focus on weight and body image, such as The Biggest Loser, Extreme Weight Loss, and Celebrity Fit Club. If you haven’t seen these shows, watch a few clips on YouTube. What value do these shows possess? After reading about Waisted and the characters’ experience, what are your thoughts about reality TV?

    3. One of Randy Susan Meyers’s many strengths as an author is her ability to depict women whose experiences feel real and universal, such as Daphne striving to find the right dress for her sister’s wedding or her desire to raise her daughter differently than how she was raised by her mother. Alice fears that her weight gain may have caused her husband to cheat, or that her weight lost may cause her daughter to value being thin over all else. Which scenes resonated with you the most? Who do you relate to the most: Alice, Daphne, or Hania?

    Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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    Waisted: A Novel 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 31 reviews.
    Dianne57 3 months ago
    Well, I managed to finish this book without throwing my copy against the wall. I truly hate having to give an ARC a bad review, but they do ask for honesty so here goes: I hated the characters... period! I hate how they viewed themselves, I hated their unrealistic thoughts, I hated their angst, I hated how Alice (half black/half white) and her mother (white/Jewish) were so bigoted/prejudiced, I hated that once I finished this book I couldn't even remember how it ended *scratches head* did they ever get satisfaction from posting their own video? And isn't it sad that this book left such a little imprint on me that I can't remember such an interesting part of the book...the ONLY interesting part I might add? I hated that this was such a verbose read. I don't know what kind of 'fat' this author is or was or what kinds of research she did, but out of all the fat women I know (and I'm included -as a matter of fact I've been on both sides of the scale, obese and then nearly anorexic via an undiscovered thyroid issue and then years at an average weight) not one of them are as self-absorbed and obsessed as these two are. I know that many of the early reviewers loved this book -so you may really want to try this book and give it a chance and not be colored with my little rant. *ARC supplied by the publisher.
    dSouthernGal 3 months ago
    As a women who has battled mind, body and soul with weight and image, I found "Waisted" a very profound read. The story of these women (though fictional) represent much of what women put themselves through in order to be accepted and loved, by society, friends, family and loved ones. I read what FAT means to various individuals, and society. I read the lies people tell themselves, (as coping mechanisms) and the technique marketers use to control them. The emotions that pore through these women are real. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Atria Books through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
    Noire 3 months ago
    I received an ARC of this book to read through NetGalley in exchange for a fair review. Waisted by Randy Susan Meyers is a woman’s fiction book that explores what it means to be fat to two women Alice and Daphne and what extremes would they be willing to go to lose the weight … to be thin. How does being fat affect our relationships and our lives and can we still love ourselves when we are considered obese are the questions that they ask them selves over the course of the story. It is not an easy book to read as there is a fair amount of fat shaming in the book. I liked how the book showed that the two women could be both powerful and fragile with out one necessarily negating the other, and while I was mostly satisfied at the end of the book there were a few loose ends that I would have liked to have been tidied up as this is fiction not real life and one can do that. Publishing Date May 21, 2019 #Waisted #NetGalley #AtriaBooks #RandySusanMeyers #WomensFiction
    3900980 3 months ago
    Alice is the head of a children's community center and she is overweight. She is obsessed with being overweight. But she can't help but be overweight. Since her childhood her mother has kept tabs on how much she eats. How unhealthy being overweight is and what not to eat. Now Alice only hears her mother's voice in her head when trying to make healthy food choices and it only does the opposite. So Alice continues to eat and continues to gain weight. Daphne, a make-up artist was very thin when she met her husband years ago. When she found herself pregnant they decided to marry. Since the birth of her daughter years ago she not only never lost the baby weight, but has continually added to it much to the chagrin of her husband and her mother. They are a tag team when it comes to what she puts in her mouth. Now she is beginning to worry about her young daughter and what her perception of the situation might do to her. She feels she needs to get her weight under control not only for herself but to save her marriage and make both her daughter and mother happy. Alice and Daphne meet at Waisted, a month long live-in mansion in Vermont where it is promised to members a safe, healthy weight loss with psychological assistance to help with their understanding as to why they eat. They soon discover that not only is this program not what it said it would be, but is actually being filmed to become a documentary which will be viewed by many. Not something an overweight person would really be comfortable with. The women all begin to realize they are being used not in a good way, but in a way in which the documentary will make them be perceived as desperate women who would do just about anything to lose weight quickly. The counselors are cruel and demeaning, depriving them of food and making them feel worthless, even more so than when they arrived. The must figure out a way to get out. This incredible novel delves into so many social issues seen in both young girls and women who begin to feel powerless and self-conscious at an early age. With problems such as body image, addiction, trying to hold a marriage and family together to being brave and honest and finally accepting who you are and loving that person, this book has it all. This is an inspiring story of women who decide to take back their power and use it for good.
    crystallyn 3 months ago
    Wow. What a range of feeling went through me as I read this novel! I imagine that this is probably typical for any woman reading the book--how could one not feel at times uncomfortable, enraged, motivated, and inspired by the characters in Waisted?. To me, that's a sign of a fantastic read, when the author can make you feel up and down that on the spectrum of human emotions and you ruminate (pun not intended but oddly appropriate!) about the novel long after you read that last word. Daphne and Alice are deeply unsatisfied with their bodies, and in an effort to find peace with themselves, end up enrolling in a weight loss documentary program that turns out to be a hardcore reality fat camp in disguise. The trainers and administrators of the program are the ultimate fat shamers, tearing the women down to their most vulnerable selves, taking the reader right there with them because it's not hard to imagine what those characters might be feeling. But when the women band together and decide to take matters into their own hands, that's the real feel-good heart of the novel, and that reward is sweeter than any sugary treat. Thanks, Randy Susan Meyers, for the riveting, rollicking, rollercoaster you give us in Waisted. And thanks Atria and Netgalley for the early read!
    BettyTaylor 3 months ago
    This is a story that any woman who has ever struggled with weight loss and body image can relate to. Seven women meet when they all enroll in an extreme weight loss program (think TV’s “The Biggest Loser”). They agree to be filmed throughout the process and will be featured in a documentary afterwards – “Waisted: The Documentary”. Our primary protagonists are Daphne and Alice. They are both successful working mothers with children, both obsessed with losing weight. Daphne’s mother has always badgered Daphne about her weight. After struggling through a painful relationship break-up, Alice lost a lot weight. It is while at her lowest weight ever that she meets her husband-to-be. Now she is married and putting on the weight again. Alice is now afraid she will lose her husband if she continues to gain weight. Thus, Daphne and Alice become part of the extreme weight loss program. WAISTED lays bare the struggles women have with the cultural norms regarding their bodies and their self-worth. “How far would you go to lose weight?” Some women would do anything to fit society’s norms. Meyers creates characters that are relatable and deserving of our compassion. I was horrified by the humiliation they endured until enough was enough. Bonding together these women learned to love themselves. Overall I enjoyed the book but did think the second half of the book just seemed too drawn out. The book does give the reader a lot to think about – cultural attitudes toward the obese, self-shaming, obsession with food and the number on the scale, what we are teaching our children about body image.
    Anattorneywrites 3 months ago
    “Waisted” is the latest novel by Randy Susan Meyers. I have been a fan of the author since I first read “The Comfort of Lies” several years ago, and fans who appreciate Meyer’s perspective on the human condition will certainly not disappointed with her recent effort. Daphne and Alice, like many women, wish they were thinner. Daphne’s mother has pressured Daphne to lose weight since she was young. Though her husband claims he is attracted to her because of who she is, even as an adult, Daphne still wants to make her mother happy. Meanwhile, Alice met her husband, Clancy, when she was sliver thin and feels as if she cannot return to the woman he fell in love with, she’ll lose him for good. While attending what Daphne and Alice believe to be a weight loss retreat, they agree to be followed by a camera crew for what they believe to be a serious documentary. Instead, the purpose of the documentary is to focus on how far women would be willing to go to (including being humiliated, starved, and forced to exercise for hours at a time) lose weight. Daphne, Alice, and their roommate, Hania, struggle to maintain sanity while figuring out a way to escape. This is not a novel about women trying to lose weight and then discovering that what matters is more than skin deep or other similar clichés. Instead, this novel is about a group of friends who seek revenge for documentary makers’ heinous actions while learning to adapt to their thinner bodies. Some of the scenes of what the women had to go through at the clinic are shocking, but what makes the novel sing is the friendship between Alice, Daphne, and Hania. Meyers also did an excellent job in developing the secondary characters of Alice and Daphne’s husbands, parents, and children. Meyers brings a fresh perspective to the weight loss issue by creating memorable characters and moving the plot along at an engaging pace. Thanks so much to NetGalley, the author and Atria Books for the opportunity to review this novel,.
    Anonymous 3 months ago
    Reading a novel that tells the truth of the experience of women and their relationships with their bodies is rare; rarer still is the depth that Meyers achieves (with humor!) when portraying Alice, Daphne and the five women who join them at a lock-down weight loss program. The pages flew.
    sjillis 3 months ago
    Alice met her husband, Clancy, when she was at her thinnest. But over the years, particularly since she had their daughter, the pounds have crept back on. Worried that Clancy finds her less attractive (a:concern he does nothing to dispel), Alice has resorted to purging after she binges on food. In contrast, Daphne’s husband gives her no reason to think he finds her voluptuous figure problematic. Rather, it is her mother, Sunny, who constantly makes snide, berating remarks. Both women decide to participate in a reality show-type weight loss resort. There they diet and extreme exercise while enduring insults and humiliation at the hands of the film crew/leaders. When the pounds finally start to drop, Alice, Daphne, and others suspect they are being given speed. The author tackles the evergreen issue of body image, throwing in a reality TV aspect to give it more currency. WAISTED is impossible to put down, and Alice and Daphne will work thei way into your hearts. Meyers conveys some brutal truths in an entertaining vehicle. While the characters grow in their self-perception, the novel proves there are no easy fixes. True confession: I am a size 4, but always think I’m just a few cookies from obesity. WAISTED really resonated with me.
    Jenny_Brown 9 days ago
    This novel about the lengths women will go to in order to lose weight gave me so much to think about in terms of how I think about weight and how I can let it control my life. The idea that a number on a scale can actually change my mood is ridiculous and yet dead-on. In this novel, Alice and Daphne go to a weight-loss retreat that is really a documentary experiment in disguise. They are shamed, put through devastating workouts on little food, and plied with pills. As difficult as it was for me to watch them go through this, I had to think, "Yeah, I might do the same." Meyers does such a great job capturing the mindset of these women and how society views them. There's so much more to this novel--how race plays into body expectations; the examples we do or do not provide for our own children; family dynamics--and I'll be thinking about it for a good long time. I think this is novel looks at some important topics but disguises them in this amazingly readable and engaging novel. I had to see how it would end! This would be an excellent book club novel as there is so much great stuff in here to discuss!
    INpurplereader 13 days ago
    Aren'the most overweight women dying to be thin? Waisted by Randy Susan Meyers is an upsetting novel that examines the lengths some people may choose to go in their path to carving out the body they desire. An ad for a luxury resort where a person can examine how to eat nutritiously, exercise well, unearth the reasons for being overweight, and find their new normal. That is the promise behind a documentary film maker who sets out to get women to sign on to his project, and because our society values deprivation, he has no problem finding ingredients enough women for his film. There are some catches in the contract though: all electronics are confiscated, no outside contacts, monitored meals and exercise at their discretion, and tactics that are just inhumane. The first day, first meeting: "Coleen leapt on her back. 'Get up. Walk.' Alice stumbling under Coleen's weight tried to stand. Finally, after tensing her stomach muscles to protect herself, she rose and then took a halting step. 'Giddysp!' Coleen yelled straight and loud into her ear. She dug her hands into Alice's shoulders and wrapped her legs around her waist" (78). That is just the start of the humiliation the women suffer. Alice and Daphne are both quite successful working mothers, but they both feel 'less than' due to their weight. Neither could have imagined the true purpose of the documentary: To determine how much humiliation and deprivation a woman was willing to experience to try to meet the societal expectations of a strong, thin woman as the only path to true beauty. The book is most likely more upsetting to women who have suffered or questioned their worth based on what they weigh any one day. If you have more than two sizes in your closet, if you have ever fasted to lose weight, if you have ever done a drastic weight loss program, this book will probably fascinate and repel you. I rate it a 4 out of 5, and I recommend it as a good summer read.
    wvteddy 17 days ago
    This is the story of seven diverse women, unhappy with their bodies, who agree to go to a "fat camp" and be filmed for a show somewhat like The Biggest Loser. The brochures made Waisted, a mansion in remote Vermont, sound like a spa where they would learn to eat right and exercise. In reality it was more of a prison with the women cut off from the outside and pitted against each other. They were split into competing teams, fed 800 calories and they exercised almost every waking minute. As a woman of a certain size I could so totally relate to these women and their struggles. I starved with them, hurt with them, cried with them, got mad with them, shared their humiliation, and cheered them on to the end. This book is a very timely social commentary that deals with race, culture and the obsession we have with our looks and our bodies. It emphasizes the need for honesty, the value of friendship, and the importance of making peace with the body we have. When the women discover that this was not a reality show about weight loss but a documentary about how far women would go for their looks and how much humiliation they can tolerate, it also becomes a novel of revenge. And revenge is sweet! I received an advance copy of this book from Netgalley and the publisher and was happy to review it.
    Anonymous 20 days ago
    Seven years ago, I read and quite enjoyed Meyers' debut novel and her other novels since have all ended up on my ever-growing TBR. But this book, a fictional book revolving around a weight-loss documentary piqued my interest as soon as I heard about it. The premise itself didn't sound terribly original - over the years, I have seen a sub-set of women's fiction that all seem to include a weight-loss transformation (with various happily ever afters, and methods for said weight-loss), but the documentary angle sounded like this would have a more modern approach to the topic. And this film-making angle does breathe fresh life into this - and it's also interesting that the seven women participating are overweight, but not in the "My 600-lb Life" way, but in a more "normal" or common range of obesity. The two narrators, Alice and Daphne, each feel realistically drawn. And I think that there are plenty of moments of honesty here about body image that everyone will be able to identify with. But, the beginning of the book does venture into a bit of repetition and some contradictions that make me very curious to see what the ultimate message Meyers will leave readers with. The last third of the book is the strongest part - though there are a few things missing from expected consequences that I would have wanted to see...Still, the two main characters' arcs are both believable and inspiring in different ways. The final message is just as hopeful and less contradictory than what I started to fear about halfway through. I do like the feminist angle that is present but never gets too political to spoil anything. The male characters, though not the focus, do have some dimension to them as well. It is an interesting and engaging read that. I am sure will do very well with book clubs and inciting plenty of lively discussion amongst its readers!
    Anonymous 23 days ago
    I have mixed feelings about this book. It started slow, with a *lot* of secondary characters who weren't well developed. Then it picked up, and became quite engaging and very relatable. Then towards the end, it became a bit unbelievable, over the top and preachy. However, throughout the roll coaster that this book was for me, I found I couldn't put it down and it made me think about weight and fat shaming. I also enjoyed the relationships formed by the women who attended the "fat camp". Thanks to NetGalley for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
    Honolulubelle 26 days ago
    Favorite Quotes: She, along with six other substantial women, stood in the parking lot avoiding each other, as though their abundance of flesh might transfer from body to body. “I’m in shock at the number.” Daphne refused to state the actual number. “Shock without any baseline of knowledge. I don’t know what I should weigh. Last night, watching those men and women being weighed like heifers at market, I wanted to cry.” Mirrors engulfed them, mirrors sharper and brighter than Daphne imagined existed… Mirrors courtesy of Satan. “Alive is a story— decades old, but true— of plane crash survivors in the Andes Mountains,” Daphne explained. “The passengers who lived survived by eating the flesh of the dead.” A week ago, Hania would have groaned in disgust. Now she looked as though she understood cannibalism. Fat women looked more naked than normal-weighted women. Clothes made the woman. Naked made the shame. When they learned that Susannah worked as a nursery school teacher, Daphne imagined toddlers climbing up onto her giant lap as though scaling the Matterhorn. Daphne snuck up on the scale as if approaching it slowly would trick the machine… Like the smuggest of men, the scale mocked her. My Review: Oh what wickedly clever insights Randy Susan Meyers skewered me with, it was as if she has been spying from my pantry. I could have easily been a character in this book. I was blessed (overly so) with a curvaceous body shape and am a life-long expert dieter (yoyo) and as one who counts vacuuming as strenuous exercise (begrudgingly done), I saw my crazy on several pages of this revealing tale and had a fleeting worrisome thought of whether I should possibly check my home for hidden cameras. I will confess to having fervently thrown myself into countless fad diets and “lifestyle programs” as well as begged a few (numerous) doctors for the latest magic pill being advertised, all while keeping fingers crossed it will be as promised - the last one I’ll ever need. I know I’m not unique, and imagine 90% of women have suffered from similar concerns at least once in their lives. Ms. Meyers’ narrative raised several interesting points and provided thoughtful if not a bit painfully reflective entertainment as to the extreme measures (including soul-shattering humiliation, deprivation, and degradation) that women would willingly allow being perpetrated upon them for the goal of quick weight loss. She had me there. While the plot and storylines were relevant and topical, I also deeply appreciated how this perceptive author craftily navigated the nuances and complications of racial and cultural quirks toward these issues with the use of clever wry humor and insightful observations. While many of the characters’ revelations and inner musings were markedly profound, my favorite combination of all the words used in this book was a notation of “the secret obese of France,” snort, you know there has to be at least a few hidden away.
    BeautyBubbe 26 days ago
    Alice and Daphne are obsessed with their weight and decide to do something about it. Daphne has mother issues and Alice risks losing her marriage if she keeps gaining weight. The two women meet at Waisted. Located in a Vermont mansion, the program promises fast, dramatic weight loss, and Alice, Daphne, and five other women are desperate enough to leave behind their families for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. But then they find out they need to be on camera; and the world will see Waisted: The Documentary. This book was slow reading in the beginning but picks up as the ladies find themselves in total humiliation at the hands of the owners running Waisted. They are trying to find out just how far women would go to lose weight, so they are pushed to their limits. It does bring out some great points about how we judge people by their looks and weight and what it means to those who are overweight. None of them had self-worth and toward the end of their 4 weeks they realize that it is not worth it and decide to get some revenge and expose this group. There are good and bad in both thin people and fat people; it is how you feel about yourself that brings these things to a surface. And if the rest of the world doesn’t see your worth…..well, too bad! This book was received from NetGalley for an honest review. It is not due out until 5/1/19 so put it on your TBR list.
    GailHollingsworth 27 days ago
    I was intrigued by the description of this novel and curious as well. I knew I had to try it. I read it all and had some positive and negative thoughts. I enjoyed the different cultures, religions and races involved in the telling. It gave the story several different perspectives. Seven women embarked on a one month journey to lose weight. But the brochure they were given describing the experience was filled with falsehoods. It reminded me in a small way of the TV show The Biggest Loser in that the women were put through tough exercise regimens, but that’s where the similarity ended. The two main characters had background information given as to why they decided to join Waisted. One had a husband that didn’t like her fat and the other had a controlling mother that shamed her about her weight. The humiliation, embarrassment and suffering they went through was shameful to the point that three of the seven took it upon themselves to try and expose the crew that were doing the “documentary”. They took some chances that added to the intrigue factor. The retrospective that each of the women talked about was a positive addition to the conclusion. My negatives had to do with some of the language used and many words that had to be looked up for me to understand the context otherwise it was an interesting way to spend an afternoon. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through Netgalley but was not required to write a review.
    Bookwormish-Me 27 days ago
    There is an old Yiddish proverb, “You can never be too rich or too thin.” Well, maybe not a Yiddish proverb, but find me a Jewish mother of a certain era, and I guarantee her daughter will tell you she heard this at least once or twice. This is the premise behind Waisted, a novel about the lengths women will go to to adhere to society’s expectations. Alice is a mixed race mom married to a white documentary film maker. At the time she met Clancy, she had endured a bitter breakup and was the thinnest she could ever imagine being. Clancy didn’t know that this was not the norm for Alice, so his expectations were that she’d always be rail thin. Alice had a Jewish mother, but her Jewish mother didn’t espouse the “too rich or thin” mantra. In fact the opposite. Her mother went out of her way to make Alice embrace her “blackness” by accepting her curves. Daphne is a white Jewish middle class mom from the burbs who grew up with the quintessential Jewish mother, always watching every crumb that Daphne consumed. Daphne married Sam, the most gentle, kind man one could imagine. Sam would love Daphne if she shaved her head and tattooed every inch of her body, so there are no expectations in their marriage that Daphne should be thin. But as most of us know, a mother’s words can play tapes on repeat in your head. Daphne is forever striving for her mother’s approval. When a flier for casting for a documentary film ends up in both these women’s hands, they jump at the opportunity to participate. The documentary is going to cover the weight loss adventures of seven women. The caveat is that you must relinquish any contact with the outside world for one month. One month that the filmmakers will cover your salary for missed work. In this brochure they promise all sorts of wonderful things such as quick weight loss in a healthy setting, but the reality is anything but. I found this novel a fabulous tale of finding your voice and your true self in a world where the “norms” are not always achievable. I grew up with a mother like Daphne’s so I really identified with how she felt growing up and still hearing those voices as an adult. I think that each one of the women has a quality that most of us can identify with. Fitting into society’s molds is what a lot of parents expect from their kids. I think that is the moral of this story. You don’t have to fit a mold to make a difference, or be a great mom, or love yourself. Myers has crafted a story of women bonding and finding friendship in spite of their differences. Also, about acceptance, which is something I believe our culture struggles to find. I would recommend this one to all my female friends. Review originally posted at BookwormishMe.com
    Renwarsreads 28 days ago
    I really connected with the characters in this book because they way that they felt a different times, I know I have felt before. It is a good story for anyone who has has dealt with issues of not feeling thin enough, good enough, etc. I believe all of us at one time or the other has had the feeling that they don't fit and it's nice to read their story, how they deal with these feelings and how they learn to live and love themselves.
    LawladyCase 29 days ago
    What would you be willing to do/give up/incur to lose weight? Several women are chosen to attend a weight loss resort in rural Vermont. Privation is touted as the program which teaches how to lose weight in a supportive, balancing, motivational, and sustainable manner. From the beginning, the women experience quite the opposite. This is a book about wanting something so bad that you are willing to ignore warning signs and abuse that in other circumstances they would immediately call foul. As I read it, I reflected on the many times I have lost weight only to gain it back. I also examined times when I remained quiet when I should have spoken up for others. It is a book about losing weight but more about what goals will allow others to make for us and what we will do to reach the societal expectation. I cannot express how much I liked this book. It was unique in its telling while still being truthful in the way in which we see ourselves. So many people (particularly women) are obsessed with size and weight while ignoring other traits and behaviors that are more important to happiness and love. Alice, Daphne and Hania may have different reasons for wanting to be thin than I do but we get to the desperation of feeling fat just the same. Whether you have ever been in a weight battle or not, this is an excellent fictional story about giving up our willingness (or not) to give up our dignity to be what society tells up we should be. I love the main characters; each have both flaws and exceeding goodness that makes us want to cheer their accomplishments and cry during their sadness. The instructors occasionally have a humane spot but are good villains. Family members are basically good people with major flaws they can’t seem to keep to themselves. The writing is seamless. It will invoke laughing and crying but mostly awe. I urge you to run out and buy Waisted. Start reading it now or put it at the top of your To Be Read list. You won’t be sorry. Another success, Ms. Meyers. I received an ARC from Atria Books through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affects my opinion or rating of this book.
    GinnyD 29 days ago
    This book is a must read for any woman who has ever worried about her weight or body image. And is there a woman out there who hasn't? Meyers develops characters like no other writer. We become immersed in their world of immediate and extended families. But most of all she lets us into their most private, hidden thoughts about their struggles (and obsessions) with food, weight and love. These are accomplished women, smart women, caring women - and still in their secret selves -- none of that matters quite as much as the number on the scale. They are not proud of this. This story also examines the pressure women feel to be thin, as if being overweight (a lot or a little) is a public shame. This is a compelling read, hard to put down and insightful. I loved this book!!!
    SL22268 29 days ago
    Just so-so Thank you to Atria Books and NetGalley for an e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. The plot of this book very much resembles The Biggest Loser; several women, who could stand to lose a few...well, more than a few, pounds, meet at a mansion to try to do just that. The catch is that the whole entire experience would be recorded and be turned into a documentary. Little did they know, they weren't only trying to lose weight, but they are actually part of an experiment. They find out and decided to take matters into their own hands and bring the filmmakers down. I had a hard time staying interested in this book. It wasn't necessarily "bad", I just didn't find it interesting.
    MJRose-Author 29 days ago
    This book was brilliant. It made me hungry. It made me never want to eat again. It made me angry at the way women feel about themselves and their bodies and how others view us. The characters resonated with me and the story surprised me. It's a masterful work of fiction, a truthful sometimes painful view of the world we live in. But in the end it is a hopeful message to all of us that smart is what is beautiful. And this book is smart. And it is beautiful.
    HomeSweetHouser 30 days ago
    This review is incredibly difficult for me to write. I am a book reviewer. But, I don't review books to be critical. I do it to promote books, support authors and publishers, and share my love of reading. I review over 200 books per year and I virtually never give an overtly negative review. I often find that even if a book is not my personal taste, I can appreciate it for what it is and what it brings to the table. Unfortunately, Waisted completely missed the mark for me. And while I appreciate the concept, I struggle to give it even a halfway decent review. Let's start with the things I liked: 1. The overall message. I personally struggle with weight and body image issues so I loved the idea behind this book. I love the ultimate message of loving one's self for more than just a number on a scale. I get it. 2. The weight loss tips and quotes interspersed throughout the prose. Although sometimes awkwardly placed and located, I liked what they added. Ok, so what didn't I like? 1. In a general sense, I felt like the writing was completely ineffective in delivering the overall message. At a high level, the point was made. But, the story never felt authentic or realistic enough for me to feel invested in the story or the characters. I would have appreciated a more conversational tone to the sentence structure. It just felt like the author was trying too hard. Frankly, I didn't care what happened next because I was so disengaged. 2. The first half of the story felt really schizophrenic and unorganized. I explained it to a friend as "just words on a page" because there were a lot of words and very little substance. The second half turned around a bit and the story started to move in a cohesive direction, but it still felt choppy and inconsistent. 3. The dialogue was totally unrealistic. I could never see myself saying some of the things the characters in this story did. I so much more appreciate when authors write dialogue that is relatable. 4. The characters were not well developed or distinct. I'm not joking here... for about 70% of the book I kept getting confused with which character was Daphne and which was Alice (the two main characters). Their literary voices were so similar and poorly differentiated that they felt like the same character in two different story lines. 5. While I appreciate how race plays into body image, I felt like the author was too ambitious trying to tackle both issues of weight and issues of race. If she would have focused her message solely on weight, I think she may have been more successful. There were too many conflicting ideas competing for priority. Frankly, when I finished the book I thought to myself, "I'm glad that's over." Which is never the way you want to feel when you close the last page. Like I said, I so rarely find that I rate a book less than 3 stars. I hate so much to give a bad review but I think it's important to be authentic and honest. This one just did not resonate with me. -I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to NetGalley, Randy Susan Meyers, and Atria Books for the opportunity to review.-
    bookluvr35SL 30 days ago
    *** I received an advanced e-copy from Net Galley in exchange for my honest review The premise of the novel is this small group of women going to a weight-loss retreat as part of a documentary, only to discover that it was an extreme weight-loss boot camp designed to humiliate the women and see how far they would go in order to lose weight. As someone who has struggled with their weight almost their entire life, I could relate to the women and their struggles. It begged the question: how far would I go to lose weight and be thin again? The methods used by the ones making the documentary repulsed me, my heart broke for the women at times and I mentally cheered them on at other times. The book went a little slow at times, but was overall a very empowering story for women everywhere.