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Women like us : a memoir
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Library Journal Review
British author Prowse (To Love and Be Loved) offers an intimate account of her quest to find happiness despite the pressure of cultural beauty standards and expectations. Fans of Prowse's work will be thrilled to hear the author narrating her personal stories. With a gentle British accent, Prowse speaks to women like herself--not the perfectly coiffed and confident, but women who are self-conscious and sometimes overwhelmed with doubt. Some of the challenges that Prowse has encountered--sexual abuse, failed relationships, and notably, a toxic relationship with food--are heartbreaking, but she proves that it is possible to come out on the other side with confidence and joy. Prowse's body and food issues will be relatable to many listeners, and her strength and bravery will likely inspire. While the print book has many black-and-white photographs that may not be available to listeners, Prowse's personal and direct reading makes up for that lack. VERDICT An uplifting and humorous memoir that should resonate with patrons. Share with fans of Delia Ephron's Left on Tenth or Kelsey Miller's Big Girl.--Laura Stein
Publishers Weekly Review
In this immensely inspiring work, British novelist Prowse (What Have I Done?) reflects on the bodily struggles that bled into her successful writing career. Though she fell in love with literature at a young age--discovering her "happy place" between the rows of books at her local library in mid-1970s London--no fictional world could provide a total escape from the physical burdens Prowse faced. In heart-wrenching flashbacks, she recounts the multiple childhood surgeries she underwent due to a congenital defect, the sexual abuse she suffered as a young teenager, a failed marriage in her 20s, and, most resonantly, the decades-long struggle with body image issues, prompted by impossible cultural beauty standards, that spun her through life-threatening cycles of anorexia and overeating: "From my mid to late twenties," she recalls, "My daily calorie intake was well below what is necessary for optimum function." It wasn't until her 50s, with several bestselling books under her belt, that Prowse resolved to "break the mental shackles" of her toxic rituals around eating to reframe the way she viewed food, swear off diets, and give herself permission to adapt a realistic approach to healthier eating habits. Told with clarity and vulnerability, Prowse's story of overcoming cultural norms to accept herself arrives as a much-needed corrective in an age of filtered beauty. (Sept.)
Booklist Review
Best-selling author Prowse, "the Queen of Heartbreak Fiction," has made a name for herself writing about relationships, and here she finally writes about her own life and relationships in this conversational memoir. Much of the book focuses on the most meaningful and arguably the most destructive relationship in Prowse's life--to herself and her own body. Prowse spent her childhood in and out of hospitals struggling with a debilitating congenital pelvic defect. At an age when most children would likely not know what a pelvis was, Prowse was lying in hospital beds, agonizing over the patchwork of scars that covered her below the waist. As she aged, and her pelvis stabilized, Prowse's fixations shifted to an obsession with slimness as she describes her twenties as a time she experimented with dieting and disordered eating, and she still deals with stress and emotional binge eating. Through marriage, motherhood, divorce, remarriage, and family trauma, Prowse's relationship to her weight is a constant struggle. Prowse's writing is candid and charming, and many of her stories will resonate with her readers.

Amanda Prowse has built a bestselling career on the lives of fictional women. Now she turns the pen on her own life.

I guess the first question to ask is, what kind of woman am I? Well, you know those women who saunter into a room, immaculately coiffed and primped from head to toe?

If you look behind her, you'll see me.

From her childhood, where there was no blueprint for success, to building a career as a bestselling novelist against all odds, Amanda Prowse explores what it means to be a woman in a world where popularity, slimness, beauty and youth are currency--and how she overcame all of that to forge her own path to happiness.

Sometimes heartbreaking, often hilarious and always entirely relatable, Prowse details her early struggles with self-esteem and how she coped with the frustrating expectations others had of how she should live. Most poignantly, she delves into her toxic relationship with food, the hardest addiction she has ever known, and how she journeyed out the other side.

One of the most candid memoirs you're ever likely to read, Women Like Us provides welcome insight into how it is possible--against the odds--to overcome insecurity, body consciousness and the ubiquitous imposter syndrome to find happiness and success, from a woman who's done it all, and then some.

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