Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Review: The Makedown by Gitty Daneshvari

About the Book: Anna Norton used to be fat. Correction: Anna Norton used to be a fat, nerdy, overeater with low self esteem. When she moves from suburban Ohio to Manhattan at age 23, her life does a total 180. With guidance from her boss, an unlikely Fairy Godmother in the form of a chic caterer and excellent cook, Anna loses all the weight and--though still not quite Kate Moss--finally drops her inferiority complex, brushes the crumbs off her skirt, and enters the world of feeling good, looking good, and...finally having sex.

When Anna meets Ben, the man of her dreams (and of every other person's dreams who isn't blind) she almost can't believe she is dating the Ken Doll. Deep down, she is still the chubby nerd who wrote in a diary called Hello Fatty. But not everything is perfect; her hot boyfriend is a huge flirt, and every leggy blond who crosses his path is a threat to Anna. She just can't escape the feeling that Ben is way out of her league and that everyone thinks she is dating up and he's dating down. It gets so bad, she decides she will do anything to make these women go away.

Enter the Makedown. The reverse makeover. As Anna was made up, so will Ben be made down. Where she went from shabby to chic, he will go from prince to frog. Anna will sabotage his hotness for the sake of her own sanity, and to bring this man into more of what she considers her own league. Enter Nair to induce premature balding, Sears catalogs to inspire bad dressing, and secret additions of cream to her cooking and SKOR bars in granola bar wrappers to induce weight gain. Hilarity ensues, but in the end, Anna must find out if Ben's makedown will save their relationship, or end it.

My Review: The Makedown is a book I really wanted to like. It has the classic ingredients for the sort of chick lit I enjoy, crisp witty writing, a young twenty something girl that wants to change her life, and a little romance. To be sure, there were some laugh out loud moments, but the problem was Anna's hatred of herself was so deeply entrenched in every aspect of the novel, that I had a hard time liking her either.

I couldn't really sympathize with her very much because I just didn't get her. Just a few simple measures would have vastly improved her social standing, but she seemed completely unwilling to change anything about her behavior or her life. So in that regard, it was difficult for me to feel a lot of empathy for her. Then when actually embarks on the makedown...I just really didn't get it at all and thought it was downright cruel.

That's not to say the book was a waste of time, though. As I said before, the writing is sharp and funny. I laughed out loud several times. And I can empathize with the feeling of not being beautiful enough or good enough. I think in many ways, this story is just a huge exaggeration of a woman who doesn't feel secure enough and so tears down those around her to make her feel better about herself, instead of basking in the glow of love.

While not exactly what I was looking for, still an enjoyable read.

Rating: 3.5/5
Things You Might Want to Know: Sex and language of course, this is chick lit.



bermudaonion said...

The reviews for this one seem to be all over the place. Since I'm way past my 20's, I think I'll skip this one.

Kailana said...

I don't know if it would interest me all that much, but it does have a cool cover!

ANovelMenagerie said...

I got to disagree with you on this one, Amy. I thought this book was classic Chick Lit and I really enjoyed it!

S. Krishna said...

I couldn't get into this one when I picked it up. I might try again, but I have so many other books to read that it's not likely!

Literary Feline said...

From the cover, I expected it to be nonfiction at first. :-) I'm sorry this one fell flat for you, Amy. I am not sure it is something that I would pick up, I admit.

Amy said...

Kathy...I'm not sure it's a book you'd like!

Kailana...I agree the cover is very unique.

Sher...I know you loved it. :)

Swapna...there are some funny parts!'s definitely a different sort of cover.

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