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Certain Girls by Jennifer Weiner

I have been reading the new Jennifer Weiner book, Certain Girls, that goes on sale tomorrow. It picks up where Good in Bed left off, following Cannie years down the road after the success of her book, Big Girls Don’t Cry (which is the book she writes to get back at Bruce Guberman). Her daughter, Joy, born prematurely back in Good in Bed (remember the pushing scene?) is now turning 13, hating her mother and trying to figure out what is real and what is fiction about her conception and early years from Big Girls Don’t Cry. Along the way, Peter decides he wants another child and post-hysterectomy Cannie turns to surrogacy (you knew there had to be an IF theme floating around there somewhere).

It is definitely IF-lite. The surrogacy storyline is tucked into the larger book somewhat like an errand to be run before the end of the day. But to be honest, it didn’t matter. Isn’t it funny–I bitch about talk show hosts not covering IF correctly, but it rolls off my back when I encounter it in Jennifer Weiner’s book. And perhaps it is because I like Cannie so much that when she declares the viability of her eggs simply by an antral follicle count (I know, don’t you wish? Though a doctor who shows you antral follicles and declares, “those are your eggs!”…) I want to simply stroke her hand and smile and say, “that rocks!” rather than deliver a list of 70 questions starting with, “did your doctor do any day-3 blood work?” and ending with “doesn’t your clinic do any psychological screens before they allow you into the surrogacy program? Have you considered a private therapist?”

I think why I love this book and why I will always purchase Jennifer Weiner’s books is for what she does so well. She makes you care. She makes you want to know what will happen next with each character and worry about them and laugh with them and cheer with them. And frankly, it’s a rare author who makes me wish that I could walk alongside the character too and know what happens to them well into the future.

If you could choose one character from any book to start a blog (and who would update the blog daily) and follow along with their story long after the book ends, who would it be and why?

Along with a host of characters from Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go and Milo from The Phantom Tollbooth, Cannie was high on my list. So it is nice to hear what has happened years into the future with Cannie and Joy and Peter and even slimy Bruce. This book should be in every beach bag this summer and we should consider covering it with the Barren Bitches Book Brigade.


1 Jen { 04.07.08 at 12:14 pm }

I love books. This one sounds like a good one for me to grab the next time I am at the bookstore.

2 Lori { 04.07.08 at 1:21 pm }

Loung Ung, from “First They Killed My Father” and “Lucky Child.”

3 Andria and Co. { 04.07.08 at 2:11 pm }

My hubby grew up with her and her brother Jake. Funny thing, is that most of her stories are somewhat based on reality. Supposedly, her mother, Fran, has a big issue that she writes so negatively about her and her girlfriend.

4 Jamie { 04.07.08 at 2:22 pm }

I have loved Jennifer Weiner for awhile and have anxiously been anticipating her new book! Thanks for the info!!

Have you checked out her blog? (Just what we all need, another blog to read…)

I’ve been reading there for awhile and her youngest daughter was born around the same time as Bo. It’s funny, because she danced around her pregnancy for awhile before saying that was what was going on… But I just “knew” that she was preggo. Go figure.

5 beagle { 04.07.08 at 2:31 pm }

Last year, I read that brown was the new black. This year, it must be surrogacy. That’s right, surrogacy is the new black. Making it’s way into movies and book plots everywhere!

As to your actual question . . . let me think on this one . . .

6 JuliaS { 04.07.08 at 2:35 pm }

Love, LOVE Jennifer Weiner.

Character for blogging? Well – sticking with the JW theme, Kate Klein from “Goodnight Nobody”. I could totally relate to her – lost among the Stepford Wives mommies in suburbia, feeling underappreciated, invisible and out of place and risking her neck to solve her neighbor’s murder just to feel alive and like she was utilizing her brain again. Who wouldn’t love to read a blog as well from her pal Janie who managed to spike mom’s drink with Extasy at the dinner party from you know where? :0)

The stroller mugging cracks me up everytime with the whole ugly doll thing.

7 Lisa { 04.07.08 at 3:17 pm }

Hands down, Harriet from Harriet the Spy. I imagine her having an IF blog and being on the same wavelength (ttc-wise/life-wise?) as I am. Only she is naturally hilarious and always the smartest person in the room. I’d check the blog daily for ALL the dish about the REs and their patients. And I would use her as my model for how to cope and make sense of all this nonsense.

—Lisa at infertileground.com

8 Katie { 04.07.08 at 4:26 pm }

I would love a blog by Claire from the Outlander Series. It would be so intriguing. What a great topic!

9 teh4 { 04.07.08 at 5:32 pm }

great recommendation. Anyone recommend any other books that discuss fertility in a relatable, non scientific way?

10 Michell { 04.07.08 at 6:27 pm }

I saw this book at the grocery store yesterday but haven’t made it to Costco to buy it yet. I loved Good in Bed as it truly felt like I was reading a story about my life and that just maybe it could have a happy ending.

11 Vacant Uterus { 04.07.08 at 7:27 pm }

I’d want to know what happened to Lissar from Robin McKinley’s “Deerskin.” The book isn’t for the faint of heart but it’s well worth a read. I want to know if Lissar stays with the Prince, if she’s okay, if she finds lasting peace and happiness. The ending is hopeful but undefined. I’m always wistful when I read the end.

(Robin herself has a blog, worth a look at: http://robinmckinley.livejournal.com/ Yes, this is a shameless plug. She’s one of my favorite authors.)

12 Vacant Uterus { 04.07.08 at 7:29 pm }

I second Katie’s recommendation! I’d love to hear more from Claire, too. And Brianna, for that matter.

13 Denise { 04.07.08 at 7:51 pm }

I third Katie’s recommendation from Outlander! Love that series.

I would also love to follow the daughter from “The Time Traveler’s Wife.” Such an intriguing concept.

Funny, both of my recommendations involve time travel.

14 Isn't it pretty to think so { 04.07.08 at 8:14 pm }

I’m with Denise. The Time Traveler’s Wife is a FAVORITE of mine. Also, any characters from Jodi Picoult.

15 Fertilized { 04.07.08 at 9:28 pm }

weiner made me love reading again. good in bed is one of my favs! I am going to be purchasing this

16 Piccinigirl { 04.08.08 at 6:58 am }

thanks for this review, I’ll look forward to reading this book this summer, I loved “Good in Bed”.
I’ll have to think about who I’d like to follow, I love so many characters.

17 The Town Criers { 04.08.08 at 7:43 am }

Oh, wait, I totally forgot about Harriet the Spy. I want to read her blog. And I’m totally blanking on the daughter in the Time Traveler’s Wife, but she would be good too.

It was part of why I liked the last book of Harry Potter–all of those characters came back that you hadn’t heard about for a while. Like Oliver Wood–a small character–but when he shows back up again, it’s like visiting an old friend.

Ramona. I want Ramona and Beezus to have competing blogs where they bitch about each other and then end up writing these long loving posts at the same time.

18 Io { 04.08.08 at 9:35 am }

Hmm. I can’t think of any character right off, but I love reading series for this exact reason. As a kid I had all the Laura Ingalls Wilder books. Ooo! And I agree with Denise about wanting to read the daughter from the Time Travelers Wife!
And I am glad you mentioned this book – I enjoyed Good in Bed and probably wouldn’t have realized there was a follow up if you hadn’t mentioned it.

19 Julia { 04.08.08 at 11:18 am }

The one book of JW that I read was Goodnight Nobody. Where like on page one she has an abdominal ultrasound at six weeks post-partum and sees 2 heartbeats. Suuuuuuuuuure. And yet, I had to forgive her that, for that exact reason– her writing.

Character bloggers, hm? Woland or any of his crew from Master and Margarita. I should think of somebody more contemporary, I guess. Maybe the girl from the Nanny Diaries…

20 Tracy { 04.08.08 at 11:51 am }

I LOVE Jennifer Weiner! Great post. As far as a protagonist whose blog I’d enjoy? I think I’d have to go with Ave Maria Mulligan from the Adriana Trigiani series, Big Stone Gap. Not only is she a gem, but the characters in the book are truly eclectic and interesting. Have you read her?

21 MLO { 04.08.08 at 1:34 pm }

Not a Jennifer Weiner fan, so I can’t say.

A few characters come to mind:

Kitty from the Carrie Vaughn’s Kitty Series. (It would fit the character’s radio show.)

Granny Og from the Discworld novels – with commentary from a certain Granny Weatherwax. It probably would not be work safe on several levels!

22 bleu { 04.08.08 at 11:32 pm }

Oh Oh Oh I am sooo jealous. I cannot wait to read certain Girls and see what Cannie is up to.

I cannot even think of who I would want to read. Eva Luna maybe, or Francie Nolan from A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, or any of tons of favorite books I have loved. Cannie yes Cannie and Kate Klein. I could go on.

And yes I find myself forgiving her overlooking a lot in her books.

Great topic.

23 noswimmers { 04.09.08 at 12:11 pm }

I am a huge fan of the “Shopaholic” series, so I would have to say Becky Brandon (nee Bloomwood). The books aren’t exactly though-provoking, but they’re a great easy read an lots of fun.

24 Antigone { 04.09.08 at 8:10 pm }

Perfect question since I just found a blog authored by Dagny of Atlas Shrugged.

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