Synopses & Reviews
Read Wendy Shanker's blogs and other content on the Penguin Community.
From the author of The Fat Girl's Guide to Life—an insightful and humorous memoir of one woman's quest to navigate the world of alternative healing.
At age 33, Wendy Shanker was on the verge of Have It All-itis: a Midwestern girl living in Manhattan, writing for television, mingling with celebrities, and publishing her first book. Plus, she had a fierce haircut. Life was good. Then suddenly, it wasn't.
Diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease, Wendy knew she was in for it- at the very least a cocktail of chemo and steroids (certain to challenge her body image), a bustling career put on hold, and a major hurdle to her dating life. When she ran out of medical options, Wendy found herself exploring everything from acupuncture, colonics, and energy healing to detox retreats, tarot card readers, and an intuitive therapist who wanted her to talk to her liver. Surely there must be a guru somewhere who can fix everything-right? Watch a Video
"Author of the disarmingly witty The Fat Girl's Guide to Life, Shanker returns with her trademark generous self-criticism to chronicle some serious health problems that struck her at age 27, in 1999. A busy New York TV producer and writer (for the Oxygen channel), Shanker finally consulted an ear, nose, and throat specialist for her chronic sinus infection and learned that she was afflicted with a rare autoimmune disease, Wegener's granulomatosis, characterized by inflammation of the tissues, especially in the respiratory tract and joints. Prescribed a corticosteroid (prednisone), which made her already troublesome weight balloon, she endured excruciating joint pain, gout, and perforation of her septum; over time she had to undergo chemotherapy in the form of Cytoxan, which made her hair fall out, killed her taste buds, and gave her terrible headaches. Meanwhile, she also took a shot at alternative treatments, including stays at the Ayurvedic Institute in New Mexico, yoga, acupuncture, even astrology and craniosacral therapy, and in a fit of despair and self-empowerment, inspired by her longtime hero Madonna ('Go ahead. Be brilliant'), quits taking all drugs because, she declares, 'I'm the expert on me.' In frank, vigorous prose, Shanker has redirected her grief at losing her mother early and her guilt for being overweight and ill to rediscover herself in momentous ways. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
About the Author
Wendy Shanker is the author of The Fat Girl's Guide to Life and a contributor to The Modern Jewish Girl's Guide to Guilt. She's also performed standup and two acclaimed onewoman shows.