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Waking Beauty: A Novel Paperback – Jun 22 2004

3.3 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books; 1 edition (June 22 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400051061
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400051069
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 1.3 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 204 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,651,661 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Friedman (Then Again) offers up a spunky, spiteful revenge novel about Allison Penny, an ugly 20-something who suddenly wakes up gorgeous—a silly conceit counterbalanced by bulls-eye social commentary and sharply drawn characters. Allison's roommate, Virginie, and her boyfriend, Fraser, have long made Allison's life hell; pretty much everybody is inconsiderate of pretransformation Allison, including her own adoptive mother. Her only friend is Nathan, a video store clerk and aspiring film critic. Early chapters catalogue the injustices of a world in which unattractive people can't get ahead, while later chapters satisfyingly knock down the pins lined up earlier: Allison gets revenge on Virginie, Fraser, her mother and a supporting cast of shop girls, literati and other pretentious types. But she hasn't become beautiful just to get revenge, has she? "Did I have some sort of beauty duty to perform? And if so, what would it be? Posing naked for a PETA billboard? Administering blowjobs to ugly outcasts?" No, but there's a lesson here: "it's what's on the outside that counts." Beautiful Allison gets handsome suitors, job offers—even her mother's affection. But she's kept her sharp, sardonic view of all things superficial, and she still loves homely Nathan. Friedman thumbs her nose at many of the conventions of chick lit, and the nasty bite of her prose offers plenty of guilty pleasure.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Allison Penny, a self-described "troll," is an overweight, unattractive, depressed 22-year-old with a dead-end cleaning job; a disparaging, alcoholic mother; a father who won't acknowledge her; and a roommate who is just plain mean. Her life is on the fast track to nowhere, until one morning, with no explanation, Allison wakes up stunningly beautiful. What's a girl to do but take her new body for a test drive before her luck runs out? It is in this new body that Allison experiences everything she had been missing. In the end she has to learn how to live in the new body and all the problems that come with it, including getting her inner beauty to match her outer beauty. This modern twist on an old fairy tale is funny, sometimes dark, and completely engaging, but the moral is a little pessimistic--it's what's on the outside that counts. But the book's only real flaw lies in a couple of sexual passages that are raw and somewhat out of tone with the rest of the book. Carolyn Kubisz
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Inside This Book

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First Sentence
At 7:45 A.M. I awoke to the gaudy ululations of my roommate, Virginie, getting vaginally plumbed by her latest conquest. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Allison Penny has spent most of her twenty two years on this earth a monster. She is overweight, obese, has greasy skin, limp hair and does not like trying on clothes in changing rooms. She is virtually ignored by her alcoholic mother, treated like a freak by almost everyone in her life and has never met her father. In short, Allison Penny is very tired of her less than average life.

However, one magical Saturday morning, Allison wakes up in the body of a Goddess. After fainting and getting over the initial shock, Allison is able to examine her wonderfully perfect body. And perfect it is: she has blond locks, large blue eyes, puffy, pouty lips and gorgeous white teeth. Her buttocks look wonderful, her breasts are perfect and she is a model of perfection. Out with the old Allison, in with the new.

Allison, shocked at her transformation, wonders if she uttered an incantation, took a potion, did something different. After racking her brain, she comes up with nothing but decides to enjoy life to the fullest now that she can get everything she has been denied.

She goes out into the world and is offered a modeling contract almost right away. She meets a man and has sex with him; she goes shopping and even tries on clothes in the store. She begins to realize that beauty is power and now she can get everything she wants. Things are not what they seem. Beautiful people have a set of problems all their own.

Trying to come to grips with her new looks, Allison is able to fool everyone into thinking that the old Allison had to leave suddenly. Now she is like a fly on the wall, listening to what everyone thought of fat, ugly Allison. Armed with her beauty, she is able to get access to a world from which she was previously shut out.
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By A Customer on July 12 2004
Format: Paperback
Instead of a rags-to-riches Cinderella story in which a poor girl becomes a princess, Elyse Friedman gives us a beast-to-beauty story in which the altogether uncomely 22-year-old Allison Penny wakes up one morning to find she is suddenly beautiful - and instantly a whole new world of fortune, fame, and love is available to her. The story is complete with a wicked "stepmother" in her adoptive mother and "stepsister" in her roommate. As in some other stories with a similar premise, Allison's first reaction to her astonishing transformation is to take revenge against those who denied her love and friendship because of her previously unlovely appearance. But beyond that, does Allison eventually decide that it's what's inside that counts? What I like about this book is that it doesn't "grow" the character in that obvious direction. Elyse Friedman isn't trying to kid us that what's outside doesn't count...a lot. Allison learns something else. You may be more likely to enjoy this book if you consider yourself one of the beauty-challenged.
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By A Customer on July 2 2004
Format: Paperback
This book is infinitely better than your average chick lit. Elyse Friedman is one of the sharpest, funniest, most observant writers I've read in a long time. The story of her heroine, Allison, could just be turned into a fairytale or wish-fullfillment fantasy, but it winds up being an extremely funny and edgy romp, laced with a lot of black humor and razor-sharp observations about men, women and society. Some of the scenes with Allison's evil roommate, Virginie, or the smoothly handsome suitor George (a Prince Charming who turns out to have some weird sexual proclivities) are worth the price of the book alone.
This will definitely appeal to the Bridget Jones crowd, but it's Bridget Jones with a bite that Bridget never had, and it's far sexier and funnier. This is one of those rare novels that's really worth your money. Read it and enjoy.
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Format: Paperback
Even though I read this really quickly and I enjoyed reading it. Allison Penny doesn't seem like a real character to me. Yes, she made me laugh, and I could empathize with her feelings. However, her character did things that didn't seem believable for someone who has felt ugly her whole life. She wakes up beautiful and suddenly has confidence to spare? I think there would still be vestiges of her former hermit-like self there.
Granted this was a modern sort of fairytale but the characters were too caricature like. They didn't have much depth and their behaviors, except for Allison, were too predictable.
It is a quick, easy read but there is something missing.
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By A Customer on June 29 2004
Format: Paperback
I enjoyed this book (except for a few of the sex words--but I think that's because I'm in my 40's). As an overweight woman, I could really relate to some of the painful experiences Allison had. I would have liked to know the secret behind the change in her appearance but there's probably nothing that would have made any sense, so you just suspend disbelief. No matter how often we hear that it's inside beauty that counts, we all know that's never enough. But if Allison had not been a bright, funny, and good person, she would not have found happiness either.
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