Nancy Goodman is a a writer, coach, and expert on emotional eating and weight loss, in addition to being a mother of three. She is also the author of Suprise Me! and It Was Food vs. Me...and I Won.
"This entertaining story combines the thought-provoking insights of a self-help book with the funny, unpredictable characters and situations of a popular novel."
I don’t read chick lit.
I’m not sure I’ve ever done it once (though I did pretend to read Bridget Jones’s Diary back in college just to have something to discuss with a girl I liked. It didn’t work out).
You know, I’m not even exactly sure if the term “chick lit” is derogatory or not. An epithet. I find myself saying “chick lit” in hushed tones when in the mixed company of people that might either read it and/or write it.
Then a friend of mine who reads it recommended a friend of hers who writes it and soon I was engrossed in Nancy Goodman’s new book Surprise Me!, my eyes opened to this once-never-before-explored world of ch*ck l*t.
OK, so Surprise Me! is indeed a novel about a woman — a chick — who struggles to find Mr. Right amongst three suitors. It has lots of short chapters and snappy pillow talk-type dialogue. Naturally, it has a bright pink wedding cake on its cover. Sounds like standard chick lit fare, right? But though it does have a light and breezy finding-love angle, in a way, that’s secondary to a story that is actually a lot more inventive and deep. It’s that story which I enjoyed most about the book and where it truly shined.
The novel’s protagonist Genie Burns, an incredibly compelling character, runs a company called Surprise Enterprises (with a partner and perhaps one of these aforementioned suitors), that plans surprise parties for people. Oh, if companies like Genie’s really existed, they’d make for a great reality TV show. The surprise parties Genie plans and throws throughout the narrative add a welcome dose of zaniness and humor to the book. More importantly, though, is the crux of Surprise Me! which is the detailing of Genie's emotional eating issues and how she overcomes them.
Nancy Goodman herself is a former sufferer of emotional eating, food obsessions, and binging and has long wanted to help women overcome similar issues. Her first book was a serious self-help release on the matter, It Was Food vs. Me . . . And I Won, which despite a major publisher release never really latched on with the public. Still wanting to spread her message, Goodman figured an enjoyable chick lit novel might actually work better and came up with Surprise Me!
Now I may not really know chick lit, but I’m a sucker for books that seem breezy and lightweight upon first glance but are actually deep and inspiring at their core. In fact, that’s what I tried to do with my first novel How to Fail: The Self-Hurt Guide. But while my book was a seemingly “breezy and lightweight” offering full of promiscuous sex, voracious alcohol use, and lots of lots of foul language — masquerading a message of pursuing one’s unique dreams to find success and happiness in this world — Surprise Me! is a lot more, ahem, palatable for a general audience.
I’m a guy and while I read a lot of different things, I like “guy” books. Those are the kinds of books I write too. So I would seem to be one of the last people in the world who would fall in love with Surprise Me! Yet I did.
That’s the magic of it. Surprise Me! is not your typical chick lit. Even as I still don’t know if I’m allowed to use that term!