Size Eight in a Size Zero World Review
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Thirty-two-year-old Lindsay Chandler seems to have it all. She lives in an upscale Manhattan apartment with her two young children and her successful attorney husband, Grant. Then again, Grant is extremely anti-social, and he ignores Lindsay except when ridiculing her. Additionally, he demands that she work full-time in an unfulfilling job and do all of the housework without even part-time help. Yes, Lindsay’s bored with her life and ready for a change.

The change comes in the form of her upstairs neighbor, referred to as “The Man” throughout the book. He’s handsome, charismatic, and sexy, and she finds herself constantly fantasizing about him. Finally, she’s determined to strike up a friendship with The Man. And, as you can imagine, this fantasy turns into something quite different.

  
 
As with most novels, the story of Size Eight in a Size Zero World has been done before; but that’s okay. It’s the detail and the characters that often distinguish an exceptional story from just a mediocre one. Unfortunately, though, that’s where this novel falls short.

The characters are stereotyped to the point that they become caricatures. Grant seems to have no redeeming qualities. And how can a man become successful as a recluse? It doesn’t matter how good you are at your trade; you still have to schmooze to get ahead. Lindsay also has the mother from hell, who’s so over-critical that even I would disown her; and her wimpy father doesn’t help the situation. Add to that her slutty girlfriend, single after five divorces, who is—you guessed it—a flight attendant. And let’s not forget the super-skinny coworker who thinks she’s fat.

Meanwhile, as for the story’s details, no one keeps any secrets or thinks that they have anything to hide; their lives are an open book.

You might be thinking that Cagen wrote the novel as satire. If that were the case, though, she didn’t take it far enough into that realm. It’s a shame, too, because I think it would have worked better as a satire.

What Cagan does succeed in providing, however, is a surprise ending, taking an abrupt detour from the improbable story and characters to a realistic conclusion. I didn’t see it coming, and it almost saves the novel.

I must admit, though, that the story kept me involved, in a guilty “I shouldn’t be reading this fluff” sort of way. With a few more tweaks, Size Eight in a Size Zero World could have been a fantastic must-read for fans of chick lit.

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