Meet Rose Feller. She's thirty years old and a high-powered attorney with a secret passion for romance novels. She has an exercise regime she's going to start next week, and she dreams of a man who will slide off her glasses, gaze into her eyes, and tell her that she's beautiful. She also dreams of getting her fantastically screwed-up little sister to get her life together.
Meet Rose's sister, Maggie. Twenty-eight years old, drop-dead gorgeous and only occasionally employed, Maggie sings backup in a band called Whiskered Biscuit. Although her dreams of big-screen stardom haven't progressed past her left hip's appearance in a Will Smith video, Maggie dreams of fame and fortune -- and of getting her dowdy big sister to stick to a skin-care regime.
These two women with nothing in common but a childhood tragedy, shared DNA, and the same size feet, are about to learn that their family is more different than they ever imagined, and that they're more alike than they'd ever believe. In Her Shoes -- Jennifer Weiner's follow-up to her critically acclaimed debut, Good in Bed -- observes Rose and Maggie, the brain and the beauty, as they make journeys of discovery that take them from the streets of Philadelphia to Ivy League libraries to a "retirement community for active seniors" in Boca Raton. Along the way, they'll encounter a wild cast of characters -- from a stepmother who's into recreational Botox to a small, disdainful pug with no name. They'll borrow shoes and clothes and boyfriends, and make peace with their most intimate enemies -- each other.
Funny and poignant, richly detailed and wrenchingly real, In Her Shoes will speak to anyone who has endured the bonds of big -- or little -- sisterhood, or longed for a life different from the one the world has dictated, and dreamed of trying something else on for size.
Weiner, whose debut novel Good in Bed was an instant bestseller, is back with another exuberantly confident offering. Twenty-eight-year-old Maggie Fuller relies on her looks and size zero body to flirt her way through life while working dozens of dead-end jobs and dreaming of stardom. At the other end of the spectrum is her older, larger sister, Rose, who relies on her intelligence and is an accomplished attorney at a large Philadelphia firm. The only things that these two seem to have in common is their shared history, a loathing for their "stepmonster," Sydelle, size six feet and a passion for luxurious shoes. When Maggie is evicted from her apartment and loses yet another job, Rose takes her in and tries to endure her closet raids and endless insults. But her patience abruptly ends when Maggie crosses a line so sacred that Rose kicks Maggie out and all but terminates their relationship ("Her sister was like a fucking Weebel, [Rose] thought. She'd wobble, she'd screw up, she'd steal your shoes... but she'd absolutely never fall down"). The sisters go on with their lives and Maggie discovers that she has a brain and a will to learn, while Rose learns to loosen up a bit and finds that there is more to life than work. The two sisters also get to know their maternal grandmother, Ella Hirsch, who they haven't seen since their mother's funeral more than 20 years ago. With Ella's love and support, Maggie reaches out to Rose and the two begin to repair their relationship. In the end, these three remarkable women learn that they are stronger than they thought they were, that family ties are worth preserving, and that there are perks to sharing the same shoe size. Weiner, a marvelously natural storyteller, blends humor and heartbreak to create an irresistible novel. Agent, Joanna Pulcini. (Oct.) Forecast: This sweet sophomore effort should land Weiner on bestseller lists again-she more than proves that she has staying power. Note to fans: Cannie Shapiro, heroine of Good in Bed, makes a cameo appearance. Fourteen-city author tour. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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August 29, 2005
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Excerpt from In Her Shoes by Jennifer Weiner
"Baby," groaned the guy -- Ted? Tad? -- something like that -- and crushed his lips against the side of her neck, shoving her face against the wall of the toilet stall.
This is ridiculous, Maggie thought, as she felt him bunching her dress up around her hips. But she'd had five vodka-and-tonics over the course of the last hour and a half, and at this point was not in much of a position to call anything ridiculous. She wasn't even sure she could pronounce the word.
"You're so hot!" Ted or Tad exclaimed, discovering the thong that Maggie had purchased for the occasion.
"I want the thong. In red," she'd said.
"Flame," the salesgirl at Victoria's Secret had replied.
"Whatever," said Maggie. "Small," she added, "extra small if you have it." She gave the girl a quick scornful look to let her know that while she might not know red from flame, she, Maggie Feller, was not worried. She might not have finished college. She might not have a great job -- or, okay, after last Thursday, any job at all. The sum total of her big-screen experience might be the three seconds that a sliver of her left hip was visible in Will Smith's second-to-last video. And she might be just barely bumping along while some people, like namely her sister, Rose, went whizzing through Ivy League colleges and straight into law schools, then into law firms and luxury apartments on Rittenhouse Square like they'd been shot down the water slide of life, but still, she, Maggie, had something of worth, something rare and precious, possessed by few, coveted by many -- a terrific body. One hundred and six pounds stretched over five feet and six inches, all of it tanning-bed basted, toned, plucked, waxed, moisturized, deodorized, perfumed, perfect.
She had a tattoo of a daisy on the small of her back, the words "BORN TO BE BAD" tattooed around her left ankle, and a plump, pierced red heart reading "MOTHER" on her right bicep. (She'd thought about adding the date of her mother's death, but for some reason that tattoo had hurt more than the other two put together.) Maggie also had D-cup tits. Said tits had been a gift from a married boyfriend and were made of saline and plastic, but this didn't matter. "They're an investment in my future," Maggie had said, even as her father looked hurt and bewildered, and Sydelle the Stepmonster flared her nostrils, and her big sister, Rose, had asked, "Precisely what kind of future are you planning?" in that snotty voice of hers that made her sound like she was seventy. Maggie didn't listen. Maggie didn't care. She was twenty-eight years old now, at her tenth high school reunion, and she was the best-looking girl in the room.