From comedian and journalist Faith Salie of NPR's Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me! and CBS News Sunday Morning, a collection of humorous essays chronicling the author's adventures during her lifelong quest for approval.
Faith Salie has done it all in the name of validation. Whether it's trying to impress her parents with a perfect GPA, embarking on a spiritual retreat in the hopes of saving her toxic marriage, or maintaining the BMI of "a flapper with a touch of dysentery", Salie is the ultimate approval seeker - an "approval junkie", if you will.
In "Miss Aphrodite", she recounts her strategy for winning the high school beauty pageant ("Not to brag or anything, but no one stood a chance against my emaciated, spastic resolve"); in "My Summer Fling with Bill O'Reilly", Salie attempts to win over Bill O'Reilly during their interview ("Papa Bear probably didn't think he could love a girl like me, but I was going to prove him wrong in front of a bunch of white people who like guns"). "What I Wore to My Divorce" describes Salie's struggle to pick the perfect outfit to wear to the courthouse to divorce her "wasband" ("I envisioned a look that said, 'Yo, THIS is what you'll be missing...even though you've introduced your new girlfriend to our mutual friends, and she's a decade younger than I am and is also a fit model"), and in "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me About Batman's Nipples" she reveals the secret to her hilarious jokes on Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me! ("I study for this show like Tracy Flick on Adderall").
With thoughtful irreverence, Salie reflects on why it is she tries so hard to please others and especially herself, highlighting a phenomenon that many people - especially women - experience at home and in the workplace. Equal parts laugh-out-loud funny and poignant, Approval Junkie is one woman's journey to the realization that seeking approval from others is more than just getting them to like you - it's challenging yourself to achieve - and survive - more than you ever thought you could.
"Media personality Faith Salie gives an expressive, nimble performance of her memoir.... Salie employs the full range of her voice, from loud and expansive to quiet confessional asides, engaging listeners more fully with her stories of overachieving and building her life and career.... This chatty, relatable listen will win Salie new fans." (AudioFile)
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A Bold Self Reflection
I always prefer listening to books read by the author, and the fact that this author is also an actress made the performance all the better.
I thought it would be like Tina Fey's or Mindy Kaling's books, but it wasn't. This book is really all about Faith, her lowests lows, highest highs, and personal growth (and sometimes a lack of growth).
The Russian accent gets top marks.
The beginning of the book when Faith describes her struggle with her appearance, and later in the book when she describes motherhood.
It's important to remember, while listening to this book, that the author's whole point is that she wants people's approval. There were parts of the book when I thought Faith was being shallow in her pursuits, but I had to remind myself that she's just being honest. She went to Harvard and was a Rhodes Scholar; she could have done anything, anywhere, and succeeded without being beaten up over her looks and her weight. But instead she chose showbiz. That's tough. She did not always reveal herself to her listeners in a flattering light, which is pretty brave. I thought her description of her struggle with anorexia was interesting, as she doesn't seem to accept her obsession with weight as being unhealthy. She knows she "should" say it is unhealthy, but she doesn't. Overall Faith stayed true to herself by not editing her thoughts on some of these issues and was willing to present herself as flawed despite her efforts to achieve perfection.
- Nervy Minerva
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