Author: Monica Parker

+Book Review+ Getting Waisted: A Survival Guide to BEING FAT in a Society that LOVES THIN by Monica Parker (a comedic memoir)

Posted Wednesday, 28 May, 2014 by jorielov , , 0 Comments

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Getting Waisted by Monica Parker

Getting Waisted by Monica Parker

Published By: HCI Books () 1, April 2014
Official Author Websites Getting Waisted Site | Main Site | Twitter
Available Formats: Trade Paper
Page Count: 288

Converse via: #GettingWaisted

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Acquired Book By: Whilst attending #LitChat (@LitChat) a literary salon on Twitter where writers and readers come together to promote a healthy exchange of dialogue pertaining to books, we part company feeling better for the meeting. Conversations surround the book each author who visits #LitChat has recently published. On this particular day, #LitChat was not quite the experience I had expected as the tides turnt against its principles. The outcome for me was to seek out a way to contact the author personally to offer my condolences and apology for what she experienced in a forum of what had been up until that moment a joy-filled experience. I also contacted her publicist who found me via Twitter. I thus contacted #LitChat and due to the response from my enquiry I felt that in time I could return but I would remain vigilant and cautious if the same circumstances were to arise again. No one has the right to supersede the joy of people who come together for a literary conversation.

Out of my correspondences with Ms.  Parker & Ms. Chan, I was offered to receive a complimentary ARC copy of “Getting Waisted” direct from Ms. Parker’s literary publicist Darlene Chan (of Darlene Chan PR) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein. I likewise opted to Interview Ms. Parker as a follow-up Guest Post Feature.

My Interest in Getting Waisted:

I was originally interested in visiting with Ms. Parker via #LitChat, because the book caught my eye and attention when I saw she was an upcoming guest author during the weekly twitterverse chat. Specifically, because I have faced my own struggles with weight gain & weight loss, like most women who enter their twenties and then thirties, our bodies change and life can become more stressful than when we were younger. I have always maintained my happy spirit and found joy in the everyday irregardless of where I was in my weight loss, as part of what helps you lose the extra bits you no longer wish to keep is to keep your attitude positive. I was endeared to listen to her talk and share her own story as I liked how she was being honest and frank about her own experiences.

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Monica ParkerAuthor Biography:

Monica Parker (Los Angeles and Toronto) is an actor, writer and producer in theater, television and film; most notably she co-wrote All Dogs Go to Heaven. She was born and raised in Glasgow, Scotland, until the age of 13 when she immigrated with her parents to Toronto, Canada. Monica is currently starring in her insightful and funny one-woman show, Sex, Pies & a Few White Lies, which premiered in 2010. Monica has just completed two features already under option, and has a recurring role on Syfy’s “Defiance.” Monica lives with her longtime husband and saint, Gilles.

Synopsis of the Memoir:

Monica Parker bridges the divide between serial dieter’s guide and memoir, taking readers on a hilariously funny yet bumpy ride from chubby baby to chunky adult.

In Getting Waisted, Monica begins every chapter with a diet she committed to and reveals how much weight, money, and self-esteem she lost, and then how much weight she gained when she fell off the wagon. She shares her fears and frustrations – when Mr. Right appears out of thin air, will she run back to the catalogue of Mr. Wrongs out of fear? She reveals society’s prejudices against overweight people: “No one tells a short person to get taller, or a tall person to get shorter, but fat people hear about their bodies all the time.” From living large in a sub-zero world to jumping into the dating pool without causing a tidal wave of angst, Monica learns that when you stop buying what the “diet devils” are selling and start liking yourself, life is far more rewarding. Readers will laugh and cry as Monica realizes that while she thought it was her body that was in the way, it was actually what she kept in her head that needed adjusting.

Ultimately, Getting Waisted is an inspirational look at life through society’s warped fun-house mirror perspective, but Monica’s reflections tell the real tale: everyone is always under construction and we are all flawed, chipped and dented, but that doesn’t mean we’re not interested, vital and sexy.

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Parker has written a no holds barred autobiographical memoir with poignant truths at every turn of her disclosure of how from her conception and birth to the present day she has learnt that the best way to feel empowered is through self-acceptance and radiance of joy. Her life is anything but typical as her half-siblings were kept distant due to World War II, whilst her parents were at odds with each other for most of her growing years. She lived in more countries than I have travelled to thus far, and her ability to transition and adapt to each new school, living environment, and work life is a nod to her strength of character. Yet, her life had darkness shading around the fringes of joy, as she did not get a nice entrance into the dating scene as most her age had enjoyed. In fact, whilst she was sharing the pain of what she lost in that moment of domestic violence, I felt the most emotional by far of what I had read up until that point.

Parker puts her heart in the ink and breathes a lifeblood into her words. She’s a straight-forward writer who tells you how she’s lived as much as how far she’s come from what she has survived. She’s a woman who has lived a heart-centered life, always striving to seek a foundation of love, joy, and happiness which were elusive to her as a child and young adult. Food became the filler for her emotional aches and anguished heart, but it was not only serving a replacement of what was absent, but as an extension of hiding from facing hard truths which I think for anyone in her position would not have been something to face alone.

Bullied for her weight and appearance since she was in grade school, I understood how she felt on that level, as although I was bullied for other reasons, anyone who has gone through the teasing of their peers can sympathise with another who walked the same path. Bullies always think they are the smarter ones and the ones who deserve to reign superior to others simply because the people they are bullying are different. A bit more creative and the out-of-the-box thinkers who challenge the bullies to realise they do not know everything they presume. And, perhaps that is the problem. Bullies are the ones who feel inferior because they cannot accept that someone whose perception has a creative bent might understand what they cannot conceptualise. However the case may be, I personally attempt to highlight books in all walks of literature which knit together dialogue on the bullies and the bullied. To help encourage the trend to end and to let all children grow up without the heartache Parker and I knew ourselves.

As you move forward in her memoir you start to see how the butterfly emerges and takes a grace note of confidence as her wings start to catch under her and guide her forward. I enjoyed reading about her trials, her tribulations, and her muddled path towards sorting out life and how she wanted to elect to face what would come along. She takes a crisp look at everything in her past, and paints a strong visual image of a woman who was in the process of knowing who she was all along. She doesn’t apologise for her frankness (nor should she), and she has this quirky sense of humour stitched into the fabric of her memories. Her own rhythm is set to humour, and she never fails within the chapters to get you a tickling of your funny-bone whilst at the same time endearing your heartstrings. She finds a balance between what she had to overcome and what she enjoyed experiencing as she lived.

I greatly appreciated the chapters where Gilles starts to come forward, as I denoted that he was a catalyst of change for her all the way around. Gilles was able to see her in a way that others had not previously, and it was through their growing admiration and love to be with each other that warmed my heart! She was finding true happiness in such a beautiful way that it was a joy to read their journey towards their union. I especially thought it was wicked that she kept in bits and bobbles of their differences. Between her Scottish roots and his French, as there were moments of great folly to be read.

Getting Waisted is an honest memoir from a woman who is fearlessly confident and has such a warm spirit that you can read her essence straight off the page! I appreciated spending time with her, and getting to see how the avenues fused together for her to welcome in motherhood and the next chapters she would pursue. Start to finish, I would have to lament that the first half is more dramatic and the second half is where the cocoon is shed and she is free to fly. I am so very thankful to have had the honour of reading her story, because her story is everywoman’s story on the level that we each have to resolve our own body image in a way that celebrates our individual self-confidence.

A notation on why there is not a Fly in the Ointment attached here:

Being that Ms. Parker is a stand-up comic and a full-fledged comedienne, I already knew that on some level she might have a more colourful way of reflecting on certain parts of her life as much as how she elected to present the stories or antidotes of her past. Therefore, I did mark off there are instances of ‘vulgarity in literature’ inside this book, but I did not go as far to say that that would prevent me from reading her memoir, as foresaid, I understood the writer a bit before I picked up the book on the level that most comics have strong inflictions in how they communicate their humour as much as their personal stories.

Personally, this is one I have the hardest time sorting out which comic to watch as I tend to be aligned with the comics of the past (think Dean Martin’s Roasts era OR Lucille Ball) where the flavourings were clean and the language was not as strong as it was whilst I grew up in the 1980s. At least it was not a contribution to the skits, the roasts, or the set-ups in the routines. I have many fond memories of “I Love Lucy” right alongside “The Carol Burnett Show”, as Dean Martin followed suit lateron. I did want to share one of the reader’s observations of her book, as I grew up on his comedy in motion pictures being a child bourne on the cusp of one decade in exchange for another (1970s/1980s):

My dear friend Monica Parker, the hilarious humourist, Mother hen to me, Gilda Radner, Eugene Levy, Catherine O’ Hara, John Candy – all of us when we started out in Toronto, has written a book about truly finding yourself, being content with who you are and developing an enduring sense of self-esteem.

by Dan Aykroyd {quoted from the Press Kit}

I grew up knowing of Gilda Radner, but along with Mr. Aykroyd, I was always fond of Catherine O’ Hara & John Candy. I am not in the habit of publishing outside reviews and opinions when I compose my own thoughts on the books I read on Jorie Loves A Story, but in this one instance (and there could be others in the future) I felt it was kismet to discover that part of my own living past is inter-connected a bit with Ms. Parker’s. The actors and comics mentioned are not merely names on a page, but honest to goodness people I grew up watching on camera! They had the ability to make me laugh as much as they emoted out such a strong carriage of emotion to make me cry. Their depth of range never left me, and I to this day celebrate what they left behind as legacies in motion picture. I also know their work in film is only one-half of what they gave of their art, but for me, it is the portal in which I knew them.

I am going to conclude this review with a tweet that is a full summary of the heart message of Getting Waisted:

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{SOURCES: Author photograph, Author Biography, Book Synopsis, Quote by Dan Aykroyd and Book Cover were provided by Darlene Chan PR and were used by permission. Book Review badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs. Post dividers & My Thoughts badge by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets were embedded due to codes provided by Twitter.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Wednesday, 28 May, 2014 by jorielov in Book Review (non-blog tour), Bookish Discussions, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Diet Weight & Body Image, Diets & Dieting, Indie Author, Journal, Memoir, Non-Fiction, Vignettes of Real Life, Vulgarity in Literature, Weight Loss, Women's Health