** Publication Date 21 May 2019 **
There is an old Yiddish proverb, “You can never be too rich or too thin.” Well, maybe not a Yiddish proverb, but find me a Jewish mother of a certain era, and I guarantee her daughter will tell you she heard this at least once or twice. This is the premise behind Waisted, a novel about the lengths women will go to to adhere to society’s expectations.
Alice is a mixed race mom married to a white documentary film maker. At the time she met Clancy, she had endured a bitter breakup and was the thinnest she could ever imagine being. Clancy didn’t know that this was not the norm for Alice, so his expectations were that she’d always be rail thin. Alice had a Jewish mother, but her Jewish mother didn’t espouse the “too rich or thin” mantra. In fact the opposite. Her mother went out of her way to make Alice embrace her “blackness” by accepting her curves.
Daphne is a white Jewish middle class mom from the burbs who grew up with the quintessential Jewish mother, always watching every crumb that Daphne consumed. Daphne married Sam, the most gentle, kind man one could imagine. Sam would love Daphne if she shaved her head and tattooed every inch of her body, so there are no expectations in their marriage that Daphne should be thin. But as most of us know, a mother’s words can play tapes on repeat in your head. Daphne is forever striving for her mother’s approval.
When a flier for casting for a documentary film ends up in both these women’s hands, they jump at the opportunity to participate. The documentary is going to cover the weight loss adventures of seven women. The caveat is that you must relinquish any contact with the outside world for one month. One month that the filmmakers will cover your salary for missed work. In this brochure they promise all sorts of wonderful things such as quick weight loss in a healthy setting, but the reality is anything but.
Waisted is a fabulous tale of finding your voice and your true self in a world where the “norms” are not always achievable. I grew up with a mother like Daphne’s so I really identified with how she felt growing up and still hearing those voices as an adult. I think that each one of the women has a quality that most of us can identify with. Fitting into society’s molds is what a lot of parents expect from their kids. I think that is the moral of this story. You don’t have to fit a mold to make a difference, or be a great mom, or love yourself. Myers has crafted a story of women bonding and finding friendship in spite of their differences. Also, about acceptance, which is something I believe our culture struggles to find. I would recommend this one to all my female friends.