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The Dieter

The Dieter
Susan Sussman
Pocket Books ISBN: 0-671-67725-X

*A Literary Guild Alternate Selection
*A Doubleday Book Club Alternate Selection

“The Dieter reads on one level as glib entertainment…. But beneath the whipped cream is a nicely paced story with moments that are both amusing and touching. Ms. Sussman clearly has something to say about the flimsy comfort of material possessions when they are not anchored by deeper values. She also serves up a dollop of thoughtful moralizing about body weight, self-image, and self-esteem. Her understanding of the plight of the compulsive eater and dieter, and of the various weight-loss programs, rings true….”
—The New York Times Book Review

“Sussman’s clever, lighthearted novel chronicles Barbara Avers’s increasing avoirdupois... Barbara is also helibent on a serious course of dieting…an odyssey that the author captures brilliantly and with uncanny insight.”
—The Publishers Weekly

“Susan Sussman has created a witty, well-tailored North Shore world and a smart cookie of a character who gradually outgrows it…[A] clever, literate novel…. Barbara is an engaging character…. In a style as smooth and glossy as a butterscotch sundae, Sussman has tapped into something more substantial than a story about women and food and love. For, in the end, everybody has been a dieter at some time, because everyone has gained and lost something. And that is the book’s ultimate appeal. That, and the reality that very few of us have perfect size 6 lives.”
—Chicago Tribune

“A delightful novel, intelligent, witty, and very moving.”
—Susan Isaacs

“An excellent novel for and about women…written with both wit and grit…. Anyone who has ever tried to lose weight will identify with Barbara and cheer her on in her Battle of the Bulge…Barbara comes to grips with her life in a most satisfying denouement…. And from Susan Sussman, I hope for more novels about contemporary
—The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Sizzling tacos…peanut butter…bagels with cream cheese. The enemy pursued Barbara Avers everywhere, invading her nostrils, seducing her taste buds, disguising itself in toffee-colored clouds, raspberry mousse roses and designer dresses just the shade of crème caramel.

It began the night her best friend died from lung cancer, when a grief-stricken Barbara flung her last carton of cigarettes into Lake Michigan. That was in February, when she weighted 105 pounds.

Now day by day her appetite grows bigger and so does Barbara. Her husband Franklin, an ambitious lawyer running for political office, is spending more time with his blonde, slim campaign manager.

Her children are ashamed of her. Barbara crams another jelly doughnut into her mouth as her world begins to crumble.

Moving through the terrifying world of Weight Watchers, Nutrisystems and Nautilus, Barbara watches her problems expand with her waistline. “If only I were thin again,” she thinks, “my life would be perfect once more.”

But perfect it never was—or the chance to resume her newspaper career wouldn’t be quite so tempting. Nor would she be quite so unsettled and pleased at the amorous attentions of Mac, the paper’s virile, irreverent crime reporter. Suddenly, Barbara’s world is expanding too.

So maybe thin isn’t perfect…maybe a Size 8 doesn’t mean happiness…and after all, life does have riches to be savored…delicious, mouth watering, spicy, sweet delectable life…

In this endearing, memorable, and sharp-witted novel, Susan Sussman reveals a fresh, original voice, guaranteed to make you laugh, weep, and cheer for one of the most remarkable and appealing heroines ever to appear in contemporary fiction.