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Navel Gazing: One Woman's Quest for a Size Normal [Paperback]

Anne H. Putnam
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
RRP: 12.99
Price: 10.39 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

24 Dec 2012

'A book anyone, male or female, young or old, who has ever looked in the mirror and disliked what they see, will identify with ... The writing is vivid and superb, the detail both unflinching and fascinating ... Don't go on some miserable diet this January; read this instead. It will get you through the insanity of the "new year, new you" frenzy; more importantly, it might help you stop loathing your body.' Sarah Vine, The Times

'A gutsy, brave memoir that, amid the slurry of new year diet books, deserves to be devoured and savoured.' Helen Davies, Sunday Times

'A funny, intimate account of one woman's turbulent battle with her weight, which examines the relationship between body and mind and challenges our concept of what constitutes a 'normal' body.' Psychologies

'A brave, very readable memoir.' Viv Groskop, Observer

For anyone who's ever avoided the mirror, skipped swimming or got stuck in a dress in a changing room . . .

Almost every woman worries about her weight. For Anne H Putnam, it became unavoidable -- by the age of seventeen she weighed over twenty stone and had tried everything, from dieting to fat camp to wearing big t-shirts. When she decided to have weight-loss surgery, she thought everything would change. But now, nine years later and ten sizes smaller, she has discovered that changing your body doesn't automatically change how you feel about it.

Navel Gazing is a funny, passionate and no-holds-barred memoir of one woman's quest to accept her own body -- to feel normal. It will make you laugh, cry, cringe -- and wonder why it's so hard for women to feel happy with the way they look.


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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber (24 Dec 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571284442
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571284443
  • Product Dimensions: 21.4 x 13.4 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 453,724 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

'It is a book anyone, male or female, young or old, who has ever looked in the mirror and disliked what they see, will identify with ... The writing is vivid and superb, the detail both unflinching and fascinating ... Don t go on some miserable diet this January; read this instead. It will get you through the insanity of the new year, new you frenzy; more importantly, it might help you stop loathing your body.' Sarah Vine, The Times

'This is a funny, intimate account of one woman's turbulent battle with her weight, which examines the relationship between body and mind and challenges our concept of what constitutes a 'normal' body.' Psychologies

'This is a gutsy, brave memoir that, amid the slurry of new year diet books, deserves to be devoured and savoured ... Her self-deprecating nature, sharp eye for detail and troubled personal obsession mean that this memoir is almost pitch-perfect.' Helen Davies, Sunday Times

'A brave, very readable memoir.' Viv Groskop, Observer

'Meticulous and humble memoir ... conveys the lived experience.' --Talitha Stevenson, Financial Times

Book Description

A frank, funny and intelligent memoir about body image, weight and a question every woman has pondered: how do you define normal?

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By RF
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
"Navel Gazing" makes you realize that all women-- whether "overweight", "normal", or "thin"-- have the same experiences. We all poke and prod our fat (and acne and frizzy hair and all external "flaws") and fantasize about waking up to find that it has miraculously disappeared. We all compare ourselves to other individuals and assume that strangers on the street are judging us based on self-imposed flaws, external or internal.

The honesty and bravery with which Putnam relays her story encourages readers to reflect upon their barriers with the same honesty (and the less brave readers to consider reflection before postponing, because they realize that they've been so engrossed in the book that it is now 3AM and they have to go to bed).

I would recommend this book to all my female friends. Even if you don't personally have issues with weight, the themes of self-consciousness/hatred, the cycles of strength and defeat, and the search for love and acceptance are universal.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious and poignant, a must read. 2 Jan 2013
Format:Paperback
'Navel Gazing' is one of those books which I picked up and had finished within 24 hours. Anne's story pulls you in right from the start, with scenes from her childhood, such as the awkward horror of getting changed in the girls changing rooms at school (even more so for an obese teenager), to unusually going through surgery at the same time as her father, and her hilarious and sometimes cringey exploits at university and beyond with various men post surgery. I could relate to a lot of Anne's experiences which are universal in some respects, but what makes this book such an enjoyable read is Anne's strikingly unique voice and her ability to capture her journey from childhood into adulthood with humour, poignancy and honesty - sometimes to the point of gasping! A very talented writer in the making, I loved it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brave, honest and funny 10 Feb 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this book very much and thought the author very honest and brave in sharing her experiences. I'm sure most women will relate to this book and it's central concerns of food, body image and love. The book deals with these issues sensitively, but it is also hilarious in places, which is made me laugh out loud.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By GP
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This hooked me and before I knew it I was halfway through. It's a brutally honest read, and one that unexpectedly hits hard through the self-deprecating asides and humorous deflections. I could identify with a lot of what she writes about - we all could - but this memoir doesn't only capture the tormented spirit of a woman struggling with a lifetime's worth of anguish, it also captures a unique source of inspiration to accept who and what we are. Well-written and fascinating, heartily recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deserves every star! 5 Jan 2013
Format:Paperback
A brutally honest and very well written story of what it feels like to confront and learn to live with your body when you don't conform to what is viewed as 'normal', succeeding in being both humorous and moving without going overboard in either direction. Recommended for anyone who has ever looked in a mirror and worried about what they see, and even more so for those that haven't.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brave and eye-opening 11 July 2013
By Malfi
Format:Paperback
This book was a real eye-opener for me, having been thin for most of my life. Without compromises, the book takes you into the head of someone with image and weight issues, with all the vicious circles these entail. Anne's style is a pleasure to read - easy, flowing and with heart-breaking descriptions of a child unable to come to terms with or love her own body. I would highly recommend it to anyone who has ever wondered: "Why don't they just stop eating?" A great first work - I look forward to reading more!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I stumbled across this book in Waterstones and immediately purchased, having recently had gastric surgery myself.

From the first page I related to every word the author wrote, from her experiences as a fat child dreading the swimming lessons and having to wear a costume, to still hating yourself even after losing 6 stone.

This book is heartfelt, funny, emotional and relatable from start to finish.

if you've ever been overweight this book is a must read.

If you've had surgery yourself then click "Add to basket" this very second, you won't regret it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very honest read 24 Feb 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A very frank book outlining one girl's relationship with her body and food. In an attempt to be 'normal' she undergoes surgery in her teens, only to discover that changing the way her body appears won't necessarily change the way she feels about it.

It was very thought provoking, and echoed many women's obsessive critique of their own bodies. It was a very personal insight, so I expect will go down well with today's voyeuristic/reality tv society.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting
This book could be of great interest to anyone contemplating bariatric surgery. I found it an easy read, but lost interest towards the end.
Published 17 days ago by Mrs A
5.0 out of 5 stars An inspiring read
I gobbled this up in one sitting (no pun intended). This story is inspirarional in its honesty and bravery. Fantastic.
Published 3 months ago by S. L. Matthews
1.0 out of 5 stars boring and badly written - don't buy
truly a navel gazing novel. Didn't add anything to my knowledge, and wasn't well-written. not only a waste of money but also of two hours of my life.
Published 15 months ago by bookworm100
3.0 out of 5 stars hard to reconcile
I find it hard to reconcile the sweet face of the author in the photograph at the back of the book, to the coarse language and excessive expletives inside. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Jennifer
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting story
This book needed more vigorous editing to iron out repetitions and provide more consistency to a rather self-indulgent storyline. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Snue
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoughtful and Honest Memoir
This book was very compelling to read. I was completely drawn in to Anne's raw, honest and heartfelt thoughts and descriptions of the events in her life and her struggle for a... Read more
Published 17 months ago by Sally Suchman
3.0 out of 5 stars Okay.
I enjoyed understanding the controversy surrounding 'fatness' from a large person's point of view. I'm a naturally thin person and I was interested in the reasons behind why people... Read more
Published 17 months ago by petite_pea
1.0 out of 5 stars Fat but not deep
Navel Gazing gives good insight into gastric banding--the surgery and recovery and the life long eating limitations and restrictions. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Ms Noone
3.0 out of 5 stars Psychological insight missing
I bought this book following a review in The Times and like other reviewers I found this story drew me in to begin with. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Lottie
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