October 1, 2012

book review: sugarfiend

A woman's life takes unexpected and often ill-fated turns in Caroline Burau's Sugarfiend.

The Scoop on the Book:
If her life is a box of chocolates, acid-tongued, sugar-obsessed Estelle Brown should learn how to pick them better. Her boyfriend’s left her for a bulimic hand model, her roomate’s skipped town, and her boss is in love with her.

Fed up and In the middle of her latest of a lifetime of doomed diet attempts – cutting sugar cold turkey – Estelle decides to quit quitting for good, pack her bags, and lose herself on a 7-day Caribbean cruise. But even on a floating monument to binge eating, the diet industry follows her. Across from every buffet is a studio full of treadmills. Next to every plate of fried calamari is a large diet Coke. As a ship full of wary passengers ducks for cover, Hurricane Estelle wages her own personal war against moderation. But the consequences land her in the belly of the beast: broke, alone, and forced to take a job as –of all things-- a detox consultant for the ship.

Is Skinny the answer to Happy? Is Sweet n Low the new black? Is that Denise Austin chick … for real? No, no and yes, oddly. But for a Sugarfiend, it’s not the destination that matters, it’s all the cupcakes you get to eat along the way.
Like the author's blog, Sugarfiend was well-written and entertaining. She has a knack for building suspense and keeping interest high. Burau begins the story quickly, dropping us in as action is already in progress, which made this story work.

Burau also has the ability to make difficult and tense reading enjoyable. There were plenty of laugh-out-loud moments, despite the heavier elements in the story. It takes a solid writer to evoke a mix of emotions like that.

Estelle was also a solid character to follow. For any of us who struggle saying no to a box (or five) of chocolates, and have never met a cupcake we didn't like, her constant issues with her weight are relatable. Other parts of her addictive behaviors were maybe more difficult for me to identify with, but...

Even if you don't have any vices -- and I commend you for your self control -- I think everyone can identify with a person who is still trying to figure herself out. We are all works in progress, and Estelle is a good example of that.

For real. She has a lot of life to figure out.

There were plenty of good lessons, and bits of intrigue, to make this a worthwhile read.

Rating: 4 of 5

Read an excerpt of Sugarfiend here. Check back tomorrow for a guest post from the author.

About the Author
Caroline Burau is a blogger, two-time author, and a 911 dispatcher. Her first book, Answering 911: Life in the Hot Seat was a Reader's Digest Editor's Choice and a finalist for the Minnesota Book Award.

When she's not writing or obsessing about writing, she's spending her royalties on yoga classes, strappy sport tops, and used books. She lives with her husband, two geriatric cats, and an excitable yellow lab in White Bear Lake, Minnesota.

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