Low-Fat Love unfolds over three seasons as Prilly Greene and Janice Goldwyn, adversarial editors at a New York press, experience personal change relating to the men, and absence of women, in their lives. Ultimately, each woman is pushed to confront her own image of herself, exploring her insecurities, the stagnation in her life, and her reasons for having settled for low-fat love. Along with Prilly and Janice, the cast of characters’ stories are interwoven throughout the book. Low-Fat Love is underscored with a commentary about female identity-building and self-acceptance and how, too often, women become trapped in limited visions of themselves. Women’s media is used as a signpost throughout the book in order to make visible the context in which women come to think of themselves as well as the men and women in their lives.
In this respect, Low-Fat Love offers a critical commentary about popular culture and the social construction of femininity. Grounded in a decade of interview research with young women and written in a fun, chick-lit voice, the novel can be read for pleasure or used as supplemental reading in a variety of courses in women’s/gender studies, sociology, psychology, popular culture, media studies, communication, qualitative research, and arts-based research. This new, expanded anniversary edition has been thoroughly copy edited and revised for a cleaner version of the novel. It also includes new bonus content such as an afterword, a Q&A with the author answering reader questions, and ideas for classroom use.
“Sometimes, when I read an especially wonderful book I say to myself, “I wish I had written that!” And that is how I feel about Low-Fat Love. To write a page-turner of a book that teaches about contemporary gender relationships is a major feat. Patricia Leavy has done that with Low-Fat Love. Truth be told, I love Low-Fat Love because it creates a fictional world that mirrors the gendered one we live in. I can identify with all the different characters and their issues. I would love to be in any college class or book group that was fortunate enough to be reading and discussing it. Brilliant!” – Laurel Richardson, Ph.D., Cooley Book Award Winner and Emeritus Professor of Sociology The Ohio State University
“Patricia Leavy writes with passion, verve and skill. I loved the first edition of LFL, but this expanded edition exceeded my expectations. I would run, not stroll, to get a copy for yourself and all of the important people in your life. I will use this in my relational communication and women’s studies classes because it is beautiful, relatable, and offers smart critique of how pop-culture’s expectations for intimate relationships often lets us down. Leavy offers readers a way to think through their close relationships and demand better of themselves and others.” – Sandra L. Faulkner, Director of Women’s Studies and Associate Professor of Communication Ph.D., Bowling Green State University
“I couldn’t put it down! Low-Fat Love is a remarkable novel that every women’s studies class and interpersonal class would do well to read. The title is indicative of the search for meaningful, deep, enriching relationships beyond the artificial, low-fat love that is all too pervasive in society today. I wholeheartedly recommend this book.” – Robin Patric Clair, Award-Winning Researcher and Professor of Communication Ph.D., Purdue University
“Low-Fat Love is absolutely brilliant. This new edition is a must-read for anyone who has lived, loved, dreamed, and at times, settled for less than what we deserve – in other words, this is a book for everyone. Get it now, set it on your course reading lists, and give it away for birthday and holiday gifts. It will change the way you think about identity, the media and popular culture, gender, communication, feminism, education, emotion, relationships, and the sociology of human being-ism.” – Anne Harris, Ph.D., Monash University and Australian Research Fellow in Creativity and Arts in Education
“More than anything, Low-Fat Love proves the astonishing talent that Leavy possesses as both a writer and social commentator. This novel manages to synthesize years of research without ever feeling researched, and teaches so much without the reader feeling as if they were being educated. It’s a novel that appeals to multiple audiences, and I know that many of my students, both male and female, recommended this novel to their friends and siblings for the fun enlightenment they gained. In short, read it now. You definitely won’t be disappointed. It manages to be a short, ‘can’t put it down’ book to read on the beach or on a plane, while still inspiring the sort of reflection usually reserved for self-help novels and sociology tomes. A wonderful and inspiring read that I will be using for years to come. Every student should read this book.” – U. Melissa Anyiwo, Ph.D., Director of Diversity Studies and Professor of History and American Studies Curry College
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Paige Michaels comes from the kind of wealth that few experience. The daughter of a notoriously successful banker who wielded great political power, she grew up in an extraordinary world peopled by the leaders of tomorrow. Now one mistake rooted in her past is threatening to unravel her perfect life. After years as a stay-at-home mother in New Jersey, Mollie Johnston convinces her husband to move back to New York, to fulfill her dream of living amid the bright lights. Mollie is uncomfortable in her own body and always worried about how others see her. Once she sees how the other half lives, will she come to see herself and her marriage more clearly? Gwen McAndrews is the ultimate New York socialite, and the envy of those impressed by her grandeur, but is there more than meets the eye? Along with Paige, Mollie and Gwen, a cast of characters’ stories are interwoven into the text—parents, children, care-takers, childhood friends, old lovers and spouses. American Circumstance is a novel about appearance versus reality; how people’s lives and relationships look to others versus how they are experienced, and the complex ways that social class shapes identity and relationships. American Circumstance provides a window into the replication of wealth, power and privilege. Through the protagonist’s work with an international women’s organization the novel is underscored with a narrative about how gender, social class and race intertwine on a global scale, and problems are all relative. There are also strong narratives about how family and friends influence identity and the things we say and don’t say to each other. While fictional, American Circumstance is grounded in autoethnographic observations and more than a decade of teaching and research about gender, class, race, identity and relationships. The novel can be used as supplemental reading in courses that deal with gender, social class, power, family systems, relational communication, intimate relationships and/or identity, or it can be read entirely for pleasure.
“American Circumstance kept me up! I couldn’t put it down. I wanted to see how the characters’ lives untangled. I loved how Leavy challenged my cultural assumptions. This book would be great to teach. Students will have a lot to talk about as they discover a ‘sociology of everyday life’ embedded in the fiction.” — Professor Laurel Richardson, The Ohio State University
“American Circumstance had me hooked from page one. Patricia Leavy creates a compelling, enthralling world that beautifully illustrates what real love and partnership truly is while challenging our assumptions and pushing us to look at our own relationships. Expertly crafted and engagingly drawn. Pick this book up!” – Amy Leigh Mercree, author of The Spiritual Girl’s Guide to Dating: Your Enlightened Path to Love, Sex & Soul Mates and The Wonderborn Witches
“This one is a real page-turner. Just when you think you know what’s going on, it turns out that events aren’t at all what they seem.” — Professor Eve Spangler, Boston College
“Recently, I read Patricia Leavy’s novel American Circumstance. It is wonderful! The characters and story invite you into a world that is both familiar and unfamiliar. While many urgent social issues are raised for thoughtful consideration, the heart of the novel pulses with the experiences and emotions of three women who, while marked by many differences, all share a commitment to living hopefully in love. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole novel–from the first inviting words to the exquisitely poignant conclusion. Highly recommended!!” — Professor and Poet, Carl Leggo, University of British Columbia
PEN/Faulker Award in Fiction 2014
The Mirra Komarovsky Award for the Outstanding Sociology Book of the Year 2014 the Eastern Sociological Society
Outstanding Book of the Year 2014 International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry
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