Tuesday, April 13, 2010

'You Look Fine, REALLY:' Like a Pep Talk with the Sister I Never Had

She combines the confectionary buoyancy of Holly Golightly – killer cocktails, amazing lipstick, irreverance and a unique fashion sense -- with dashes of Emily Post’s old fashioned etiquette, optimistic cheerleading to help you get over yourself and a sprinkling of the kind of plain spoken self-help talk you might see doled out on an episode of Oprah.

In her new self-help/you-go-girl book aimed at middle-aged women – You Look Fine, REALLY -- Mellor (author of the delightfully snarky Three-Martini Playdate series of books) invokes Golightly, the quirky character from Breakfast at Tiffany’s, whom Mellor says we can and should emulate occasionally to keep life interesting:

You Look Fine, REALLY is kind of a love letter to folks she calls “Women of a Certain Age.” (That age being 40+). It soothingly urges readers to chill out about specific things in their lives, largely beauty/fashion-related, while telling them she finds the waxing of one's nether-regions “horrifying,” does not like high heels and suggests to angsty-40+ women that no one’s really scrutinizing your face in great detail so “Step away from the magnifying mirror” and stop being so hard on yourself and your perceived flaws.

She delivers sisterly pep talks on others lifestyle matters like how easy it is to do a tad bit of exercise even if you despise exercise, how you can throw a simple gathering for friends (and why you should, and often), how to learn a bit about wine, about frugal ways to refresh your home, and how to not let your friends’ accomplishments make you feel badly about yourself by suggesting that you focus on all the things you actually have in your life -- see the “whole picture” -- and resist the urge to make comparisons.

Mellor -- who wrote “I think Birkenstocks are comfy and adorable” -- encourages women to ditch the sloppy and/or boring clothing at social gatherings and stop being wallflowers: “What is this aversion so many women seem to have for getting dolled up? . . . But there’s no reason for us to just fall back on elastic-waist denim and an old sweatshirt. We’re grown-up women and just because we’re over forty doesn’t mean we have to blend in.”

From beauty and fashion tips (which, honestly, seem like they’re coming from a down-to-earth gal pal as opposed to a strident fashionista who’s going to make you feel cruddy about yourself), to life advice (don’t think of mid-life as a time to go vanilla and ditch the excuses that keep you down) and how to be a do-it-yourself-er with little effort, You Look Fine, REALLY was a fun, folksy read.

From time to time, I do book reviews/reactions, not formal reviews per say, but only on books whose topics resonate with me in some fashion.

*I should also note that Mellor and I are both contributing writer to the same web site, Mommy Tracked, where she writes The Three-Martini Complaint Department column.*

Image credit: HarperCollins.

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