Author Jennifer Weiner exploded onto the literary scene in 2001 with her semi-autobiographical book, Good In Bed.
Bed, which followed the plus-sized protagonist Cannie Shapiro through the pitfalls of being single, struck a nerve with women across the country and became an instant bestseller.
Weiner followed that with other chick lit hits such as In Her Shoes and Goodnight Nobody.
Now with the publication of her sixth book, Certain Girls, which revisits Cannie 13 years after the birth of her daughter Joy, Weiner has evolved from being the queen of single girl beach reads to leading the pack in the ever-growing mommy lit genre.
Q: What made you revisit the character Cannie?
A: I always wanted to go to back to Cannie. I loved writing her and I knew people liked to read about her. I knew I would always pick up her story again but I didnt want to do just six weeks later (from the end of Good In Bed) and have her dealing with the same old crap. I wanted new crap. I wanted new issues and I wanted to look at her from someone else’s perspective. In Good In Bed she was the narrator, but in Certain Girls you get Cannie from her own perspective — but also from the eyes of her daughter, who isn’t impressed with her at all. I liked the idea of having someone else look at her in a jaundiced perspective — like every 13-year-old girl looks at their mother at some point.
Q: But the time line in Certain Girls seems a bit off.
A: Good In Bed came out in 2001 and that is when Joy is born. But I wanted to write a book where it is Joy’s bat mitzvah. I’m interested in moments in turmoil — where there is a turning point or a rupture — so I wanted to catch Joy when she’s on the verge of Jewish womanhood.
I did have to set it in the unspecified future because, really, it should be set in 2012. And even though my husband was lobbying to have me write that it’s President Obama’s second term, I had to resist because it would be too distracting.
Q: As you grow older...
A: (Laughs) Where is my cane? Where is my Geritol! I just had a birthday and it’s really knocking me for a loop. I’m in my late 30s now!
Q: Exactly. And I was going to say that your books follow closely to your own life progression, from singlehood to mommyhood.
A: It’s a lot of writing what you know. A lot of what I write is taking what has happened to me and imagining it 100 times worse. I do think about what my daughters are going to do when they finally read these books, like Joy does with Cannie. Will they think, ‘Oh my God, my mom was, like, a slut!’ And I would be like, ‘No I wasn’t!’ I joke that if I could go back and write my first book now, I wouldn’t call it Good In Bed, but ‘A Very Boring Book That You Have No Interest In Reading,’ which I just don’t think would have done as well in the bookstores.