Alternate Beauty

Author: Andrea Rains Waggener

Publisher: Bantam Dell

Release Date: July 2005

Blue Ribbon Rating: 4

Format: PRINT

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What is reality? Is it a tangible thing, the people, places, and things that are around us? Or is reality whatever we make it to be? I've always prescribed to the second theory, that you could change your reality by changing the way you look at life. What about an alternate reality? Is that simply other people looking at the world through different colored glasses, or an actual plain of existence different from the one we currently reside on? By reading the story of Veronica "Ronnie" Tremayne, the heroine of Andrea Rains Waggener's ALTERNATE BEAUTY, I discovered that it doesn't really matter one way or the other.

Ronnie is an overweight woman living in a world where women over the size of ten are looked down upon and ridiculed. You know the world I'm talking about-the one we're living in now. Ronnie, a size twenty-eight, has, in my opinion, a good life. She has a wonderful boyfriend, Gilbert, who, although not the smartest or most gregarious of men, has one wonderful thing going for him-he loves Ronnie for who she is, and her weight doesn't factor in to it. Ronnie also has a job at Luscious Landing Large Women's Clothing Boutique, where she's the manager. But over a lunch of-what else? Salad!-with her skinny mother, Ronnie discovers that the owner of the boutique, Cheryl, wants Ronnie to lose weight before she loses her job, because her overly-large size is disturbing some of their "smaller large" customers.

That night before bed, Ronnie makes a statement that will ultimately change her life. "Oprah's wrong. The key to happiness is living in a world where fat is beautiful." Thus begins Ronnie's trip into her alternate reality.

Suddenly, Ronnie's size twenty-eight is for the first time in her life an asset. This world Ronnie is in scorns thin women. The bigger the better, at least in this new reality, and for once, skinny women feel bad in her presence, and construction workers are whistling at her as she walks by. There's no Gilbert in this strange new world, but there are plenty of men who want to be with her, all nearly three-hundred-pounds of her, who can't get enough of her big, beautiful body.

Ronnie believes she's in heaven. For once, big is beautiful, and she has all the attention that she's ever wanted. Except now that she has what she wants, she can't seem to eat-and the glorious pounds that make her so desirable start dropping off. Now she's the object of disdain because she's losing weight instead of gaining it, and Ronnie begins to wonder if this reality is any better than the normal one.

Ms. Waggener has penned a fantasy romance that any woman, regardless of her size, will be able to appreciate. What woman doesn't have something about her body that she wishes she could change? It doesn't matter if you're a size eight or a size thirty, everyone has something that they don't like about themselves-or something that they fear others look down upon them for. ALTERNATE BEAUTY is a whimsical trip into the world of what-if, so settle in for an entertaining ride.

By Romance Junkies Reviewer: Jennifer Wardrip

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