Last Updated on June 1, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 347
Jennifer Weiner continues to delight readers with her 2009 novel Certain Girls, a sequel to her beloved book Good in Bed. Readers reacquaint themselves with Cannie Shapiro and her daughter, Joy, as she is poised for her Bat Mitzvah and Cannie is experiencing the ups and downs of parenting a teenager.
After the tremendous success of Cannie's first novel, she is happily ensconced in her life outside of Philadelphia writing science fiction under the pseudonym Lyla Dare. Joy finds a copy of her mother's highly sexualized novel and learns what she believes to be the truth about how she was conceived. Cannie's marriage to Peter proves stable yet surprising when he suggests that the couple try to have a child by using a surrogate.
Joy and Cannie struggle as they continue to define their relationship and themselves. Joy experiences the pressures of fitting in at school; as a result, she removes her hearing aids, which cause her to feel quite self-conscious. Now unable to hear very well, Joy's grades slip. Cannie continues to struggle with her weight while managing her writing career, marriage, and desire to control all aspects of her daughter's life. Testing the boundaries of adolescence and driven by a genuine curiosity about her family, Joy reaches out to her long-lost grandfather and seeks to spend more time with her biological father, Bruce.
Told from two different points of view, Certain Girls allows readers to experience a momentous time in Joy's life as she not only navigates the muddy waters of adolescence but also prepares to become a woman by taking part in a significant Jewish ritual. Experiencing these events from Cannie's and Joy's perspectives lets readers feel as though they are eavesdropping on the two characters. Readers will relate to the tumultuous journey of adolescence told from Joy's point of view, just as they will empathize with Cannie's desire to protect her daughter from the world at large.
Certain Girls perfectly captures the dynamic of a mother-daughter relationship and provides a satisfying sequel for readers who have been waiting with baited breath for Cannie's return.
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