As expected there was nothing off limits for outspoken author Jennifer Weiner during her appearance Wednesday night at the Siegel JCC. The very honest and very funny author and columnist shared personal stories about boyfriend breakups, her own mother ‘coming out’ and chasing bears (to get the scoop as a reporter in State College, PA) as she addressed a packed room of book devotees.
The crowd of 200+ was the largest event ever for the Jewish Federation of Delaware’s Women of Wisdom (WOW) series, and they laughed and smiled for most of the talk, in which Weiner shared many hilarious life stories.
Like hundreds of thousands of women across the country who have read any of Weiner’s 14 chick-lit novels (including All Fall Down, In Her Shoes, The Littlest Bigfoot, Goodnight Nobody and many others), the Siegel crowd made a personal connection with the author and her experiences. Weiner also has had several opinion pieces published in the New York Times.
Event co-chair Nancy Crain introduced the popular writer saying, “Her books make me laugh, they make me cry, and they transport me elsewhere.” She also “saluted” Weiner for addressing sexism in the publishing industry. Weiner said the book industry notoriously is skewed heavily toward men, filled with men who review books predominantly written by men. But she credits the new editor in chief of the New York Times Book Review who “is down with the cause of gender equity and has done a lot to improve the paper.”
Weiner, who resides in Philadelphia, launched her literary career with the headline-grabbing first novel “Good in Bed.” She read excerpts from her latest work, “The Believers,” which will hit bookstores in 2018 and is set ten years in the future. “There is a lot in there that people will like about my fiction. Set in 2028, things have changed a lot politically, and Roe v Wade is no longer the law of the land.”
A few of her books have been made into movies, which Weiner asserts is difficult and which she is quite proud of. She said that the vast majority of books that make it to Hollywood never get optioned. And the few that do often don’t end up the way the author intended. In describing the movie based on her novel “In Her Shoes,” she remarked, “I felt really lucky as a writer regarding my movie because I was ready for (script) changes. And I was really happy when they didn’t come. They kept the Jewish and the senior citizen aspects of my book in the movie, and funny enough I thought everyone would be gorgeous in my movie. I was glad they kept it real.”