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"During my life, I've spent thousands of hours and thousands of dollars on my hair, my makeup, and my clothes, trying to look prettier because I grew up believing that pretty girls had happier lives."
"I'd be a lot happier now if I had that time and that money back."
Ilene Beckerman has lived long enough to have finally learned that there's more to happiness than finding the right hairdo and maintaining an ideal weight. This is never more clear than when she's invited to her fiftieth elementary-school reunion.
"Of course I'd go to the reunion." Beckerman says. But delight soon turns to dismay: "I wondered who'd be there. How would they look? Would I look as good? What would I wear? Could I lose twenty pounds by June?" Her reunion presents the perfect occasion to illustrate the anxieties and doubts, the dreams and hard-earned triumphs, of women—from Queen Victoria to Britney Spears.
Beckerman knows what really matters in life (besides good hair), and she imparts her wisdom in letters (unsent) to Madonna, Ava Gardner, Sofia Coppola, Meryl Streep, Gwyneth Paltrow, and others, and to her granddaughter Olivia. Frida Kahlo, Cinderella, Whistler's Mother, and Audrey Hepburn make appearances too. In this wise and wonderful book, she shares a lifetime of experience that reminds us that, ultimately, our mothers (and our grandmothers) were right: real beauty comes from within.
"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.
1958. The movie is Vertigo. Kim Novak asks Jimmy Stewart, “Couldn’t you like me just the way I am?”
2001. The movie is Bridget Jones’s Diary. Rene Zellweger asks Hugh Grant, “Can’t you just like me the way that I am?”
A lot of things have changed since 1958. Some things never change.
So begins Ilene Beckerman’s deftly drawn look at the doubts, dreams, and hard-earned triumphs of women, from the Audrey Hepburn era to the era of Britney Spears.
Like most women we know, Ilene Beckerman has struggled with self-esteem, confronted insecurities, survived dashed hopes, and lived long enough to have finally learned that there’s more to happiness than finding the right hairdo and maintaining an ideal weight. This was never more clear to her than when she decided to go to her fiftieth elementary school reunion.
In Makeovers at the Beauty Counter of Happiness, Beckerman addresses what really matters in life. She shares her (unsent) letters to celebrities (including Ava Gardner, Elizabeth Taylor, and Madonna) and letters imparting wisdom to her granddaughter. Along the way, she discovers something that our mothers tried to tell us long ago: that beauty comes from within.
Ilene Beckerman was nearly sixty when she began her writing career. Her articles have appeared in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and Ladies’ Home Journal. She has judged People's "Best and Worst Dressed" issue and has traveled the country, speaking to women's groups. “Sometimes,” she says, “i feel like Grandma Moses—she didn’t start until later in life either—but i try not to look like her.”
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