Approval Junkie Book Review

28477068From comedian and journalist Faith Salie, of NPR’s Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me! and CBS News Sunday Morning, a collection of daring, funny essays chronicling the author’s adventures during her lifelong quest for approval

Faith Salie has done it all in the name of validation. Whether it’s trying to impress her parents with a perfect GPA, undergoing an exorcism in the hopes of saving her toxic marriage, or maintaining the BMI of “a flapper with a touch of dysentery,” Salie is the ultimate approval seeker—an “approval junkie,” if you will.

In “Miss Aphrodite,” she recounts her strategy for winning the high school beauty pageant. (“Not to brag or anything, but no one stood a chance against my emaciated, spastic resolve.”) “What I Wore to My Divorce” describes Salie’s struggle to pick the perfect outfit to wear to the courthouse to divorce her “wasband.” (“I envisioned a look that said, ‘Yo, THIS is what you’ll be missing…even though you’ve introduced your new girlfriend to our mutual friends, and she’s a decade younger than I am and is also a fit model.”) In “Ovary Achiever,” she shares tips on how to ace your egg retrieval. (“Thank your fertility doctor when she announces you have ‘amazing ovaries.’ Try to be humble about it [‘Oh,these old things?’].”) And in “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me About Batman’s Nipples” she reveals the secrets behind Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me! (“I study for this show like Tracy Flick on Adderall”).

With thoughtful irreverence, Salie reflects on why she tries so hard to please others, and herself, highlighting a phenomenon that many people—especially women—experience at home and in the workplace. Equal parts laugh-out loud funny and poignant, Approval Junkie is one woman’s journey to realizing that seeking approval from others is more than just getting them to like you—it’s challenging yourself to achieve, and survive, more than you ever thought you could.


Review:

Funny, real, relatable, and….FUNNY. Not a self-help book, which Salie states at the outset, this book won’t prescribe how to change being an approval junkie, but it can make you recognize some behaviors and realize that time and life experiences can lessen/re-prioritize the need for approval. That’s encouraging. I really enjoyed the chapter about interview (listening) techniques she’s gained from working at NPR. I think that Salie’s individual set of experiences, including many that most people will never know (TV auditions, radio shows, stand-up comedy) have given her insights into “approval junky-ness” that are worth sharing.

This book was full of hilarious stories that taught accurate and valuable life lessons. It was a lovely mix of heartfelt truths and witty quips (and a tiny bit of rambling at times). I recommend this book to any woman who feels the need to seek approval.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

14208173FAITH SALIE (author of APPROVAL JUNKIE) is an Emmy-winning contributor to CBS News Sunday Morning and a panelist on NPR’s Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me! She also hosts the PBS show, Science Goes To The Movies. As a commentator on politics and pop culture, she’s been interviewed by the likes of Oprah Winfrey, Bill O’Reilly, and Anderson Cooper. As a television and public radio host, she herself has interviewed newsmakers from Lorne Michaels to President Carter to Robert Redford, who invited her to call him “Bob.” Faith attended Oxford University on a Rhodes scholarship, where her fellow scholars went on to become governors and mayors, while she landed on a Star Trek collectible trading card worth hundreds of cents.

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