Journalist on CBS Sunday Morning. Actress in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Unhappily Ever After, and Significant Others. Panelist on NPR's Wait Wait . . . Don't Tell Me. Rhodes Scholar. And self-described approval junkie. Faith Salie has a list of accomplishments a mile long, but it's her willingness to bare her soul and share her innermost vulnerabilities that make her likable. And she details her whole journey in her beautifully written memoir Approval Junkie.
She has tried to bake her way into people's hearts, to diet her way in, to listen her way in, to talk her way in. She asked her gay brother how to give the ultimate hand job. She mastered big hair and jazz hands to get voted Miss Aphrodite in high school, while carrying a 4.0 GPA and getting accepted to Yale. She paid a woman who asked her, "Why aren't you as pretty as I want you to be?" and she stuck around to listen to the answer.
But things haven't always gone the way Salie wanted. She lost the part on the sitcom that was written specifically for her. She accidentally contradicted Bill O'Reilly on his own show trying so hard to impress him and missed out on being a permanent part of his show. She struggled with issues of fertility, finally giving birth to her first child at 41. Her first marriage ended in divorce, despite how hard she tried to make it work. Life hasn't always gone the way Salie hoped, but she has learned to make it work for her, even when she had to learn the hard way.
Salie's memoir is funny and smart, moving and powerful. She bares her heart and shares her stories in a way that reminds of how important it is to find approval, to find friends, and to find love. We can all use a little more of that.
A copy of Approval Junkie was provided by Three Rivers Press (Penguin Random House) through bloggingforbooks.com, with many thanks.