For fans of The Happiness Project and The Year of Living Biblically comes a pointed look at our fascination with celebrities, as one woman strives to remake herself in the image of her favorite stars.
What woman hasn’t seen pictures of Jennifer Aniston, Gwyneth Paltrow, or Beyoncé and wished she had their clothes, their abs, their seemingly flawless lives? For Rachel Bertsche, these celebrities are the epitome of perfection—self-assured and effortlessly cool. Yet lately, between juggling her career, her marriage, and her dream of becoming a mother, Bertsche feels anything but put together.
In Jennifer, Gwyneth & Me, Bertsche embarks on a quest to emulate her Hollywood role models—while sticking to a budget—to see if they really hold the keys to happiness. While trying to unlock the stars’ secrets, from Sarah Jessica Parker’s wardrobe to Julia Roberts’s sense of calm to—maybe one day—Jessica Alba’s chic pregnancy, Bertsche learns valuable lessons. A toned body doesn’t come easy or cheap, avoiding social media can do wonders for your peace of mind, and confidence is the key to pulling off any outfit. But can she immerse herself in the A-list lifestyle and still stay true to herself? And will her pursuit of perfection really lead to happiness?
Praise for Jennifer, Gwyneth & Me
“If you’ve ever had a celebrity girl crush, stick Jennifer, Gwyneth & Me in your beach bag. Bertsche is your people.”—Associated Press
“[A] super-fun social experiment.”—PureWow
“Bertsche ups the ante. . . . The well-researched information on celebrity culture provides food for thought.”—Booklist
“What makes Jennifer, Gwyneth & Me work is Bertsche’s honesty. . . . [She] is funny, creative and, more importantly, manages to stay sane.”—Boston Herald
“An entertaining memoir about a woman’s attempt to model her life on those of stars.”—Tampa Bay Times
“A worthy narrative.”—The Boston Globe
“Bertsche blends elements reminiscent of Julie & Julia and The Happiness Project in this ‘self-improvement journey.’ . . . The process not only provides Bertsche with fruitful writing fodder but also prompts readers to examine their outlook on perfection, self-acceptance, and aspiring to be one’s very best self.”—Publishers Weekly
Praise for Rachel Bertsche’s MWF Seeking BFF
“Written with verve, insight, and humor . . . Bertsche writes cleverly, but not glibly, about the challenges young women face today.”—Chicago Tribune
“[A] charming, funny chronicle.”—People
Chicago author Bertsche (MWF Seeking BFF) blends elements reminiscent of Julie & Julia and The Happiness Project in this "self-improvement journey." Finding herself suddenly unemployed, sluggish and unfulfilled (and simultaneously trying to get pregnant), Bertsche embarks on a quest to become more perfect and thus happier. Hooked on celebrity culture (which, she observes, many take pleasure in "hating on"), she decides to emulate Jennifer Aniston's body (daily workouts and "don't eat shit"), Sarah Jessica Parker's fashion sense, Gwyneth Paltrow's upscale home cooking, Tina Fey's work habits, Julia Roberts's serenity, Jennifer Garner's successful marriage (the key watching more football with her spouse), Jessica Alba's pregnancy, and Beyonc 's "whole package." As Bertsche chronicles her experiment in separate chapters devoted to each celebrity, readers will alternately laugh and cringe (the author attempts a detoxifying Gwyneth "Goop" cleanse, meditates la Roberts in Eat Pray Love). A parallel plot develops when Bertsche and her lawyer/husband pursue IVF after attempts at baby making fail due to male-infertility factor. Interspersed among her daily star-inspired routines are observations about celebrity culture, the value of role models, and whether impersonating (but not stalking) Hollywood idols is a worthy pursuit. The process not only provides Bertsche with fruitful writing fodder but also prompts readers to examine their outlook on perfection, self-acceptance, and aspiring to be one's very best self.