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Eye On Romance
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Lisa Jackson

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Jennifer Weiner
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March 28, 1970: Jennifer Agnes Weiner is born on an army base in De Ridder, Louisiana. Why Louisiana? Why Agnes? Her parents have no answers. 1972: Displaying good judgment at an early age, Jen leaves the army base and relocates to Simsbury, Connecticut, with her parents and sister Molly. They are eventually joined by brothers, Jake and Joe. 1975-1987: Public schools and many unfortunate hair and fashion choices. 1987: Jennifer graduates Simsbury High School as graduation speaker and heads off to New Jersey. Most common yearbook inscription? “Good luck at Princeton. Don’t take any math!” 1987-1991: Jen attends Princeton University where she majors in English and minors in rabble-rousing. As co-founder of the Committee to Coeducate Eating Clubs, she leads a campus-wide campaign to get the school's two remaining all-male eating clubs to accept female members. She also takes many creative writing courses, studying with J.D. McClatchy, Ann Lauterbach, John McPhee, Toni Morrison, and Joyce Carol Oates. In 1990, she wins Princeton's Academy of American Poets prize for her poetry. She writes her thesis on representations of maternity in women's novels and film. Her mother promises that she's read it. Jennifer's not sure whether she believes this. 1991: After graduating summa cum laude and realizing that she is qualified to do nothing but write self-conscious short stories about her parents' divorce, Jen takes John McPhee's advice and goes into journalism. After a six-week stint at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies in St. Petersburg, Florida, Jen is hired as the education reporter at the Centre Daily Times in State College, Pennsylvania, a small Knight-Ridder owned daily newspaper. 1992: Jen latches on to the Generation X phenomenon, writing twice-monthly op-ed columns about Gen X. The columns are eventually distributed on the Knight-Ridder news wire and appear in papers nationwide. Also, Jen's self-conscious short story about divorce, "Tour of Duty," is published in Seventeen Magazine. 1993: Jen continues writing columns and feature stories, as well as covering five local school districts. Her short story, "Someone to Trust" is published in Redbook. And Jen acquires Wendell, a small, spotted, anxious, ten-pound rat terrier who will appear, in various incarnations, in many of her later works, and whose handsome visage graces the back cover of GOOD IN BED. 1994: Jen goes to work in the features department of the Lexington Herald-Leader, in Lexington, KY. She also writes two Generation X columns a month for the Philadelphia Inquirer, which continues to distribute them nationally. The Inquirer tells Jen they'll hire her as soon as they have an opening. However, editors refuse to give her column the title she's long yearned for: The Joy of X. 1995: The Philadelphia Inquirer hires Jen as a general-assignment features reporter, with the stipulation that she quit writing opinion pieces. Realizing that she's pretty much ridden the Gen-X trend into the ground, and after editors and peers gently point out that she will not be twentysomething forever, Jen agrees. She and Wendell move to Center City, Philadelphia. 1996-1999: Jen profiles Wendy the Snapple Lady, departing Cosmo editor Helen Gurley Brown, and Adam Sandler, and writes long Sunday stories about teenage drug abuse, sex and college students, and her grandmother's gefilte fish. She covers a Democratic National Convention, a Presidential inauguration, the Pillsbury Bake-Off, the Miss America Pageant, and Wrestlemania, eventually realizing that these events have more in common than you’d think. 1998: Jen becomes a contributing editor at Mademoiselle magazine, where she writes a monthly column about surviving the workplace. Her freelance work appears in Salon.com, Time Out New York, Animal Fair, the Columbia Journalism Review and Seventeen. She also appears regularly on "Philly After Midnight," Philadelphia's local late night television show, as a cultural commentator and generally sarcastic person. Within the next few years, Mademoiselle folds, and "Philly After Midnight" goes off the air. Jen tries not to take it personally. This is also the year Jen starts writing GOOD IN BED. 1999: Inquirer editors redesign the book section and give Jen a Sunday column about the intersection of literature and real life. "Under Cover" debuts in October of 1999. Jen's mom swears she reads the columns online every week. Again, Jen isn't sure whether she believes this. May, 2000: Jen sells GOOD IN BED, and the rights to her second novel to Pocket Books(now Atria Books). The Inquirer's book section undergoes a redesign, and Jen starts writing a general-interest feature column that appears every Wednesday. Wendell insists on a pseudonym, and is not very happy when he learns that, as far as the reading world is concerned, his name is Nifkin. May 1, 2001, GOOD IN BED is published, earning starred reviews from Publisher's Weekly and Kirkus, and an "A" from Entertainment Weekly. Jen takes a leave of absence from the Inquirer and embarks on an 18-city tour that takes her from New York City and Philadelphia to St. Louis, Kansas City, Atlanta, Miami, Denver, Portland, San Francisco and Los Angeles, and eventually to London, where GOOD IN BED is published by Simon & Schuster UK. Jen appears on the CBS Early Show with Bryant Gumbel, and the book is excerpted in Mode, and chosen by Marie Claire, Glamour and Cosmopolitan as one of the hot reads for the summer. Great reviews from UPI and the Associated Press and endorsements from authors Susan Isaacs, Anna Maxted, Suzanne Finnamore, Valerie Frankel, and John Searles boost the buzz, and by the end of May, GOOD IN BED makes the New York Times' best-seller list. Foreign rights have been sold in fifteen countries, and GOOD IN BED has become an international best-seller. Best of all, Jen knows for certain that her mother has read every word! October 27, 2001. 2001. Having decided that there just wasn't enough going on in her life, Jen marries curly-headed lawyer Adam Bonin in a festive Halloween-themed bash at the College of Physicians of Philadelphia. December, 2001: Jen leaves the Inquirer to write fiction full-time, and instantly begins the process of becoming 100 percent more cynical about the media. April, 2002: GOOD IN BED comes out in paperback and hits bestseller lists nationwide. Jen embarks on a nine-city tour that takes her to Boston, Cleveland, Houston, Dallas, and two hotels with bidets in the bathrooms. June, 2002: Four months prior to its publication, Jen's brother Jake, and his company, BenderSpink, sells the film rights to Jen's second book to Fox 2000. Susannah Grant (ERIN BROCKOVICH, EVER AFTER) is hired to write the screenplay. September, 2002: IN HER SHOES, the story of two sisters with nothing in common but the same size feet and the grandmother they never knew, is published in hardcover. PEOPLE calls it "an entertaining romp through family battles and toxic relationships." USA TODAY says the book "will make you laugh and possibly cry." THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER hails the maturity of the writing. Jen celebrates by getting knocked up prior to departing on a fourteen-city book tour, a mistake she will never, ever, ever make again. November, 2002: Jen returns to Philadelphia to concentrate on her third book, LITTLE EARTHQUAKES, which was published on September 14, 2004, and on Lucy Jane, who made her debut on May 10, 2003 January, 2003: Jake Weiner and company make a deal with HBO, which options the rights to GOOD IN BED. Jen's Mom assures Jen that if the show ever makes it out of development hell, she will, in fact, get cable. July, 2003: IN HER SHOES comes out in paperback, hits bestseller lists nationwide. Jen schleps an uncomplaining (and usually asleep) Lucy to readings in Cape Cod, New York City, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C.. January, 2004: Production on “In Her Shoes,” the movie begins filming, with Oscar-winning director Curtis Hanson (8 Mile, L.A. Confidential, Wonder Boys) at the helm, and with Toni Collette as Rose Feller, Cameron Diaz as Maggie Feller and Shirley MacLaine as Ella. Jen visits the set in Los Angeles, attempts not to make a complete ass of herself, and fails miserably when she starts to cry while watching Toni Collette and Brooke Smith as Amy film the scene where Maggie has stolen Rose’s boyfriend and broken her heart. Jen’s sister Molly nabs a coveted role as a featured extra and places the following phone call: “Toni Collette looks terrible! They’ve got her in these frumpy clothes, and she has a hideous hair-do…she looks JUST LIKE YOU!” Jen assumes that Molly is kidding. April, 2004: Production moves to Philadelphia. Jen tries desperately not to make a pest of herself by stalking the stars or hanging around the set. Once again, she fails miserably. But she and her agent get to appear as extras in the Italian Market scene. April, 2004: Production wraps in Boynton Beach, Florida. Jen lobbies to get her Nanna into the film as an extra in one of the senior center scenes. As a result, Nanna meets Shirley MacLaine and Cameron Diaz before Jen does. Summer, 2004: Jen hangs out with friends and family, prepares for LITTLE EARTHQUAKES: The Fourteen-City Tour, and begins work on her fourth book, a murder mystery set in a fictitious Connecticut suburb. The working title is MOMICIDE. Both Jen’s editor and agent change the subject whenever Jen uses MOMICIDE in conversation. Jen does not take this as a good sign. September, 2004: LITTLE EARTHQUAKES is published. The Washington Post writes “Weiner’s gift lies in her ability to create characters who both amuse us and make us care.” The book becomes Jen’s best-selling hardcover yet and is optioned by Universal Pictures. Jen, Lucy and entourage survive the book tour, and Lucy takes her first steps in a Kansas City hotel room. March, 2005: Jen, her agent and her brother get to go to a screening of “In Her Shoes,” the movie. Jen, determined not to make a complete fool of herself, nevertheless bursts into tears the instant the Fox logo flashes on-screen, clutches Armani-clad arm of executive sitting beside her and blurts, “That part came out great!” Jen and her agent, plus Molly, and, most importantly, Nanna, can all be glimpsed in the final cut. Jen exhales, confident of enjoying a tension-free Passover. June, 2005: LITTLE EARTHQUAKES is published in paperback. GOODNIGHT NOBODY, Jen’s fourth novel and first mystery, will hit bookstores on September 20 (and will not be called MOMICIDE). IN HER SHOES, the movie, will be in a theater near you on October 7, 2005. Jen plots post-book-and-movie-tour getaway to be spent lying on a hotel bed in an undisclosed location in a state of semi-permanent disbelief.

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