Friday, July 16, 2010

Living Oprah

This week I checked out these books at the library. A few were recommended by friends, and a few I just saw on the shelf.  That's one of the great things about the library- There's no risk in bringing home a book you know nothing about and might not like.  My plan was to read Bel Canto by Ann Patchett first because I've read other books by her, and because this one was recommended. 

But when I got home and sat down with those books before me at my kitchen table, I read the first page of Living Oprah by Robyn Okrant.  And I couldn't seem to stop.  Now 2 days and 2 baths later, I'm half way through the book and finding it so fun to read.
In this memoir, Robyn Okrant recounts her year of following all the advice that Oprah dishes out in her magazine, on her website, or on her show.   Robyn started a blog all about her Living Oprah project and within 3 months she had over 20,000 visitors.  (Which, of course, I found interesting!)

When I was first reading this, I was wondering if Oprah has had Robyn on her show, since she wrote this book.  But as I'm further into it, I feel quite sure she has not.  Robyn isn't against Oprah, but she does question some things that might rub Oprah the wrong way.

For example, she writes a message to Oprah in the book, begging her to break the cycle of "devaluing women by focusing too much on our bodies", pointing out that Oprah spends an inordinate amount of time asking female guests on her show how they lost their weight, got their muscular arms, etc. before asking them anything about the movie they are promoting, or the real reason they are on the show.

She also writes about some contradictions Oprah makes.  One that made me laugh in agreement was about when Oprah ran a few pro-planet/pro-green episodes, and right of the middle of them, had her "Big Give" show in which she gave away a gas-guzzling SUV.

By no means do you need to be an Oprah fan to enjoy this book.  But if you are a big fan, that's fine too.  This is really just an interesting little experiment one woman challenged herself to, and in the process, learned a lot about why people have such passionate responses about the Queen of Talk.

So, what are your thoughts on Oprah?


Emelie - C'est LA vie said...

The woman is impressive, no doubt. And you've just inspired me to drag my lazy bones to the library (and not a minute too soon - time for some literary upkeep!:)

ps. Thanks for your sweet comments; I'm still here...just went on a little impromptu blog break. Xx

Laurie said...

That looks like a great book - I'll have to reserve it! Oprah...dunno, really. I think I've seen her show exactly two times (maybe only once). Kinda like her magazine, except everything in it is for people who pull down an Oprah-ish salary. Her book club had some good finds several years ago. I guess the bottom line is I don't dislike her, I just don't belong to the club. LOL!

Abby said...

I think the woman is really impressive. Rag to riches and all that... however I don't really like her show all that much. i don't think she should be sworn by... my grandma used to take everything she said as gospel, and I think it's scary whenever anyone does that, simply because she has that big of an influence.

I really want to read this book now.

Unknown said...

Thanks for the reminder to use the library ~ and the fun review of Oprah ~ I think the idea of challenging yourself to follow any one person for a year seems a little daunting ~ how could you be authentic to yourself at the same time? As for Oprah, I used to enjoy her show but then all of her recomendations became for someone with a huge expendable budget and she became too big for her britches as my gram would say . . . sometimes I still catch a glimpse of her but I have lost my membership card :0

jacqueline said...

The book sounds amazing! I want to check it out tooo! As for Oprah, i do adore her and find her very impressive. :) Have a lovely merry happy weekend and love to her.

Pam Tucker said...

I have to admit I've never watched her show but I do admire what she's been able to do with her life. I have some friends who are true followers though. Thanks for the review on this book. I haven't been to the library for a while, either...may have to head back over there now!

Jadyn said...

I think it's a good idea to use a bit of critical thinking on what Oprah says and does, because she does have so much influence. I really appreciate parts of what Oprah does and brings to the world - yet feel apprehensive of others. I think I might have to see if my library carries this book, it looks like it would be fun and interesting.

The Creative Beast said...

i'm interested in reading this book after reading your review of it!

i have mixed feelings about Ms. O - i admire what she has been able to accomplish in her life but i agree with the author on the body-image issues and the give-aways that take place on the show. Also, I came close to submitting an idea for a show on her new network but came to realise that it was a CONTEST and it will turn into a reality show to see who will WIN their own show on the Oprah Winfrey Network =-\..ick - reality shows!!

Unknown said...

Hi Kerri
thanks for stopping by Secrets today :)
we don't have someone like Oprah in England.
I think she's v gifted at what she does. I don't catch all her shows and they are very behind by the time they're shown here. But I enjoy those that are focused on spirituality.
I didn't like the sound of the book when I saw a review of it, as I felt it was taking things too literally. Of course there'll be contradictions in the shows Oprah does as they're reflective of life. Our lives are full of moments that we try to do one thing but then maybe the next week fall short and say or do something that seems the opposite.
I think Oprah is a very caring person, through the charities and networks she's founded and that she does want to
bring the viewers things that will benefit their lives, it seems rather sad to write a book where you're set on pulling those good intentions to pieces.
Maybe the whole book isn't like that, but that's the impression the review gave.
Kat xx

Pat said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog today. Not a lot to say about Oprah except she has done some really great things for a lot of people. I don't watch her show.

Robin Norgren, M.A, R-YT, Spiritual Director said...

I have read this book it is A VERY FUN READ! I was on a kick for a while where I was reading all these books based on blogs-another really good one is called "The Happiness Project" by Gretchen Rubin.

Melissa Sarno said...

This book does look very interesting! I don't really pay much attention to Oprah. But I am intrigued by the fact that everything she touches pretty much turns to gold and becomes an instant sensation. Her power scares me but I want to learn how to get power like that... ;-) haha

molly said...

i don't know much about oprah except that i've been wanting to be on her "favorite things" show since i was four.

lori vliegen said...

this sounds like a great read.....thanks for recommending it!! i love the concept of following the advice of someone like oprah (and boy, that's a lot of advice she gives!) and then keeping a blog! it kind of reminds me of the julie/julia project! thanks for stopping by my blog and saying's great to meet you! :))

Lorrie Everitt Studio said...

Hey Kerri - I have seen Oprah a couple of times and read a couple of her magazines at the doctor's office but I really don't follow her that much. I think that she is an amazing business woman who has done a lot of good things ... she is a very inspiring person.

Valerie said...

Props to Oprah for all she's achieved, but I'm not a big fan. Hmm...maybe I'll blog about that someday. But, basically, she started out being one of us. She still tries to act that way, but clearly she's no longer "one of us"--she's the richest woman in the world!

Meanwhile, the book you're reading sounds fun. I'll add it to my list.

I read a similar book called The Year of Living Biblically--a guy lived by the literal rules of the Bible for one year. Kind of like you said with Oprah's book, you don't really have to be religious to enjoy the book, and if you are religious, I think it'd be enjoyable too.

Happy reading!

Unknown said...

The book definitely sounds interesting. Thanks for the review! I am always looking for good book suggestions.