Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Spotlight: Sugarfiend

If her life is a box of chocolates, acid-tongued, sugar-obsessed Estelle Brown should learn how to pick them better. Her boyfriend’s left her for a bulimic hand model, her roomate’s skipped town, and her boss is in love with her. Fed up and In the middle of her latest of a lifetime of doomed diet attempts – cutting sugar cold turkey – Estelle decides to quit quitting for good, pack her bags, and lose herself on a 7-day Caribbean cruise. But even on a floating monument to binge eating, the diet industry follows her. Across from every buffet is a studio full of treadmills. Next to every plate of fried calamari is a large diet Coke. As a ship full of wary passengers ducks for cover, Hurricane Estelle wages her own personal war against moderation. But the consequences land her in the belly of the beast: broke, alone, and forced to take a job as –of all things-- a detox consultant for the ship. Is Skinny the answer to Happy? Is Sweet n Low the new black? Is that Denise Austin chick … for real? No, no and yes, oddly. But for a Sugarfiend, it’s not the destination that matters, it’s all the cupcakes you get to eat along the way.

EXCERPT:January something, somewhere in the Caribbean.

It’s karaoke night here on the SS Sugar Shock and I’m absolutely killing. I’m a star, a queen! A legend in my own mind.
Loretta Lynn never struck me as someone who would know exactly how many calories there are in one M&M (seven the in plain, twelve or so in the peanut), but if this song I’m singing at top volume is any indication, the woman does know heartbreak. Heartbreak and lyin’ and cheatin’. Therefore, I could absolutely be wrong about the M&Ms.
I’ve been wrong before.
Like when I thought James was something more than just a thirteenth-stepping chubby-chaser. Or like when I thought Bill was worthy of even touching the hem of my size-14 potato sack. Or like when I thought I could ever, for even one minute, abstain from sugar without eventually going batshit crazy.
As I round the corner from the verse to the chorus, I try to get a read on my audience. Suddenly, I experience one of those moments where one’s initial feeling of triumph gives way to the possibility that I actually have toilet paper stuck to my shoe or asparagus in my teeth, if I ever ate asparagus. Or that everyone in this place is completely on to the fact that I am in the middle of batshit crazy.
Women like you are a dime a dozen, you can buy ‘em anywhere.
For you to get to him, I’d have to move over, and I’m gonna stand right here.

The waitress with the pretzel-stick thighs looks pensive. My twin bunkmates Rhonda and Roxanne look bored and worried, respectively. But, that’s how they always look. There’s nothing much to read in Rhonda’s face that couldn’t be found in ten minutes of any given episode of The Jersey Shore, but Roxanne’s face is really saying something. It’s saying, I think, that this journey I’m on was doomed from the start. It’s saying that whatever I boarded this ship to do I’ve long since overdone and that what’s needed now is a little restraint. What’s needed here is better judgment. Moderation, for crying out loud!
But I don’t do moderation. I’m an all-or-nothing girl.

 Author Bio:  

Caroline Burau is a blogger, two-time author, and a 911 dispatcher. Her first book, Answering 911: Life in the Hot Seat was a Reader's Digest Editor's Choice and a finalist for the Minnesota Book Award.

When she's not writing or obsessing about writing, she's spending her royalties on yoga classes, strappy sport tops, and used books. She lives with her husband, two geriatric cats, and an excitable yellow lab in White Bear Lake, Minnesota.

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  1. Thanks for the spotlight - this sounds like it could be a fun book!