Name Changers

Recently an “industry” friend contacted me and asked if I was at the same address. A copy of Bethenny Frankel’s new book, Skinnydipping, had come across her desk and she wanted to send it to me. I hadn’t planned on reading my personal hero’s first venture into fiction. As much as I adore the energetic, endearingly foul mouthed, natural food chef, TV personality, liquor-shapewear-energy bar-anything she can attach her Skinnygirl logo to spark plug that is the current queen of female empowerment, I don’t pretend to buy into everything she does. I was always the first to admit I never watched that silly ice skating show, sans for what parts of it ended up on Bethenny Ever After and now I will not shy away from acknowledging that I just didn’t see Bethenny as a fiction writer. Even though I carry around A Place of Yes like it is a copy of the Holy Bible, a proven author of diet and motivational books does not a novelist make. However, this was a free copy of a hardcover book by a woman I admire so I was excited to receive Skinnydipping and dive in.

How pleasantly surprised I have been by the first 8 chapters. I think the book, from all of the RTs I’ve seen Bethenny’s camp post on Twitter, is being very well received, and like her other books, it’s already made the New York Time’s bestseller list.  Skinnydipping is, thus far, engagingly entertaining, but I wonder, how much of it is fiction? The main character, Faith Brightstone, has not only the same quick wit and sharp tongue as her creator, but if you’ve read A Place of Yes, many of the same experiences. It seems to me that Ms. Brightstone is really Ms. Frankel with initials reversed and name changed. Just like Bethenny, Faith has divorced dysfunctional parents, including a father who makes his living in horse racing just like the late Bobby Frankel. Frank Brightstone, like the man who obviously inspired him, lives in LA and has been estranged from his daughter for many years and again has those same initials, the exact ones of Bethenny and her biological father, only reversed. 
So much of what I read about Bethenny in APoY is regurgitated in SD that I can only picture Bethenny when I read it, and hear her voice. Heck, isn’t that her topless on the cover? It leaves little room for the reader’s imagination. In an online interview with Bethenny was asked about all the parallels between her and Faith. She said that it was a “never told story.” Hmmm interesting way to answer the question. 
Whether a vaguely disguised memoir, or not, I am going to recommend Skinnydipping. Chances are you will enjoy it, especially if you are a Bethenny fan and you will probably be finished with it before I am since it’s very hard to get through a book with a full time job and two very young children. 
 ********************************SPOILER ALERT****************************************
Speaking of changing names, did you catch RHOC’s Heather Dubrow’s awkward adventure at the DMV in last night’s episode? Never have I seen anyone make such a HUGE deal of changing her name. After 12 years of marriage and 4 children, Heather Paige Kent, as it says on her IMDB (one of her greatest worries she explains to a friend during a lunch date) has decided to give her husband the ultimate gift by taking his last name. Sure, why not, they both already have everything that money can buy. A sweet and romantic gesture it was, but the way Heather discussed it ad nauseum like the seas would part and the planets would realign, tainted the entire notion for the viewer. I found her fear about her career name extra annoying since each time she mentioned being an “actress” finally led me to search for her on IMDB. I eventually found her under Heather Paige Kent, but got there via the name Dubrow because really, who honestly knew who she was before she became a Real Housewife? Her venture into the DMV to change her license further illustrated just how out of touch she is with the regular life of the average peon like me. She seemed to expect all the DMV staff to cater to her by laughing at her lame attempts at humor and pandering to her idea that this name change was the biggest deal in the universe. Listen lady, glad your life is so great that this was such an agonizing decision, but most of us have more serious things on our minds these days, like the recession. 
Oh what I wouldn’t do for luxury problems. Slade and Gretchen’s therapy session got my sympathy vote and my attention Mrs. Paig-Kent-Dubrow. Take note. 
**Correction** In the previous post I spelled Jacqueline Laurita’s name as “Jaclyn.” I apologize for the mistake.

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