Book: Living Oprah: My One-Year Experiment to Walk the Walk of the Queen of Talk
Author: Robyn Okrant
"The Oprah show is one-stop emotional shopping for the modern woman who wants every aspect of her life to feel satisfying and full."
The premise seems simple enough: to put the management of her life entirely in the hands of televisions of most influential woman. Okrant dedicates all of 2008 to discovering what kind of woman would emerge on New Years Day 2009. In wholeheartedly conforming to all things Oprah, would she lose her own identity? Would she suddenly exist only as an "O-bot" (a term affectionately coined for those who follow Oprah a little too copiously,) devoid of an actual personality? Would she turn into a spiritual guru; no longer occupying the mundane reality of the less enlightened unfortunates? The only way to know for sure is to try - and she does so with a vengeance.
Immediately, I was stunned and overwhelmed by the sheer volume of commands that Oprah dishes out on a daily basis. I'm no stranger to the show and am a loyal reader of the magazine (I had not previously been to her website), yet the majority of Oprah's dictates seem to have gone right over my head. What began as a fun side project for Okrant turned into a full time job almost immediately (and minimally a part time job for her poor, unsuspecting and inexplicably patient husband).
Let me take a moment to give a rundown of the characters at work here (to give you a true sense of how this insanely complicated endeavor goes beyond daily viewing of the show):
1-There is the omnipresent Oprah Winfrey herself (as seen daily on the show).
2- Then there are those blessed by the authority bestowed on them by Oprah herself: Dr. Phil, Suze Orman, Dr. Oz, Nate Birkus.
3- Then there are all the columnists of O magazine, Martha Beck, Lisa Kogan along with various makeup and wardrobe experts.
4-Finally there is the Oprah website - with 100 suggestions a day on anything from how long to kiss your husband when he walks through the door (10 seconds) to what shape your poop should take (it should look like an "S" - I swear I didn't make this up).
Okrant takes us along as she floats through meditations, overhauls of her entire wardrobe, puzzles at the contradictions between Oprah (the person) and Oprah (the personality, the brand name, the machine) and loses weight before finally almost losing her sanity: all without ever losing her sense of humor. And that is what makes this book work: its highly enjoyable to read. I finished it in a day and a half!
If, like myself, you have a sick sort of fascination with the Queen of Talk then this is the book for you! If not, I still bet money you enjoy these chronicles!