By Valerie Frankel
St. Martin’s Press, $24.99, 242 pages

“The hate has to come out,” a doctor advised the author as she and her family faced a dire health crisis. And so began her yearlong exploration of the more toxic emotions, including hate, jealousy, greed, rage, and regret. In It’s Hard Not to Hate You, Valerie Frankel explores the darker emotions as experienced by her Bitchy Twin, a twin every woman should have, just like a super-sexy pair of shoes. She also reflects on bad parenting, dieting, being “Williamsburged” by a neighbor (not as dirty as it sounds), hating your spouse, hating your friends, rude cell phone talkers, bad drivers, and the enemies list. And as the story unfolds, she raises an important and vital question: are bad emotions good for you?

“Of course I care when my fourteen-year-old hates me! It means I’m doing something right.”

Chick lit meets memoir, this uproariously funny and deeply introspective novel should be a classic in chick lit memoir with its comedy, thoughtfulness, engaging narrative, and refreshing style. Frankel has great powers of observation and a sense of humor that will keep you laughing and up reading long past the time you need to go to bed or leave for work.

Axie Barclay