Oprah, Weight Watchers, diet programs .... At 104 pounds, thin, bright, thin, beautiful, thin Barbara Avers doesn't't need any of them. She has it all, a high-power attorney/politician husband, great kids, beautiful home -- and a two pack a day cigarette habit. Suddenly, her best friend dies and Barbara honors their lifelong friendship by tossing her last carton of cigarettes. Instantly, like Alice down the rabbit hole, she hurtles headlong into the alternate universe of hips and thighs, weight clinics and fad diets, elastic waistbands and camouflage over-blouses. The layers of her life peel away like skin off a Vidalia -- her husband and children seem to grow distant, her rock-solid world softens like rice pudding. Then Barbara’s old newspaper editor asks her to write a weekly column and Barbara catches the eye of an irreverent, battle-weary crime reporter. And, even as she feels her old self-image crumbling like stale crackers, she also senses a new excitement -- an insatiable hunger for life, laughter and love.
—Susan Isaacs: “THE DIETER is about gaining and losing: pounds, husbands, habits and friends. It is a delightful novel, intelligent, witty, and very moving.” —The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “An excellent novel for and about women…written with both wit and grit…. Anyone who has ever tried to lose weight will identify with Barbara and cheer her on in her Battle of the Bulge…Barbara comes to grips with her life in a most satisfying denouement…. And from Susan Sussman, I hope for more novels about contemporary women…” --Chicago Tribune: "[A] clever, literate novel.... about women and food and love -- the reality that very few of us have perfect size 6 lives." --New York Times: [Sussman's] understanding of the plight of the compulsive eater and dieter, and of the various weight-loss programs, rings true...."