By Clarissa Cruz
Updated June 06, 2001 at 04:00 AM EDT

Cannie Shapiro, heroine of Jennifer Weiner’s crackling debut, Good in Bed, is an ambitious entertainment journalist (we like her already) with a plus size figure and a wicked wit to match. But when she happens upon a national magazine column penned by her ex (titled ”Loving a Larger Woman”), she’s propelled to begin a journey that takes her everywhere from a Philly weight loss clinic to an L.A. sojourn with Hollywood starlet Maxi Ryder (a hilarious, barely veiled send up of Minnie Driver). Dealing with her prickly ex, a newly out mother, and some really unexpected news along the way, Cannie emerges as one of the most engaging, realistic female characters in years. And it doesn’t hurt that Weiner’s smoothly written novel is stuffed with dialogue that rings with humor and truth. (Ryder on her love troubles: ”Everybody knows! Entertainment Weekly did a whole story. With a flow chart!”)