In this fascinating, sharply written insight into America's $15 billion cosmetic surgery industry, author Alex Kuczynski paints an incomparable picture of obsessive patients and the equally obsessive doctors who cater to their dreams. From a group of high-maintenance New York City women who devote themselves to preserving their looks twenty-four hours a day and a podiatrist's office in Manhattan where a 'foot face-lift' provides women with the right fit for their $700 Jimmy Choos, to a 'surgery safari' in South Africa, complete with photographs of magically rejuvenated patients posing with wild animals, Kuczynski portrays the quest for transformation in all its extremes. In Los Angeles, women of an uncertain age even nip and tuck their most private areas, so that every inch of their bodies is as taut as their lifted faces. Lively and entertaining, thought-provoking and disturbing, "Beauty Junkies" is a fascinating insight into life under the knife.
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(200mm x 130mm x 19mm)
Publisher: Ebury Publishing
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US Kirkus Review »
Vanity knows no bounds in this breezy account of Americans' love affair with physical enhancement.New York Times Style reporter Kuczynski injects her experiences as both participant and observer into these revelations about the costly and painful business of fighting off age and battling imperfections through cosmetic surgery. She reveals who undergoes it and why, what they spend and what they endure in the pursuit of beauty. Some take a combination safari-and-surgery trip to South Africa; others make a monthly maintenance visit to a local skin-care salon. Kuczynski interviews women and men who have undergone surgery and the doctors who work on them, focusing particularly on New York and Los Angeles. She attends conventions where the tools of the trade are marketed and the providers of cosmetic enhancement learn how to promote their services, revealing how this lucrative, heavily advertised business is being conducted by people with various levels of training. On a more sober note, she recounts stories of deaths that have occurred during cosmetic surgery, specifically those of Olivia Goldsmith and Susan Malitz, both at Manhattan Eye, Ear, and Throat Hospital in 2004. Describing herself as only "relatively obsessed" with her appearance (a description the reader may find questionable), the author relates her own unpleasant experience with liposuction and the comic near-disaster of her venture into lip enhancement by Restylene injection. Kuczynski also includes a capsule history of cosmetic surgery from reconstructive efforts during World War I to the current Botox craze. The various components combine to provide a solid summary of the downside of cosmetic surgery, though the author's self-regard is a tad annoying.Fans of Kuczynski's style of personal journalism will be entertained. (Kirkus Reviews)
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Author Biography - Alex Kuczynski
Alex Kuczynski is a reporter for the New York Times who writes on such wide-ranging topics as Botox, Britney Spears and Buddhism. Her work also appears regularly in Vanity Fair, Vogue, Elle and Harper's Bazaar.