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Full Support doesn't fill the cups

Natalee Woods’ autobiographical work tells of her journey through her experiences meeting women as part of her job as a bra-fitter, and using the knowledge she gains from these encounters in her life as she deals with self-worth and the issues of loss.

Who would enjoy this book?

Readers who want female bonding and emotional support.

Full Support is clearly aimed at women, joining in the drive to grant empowerment as they struggle with modern social concerns regarding image and the sense of worth. The array of characters Natalee interacts with, from the recurrent presence of wise elderly Gladys, to the fleeting visit by young Mormon Emily, allow the reader a chance to identify with any of them. Also, the constant reminder of how all women share experiences, despite diversity, resonates with current trends.

It’s an uplifting (pun intended, as is much of the book) read to those looking for bonding female time, and light social mirrors. It is also emotional whenever dealing with family and loss, thus adequate for readers looking for reassurance.

Who should give this a pass?

Readers looking for easy, fun read, or a solid agenda-content blend.

The book seems intent on justifying itself. It reads mostly as a hostile and agonizing time for the narrator, despite the claims to uplifting learning from the customers she encounters. However, the “women’s power” thread runs bare throughout most of the volume, leaving behind a sense of amateurish self-help. As a consequence, the very deeply felt passages on dealing with her parents’ illness and deaths lose staying power. On the other hand, quite a few of the stories seem to be left hanging, with the reader unclear as to why they were inserted at all (Chase, Ruby’s stalker, or the bolting transgender, for example).

What could have been a fun read on the gossipy experiences in the changing room becomes an exercise in searching-for-meaning. The beautiful, worthy, agenda in personal female growth seems an add-on to the tale, lost in the bitter attempts at humoristic sarcasm.

Personal conclusion

As a woman, I can clearly identify with many of the moments and characters presented in Full Support. I can particularly identify with the loss of a dear parent to horrible illness. Moreover, I enjoy female empowerment subtext, often actively looking for it. Sadly, while all these elements were present here, Ms Woods’ work left me wanting. Borrowing for the jargon of the book, I was expecting solid tissue, but found push-ups and fillers instead.

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