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Cheat Day: A Novel (Hardcover)
This clever and witty debut novel about the unexpected consequences of one woman’s attempt to exert control over her life by adhering to a strict wellness routine is “the kind of book you devour in a day or two…sexy and funny, but also very perceptive” (BuzzFeed).
Kit and David were college sweethearts. Now married and in their thirties, they live in Kit’s childhood home in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. While David has a successful career, jetting off on work trips to exciting destinations, Kit is stuck in a loop. She keeps quitting her job managing her sister’s bakery to seek a more ambitious profession, but fear of failure always brings her back to Sweet Cheeks. Kit finds a fraught solace in cycling through fad diets, which David, in his efforts to be supportive, follows along with her. Their latest program is the Radiant Regimen, an intense cleanse, and Kit is optimistic about embarking on a new chapter of healthy eating and self-control.
Hungry in more ways than one, she soon falls into a flirtation with a carpenter named Matt who is building new shelves for the bakery kitchen. Unable to resist their mutual attraction, Kit and Matt soon begin a passionate affair. Kit suppresses her guilt by obsessing over her diet, pushing herself in greater extremes. Told in precise, intimate detail, Cheat Day is “an incredibly likable novel of hungers controlled and liberated, and marriage’s gray areas” (Booklist) that explores monogamy versus monotony, deprivation versus indulgence, and limitations of modern wellness.
About the Author
Liv Stratman earned an MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her writing has appeared in the Boston Review, Witness, and the Cincinnati Review. She worked for many years in a bakery and as a bookseller, and Cheat Day is her first novel. She lives in Brooklyn.
"An intimate exploration of the wellness movement—and the dangers of restricting ourselves from pleasure." —Jane Starr Drinkard, Vulture
"A witty, knowing tale about what it means to grow up." —People Magazine
"Funny and sharp." —The Millions
"A darkly funny novel about hunger, indulgence, and self-control. You'll eat it up." —HelloGiggles
"A smart escape—the kind of book you devour in a day or two, but not because it’s literary cotton candy. This book is sexy and funny, but also very perceptive." —Rachel Krantz, Buzzfeed
"There is something in this book that most women can relate to at some time in their life. Cheat Day is well-written and features quirky characters and a fun setting." —Seattle Book Review
"Stratman debuts with a sweet, smart account of one woman’s attempt to add some spark and direction to her humdrum everyday. . . . wry, insightful narration expounds on the inanities of the daily calculus of diet planning with hilariously cringy detail. This is a treat." —Publishers Weekly
"Along with stellar characterization, Stratman beautifully (and often with humor) captures the complexities of long-term relationships and the ways deprivation and indulgence are intricately intertwined. . . . A funny, wise, and winning debut." —Kirkus Reviews
"Stratman's Brooklyn-set debut is an incredibly likable novel of hungers controlled and liberated, and marriage's gray areas—which is to say, most of marriage's areas. Sympathetic, sincere, fiery, and frustrating, Kit is as real a narrator as they come. Readers will happily follow her journey to figuring out what she wants, or if she even needs to know." —Booklist
"Plucky. . . . Cheat Day has a leisurely pace, with Stratman taking her time to assemble her mise en place but finally delivering a fully baked, flavorful treat." —Shelf Awareness
"A feverish story of attachment and desire, and the search for satisfaction through food, sex, and hard work—while simultaneously proving the impossibility of perfection." —Emma Straub, author of All Adults Here
"Cheat Day is a beautifully written and very funny novel about Kit, a terrifically volatile heroine. While pursuing the hilariously difficult Radiant Regimen, Kit is surrounded by more love and sweetness than she will let herself accept." —Jessica Frances Kane, author of Rules for Visiting
"Liv Stratman writes with such clarity, intelligence, and zip that the Brooklyn debut novel is reborn." —Lorrie Moore, author of Birds of America
"Sexy, witty and down-to-earth, Cheat Day tackles the truths about our modern occupations with wellness, relationships and what it means to be happy. What a pleasure it was to be introduced to the wholly original comic voice of Liv Stratman in this engaging debut." —Jami Attenberg, author of All This Could Be Yours
"An absorbing, humorous, and nuanced exploration of the human desire for variety, the wellness industrial complex, and the overlapping cravings for sustenance in our lives: comestible, amorous, and lustful." —Melissa Broder, author of Milk Fed
"Cheat Day is a deliciously readable and lively debut novel about adulthood and its discontents. With frankness, assurance, and compassion, Liv Stratman writes deftly about the complexities of lust and love, wellness and deprivation, responsibility and freedom, and asks: In the age of late capitalism, how can we know what we want, when all we’re told to want is more?" —Rachel Khong, author of Goodbye, Vitamin