By ALISON BURMEISTER
The saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” certainly applies to author Leslie Lehr’s latest book, A Boob’s Life, How America’s Obsession Shaped Me. . .And You.
With the word boob in the title, and the book cover of a curvy woman in a classic pin-up look wearing a red bra, it’s easy to see how one might assume this book is all about bras and boobs.
It is about bras and boobs . . . but it is so much more.
In A Boob’s Life, Leslie Lehr explores the truth about women’s most popular body part and its role in American culture.
Lehr’s is the story of a girl growing up in middle America and the different phases of her (and her boob’s) life from bikinis to beauty pageants. It is about hiding her boobs to get a job, to showing them to get a date, to breastfeeding, to breast implants and then experiencing breast cancer.
As Lehr connects the dots of her own life, she parallels her stories with the history of women in America.
In every chapter, she offers relevant historical information, myths and facts, current statistics, legal rights, healthcare, and thought-provoking lists, to justify why she feels this obsession with boobs needs to be addressed.
“Boobs are an issue,” Lehr said, explaining that the word boob reduces the female body part to a product that can be advertised, joked about and sexualized. “The word breast, until recently was more frequently used to describe a chicken recipe than a woman’s body.”
For many women, the size and shape of our breasts affect how we feel about ourselves. Body image, especially for girls today is ever more challenging to navigate as they scroll endless feeds of perfectly airbrushed bodies.
Body positivity, feeling good about how we look, depends so much on the individual support girls receive from family and friends in real life.
Lehr says she has been accused of having a feminist agenda, but said, “I care about women.”
Breasts are biological signifiers of being a woman. They are the first thing men notice when talking to a woman and other women notice them too.
“I never intended to write this book.” she said, noting it came from a question she asked herself while getting ready for date night with her husband.
“Am I obsessed?” She wondered. Like so many women, Lehr was frustrated with the way she looked. Standing in front of the mirror, she noticed the cancer treatments, mastectomy and reconstructive surgery left her body looking and feeling less than perfect.
That same evening, as she and her husband watched a late-night comedy special, the host on the show cracked a boob joke on national television. Lehr knew then, she wasn’t the only one obsessed with boobs.
She realizes we can’t control our first biological thoughts, but we can control how we react to them. “Just because we have breasts, does not mean we should be treated differently or limited because of it,” said Lehr, who loves visiting book clubs to chat about the book—or to discuss specific topics.
“I hope to make a difference and help people,” said Lehr, who had her 10-year checkup scan last week. Just in time for “Pinktober,” Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Lehr received good news. “The doctors say there is no chance the tumor is coming back.”
Lehr encourages everyone to get routine mammograms and is forever grateful to the team of doctors who saved her life from cancer.
Not taking anything for granted these days, Lehr is humbled by all the attention she, and A Boob’s Life, are receiving.
People Magazine, Good Morning America and Glamour all placed A Boob’s Life, on their “must- read” lists, and Entertainment Tonight, refers to Lehr as a “trailblazer changing the world.”
A Boob’s Life is being developed as a comedy series by Salma Hayek’s Ventanarosa Productions for HBOMax. Leslie will serve as Executive Producer.
An accomplished screen writer herself, she wrote the original screenplays for the indie romantic thriller, Heartless, and the comedy-drama, Club Divorce.
Lehr explains she is ok with having someone else write for the show. “I’ve said all I wanted to say in the book and I’m excited to see what HBO’s team of writers does with my story.”
“My mission with this book is to make people aware of women’s lives and move forward,” Lehr said. She encourages everyone to find their voice and vote for change.
When Lehr is not writing or helping others as a novel consultant for Truby Writers Studio, she can be found talking to her two daughters; hiking Temescal Canyon; walking on the beach; doing yoga; hanging with her two cats; or going on dinner dates with her husband, John Truby, an American screenwriter, director, screenwriting teacher and author.
The couple met when Lehr was a single mom living in the Valley and John was living in Rustic Canyon. Their first dates were at Pearl Dragon where they still enjoy dining today.
A Boob’s Life is published by Pegasus Books and can be found at Collections Antiques and Books on Antioch in the Palisades or at Diesel Bookstore in Brentwood.