When Naperville resident Jen Evers got up Tuesday morning, she had a feeling something good would happen.
Those are the words she said to former reality star, businesswoman and talk show host Bethenny Frankel, who appeared during a lunch hour book-signing event at Anderson’s Bookshop in Naperville Tuesday. Evers bought a copy of Frankel’s latest book, “Skinnygirl Solutions,” which included a special surprise.
“Whoever has a copy of my book with the sticker on the inside needs to come up,” Frankel said to a crowd of nearly 200 people, virtually all women. “You’ve just won a trip to New York for a friend and yourself to see my show.”
Evers was nearly speechless as she worked her way to the front of the autograph line.
“This is the biggest thing I’ve ever won in my life,” Evers said shortly after calling a friend that had asked her to get a second book signed. “I’m about ready to cry.”
Frankel appeared just shortly after 11:30 a.m. and stood on her seat so she could address her cheering crowd of fans.
“This book is for you and I’m giving back what you have given to me in terms of the things you write or Tweet or the questions you ask,” Frankel told the crowd. “As I wrote in my book, you’ve got to be in it to win it.”
Fans from throughout the area spoke adoringly about Frankel and praised her for her candor and for being genuine. Michele Wyllie of Naperville said she admired Frankel’s self-made success and said she was a person who “empowered women.”
“I’ve seen her many times on TV and she’s built this empire even though she came from nothing,” Wyllie said. “Her ‘product’ is that she’s made it. She touches on everything and I think she offers legitimate advice and is a person who has come a long way.”
Mary Kay Mangiarelli of Aurora said she believes Frankel’s new book, which offers advice from lifestyle and family management issues to making time to pamper ourselves, will be a useful tool in today’s busy world.
“I think this will be a good read, and my own life is busy but hers is even more so and she offers these tips about how to put it all together,” Mangiarelli said. “I think she is very authentic. She talks about the good and the bad and the ugly. I don’t think she is a private and public ‘person’ but very genuine.”
Peoria’s Jenny Gedraitis said she has followed Frankel’s career since she appeared on the original “Apprentice” program also believes the best-selling author is very “real.”
“I feel like I am drawn to her because she is someone who puts it all out there,” Gedraitis said. “That is what is appealing about books that are sort of these ‘how to’ guides.”
Gina Gaizo of North Aurora called Frankel “my little sister” and said she feels like the two of them are “kindred spirits.”
“We were both born on the same day and we both come from Jewish heritage and were born in New York,” Gaizo said. “Like me, she kind of has this twisted sense of humor and she has inspired me to be more. I like to be around her because I want to catch a little of the light. There are these people that have this glow around them and when you stand by them you hope you might catch a little of that energy.”
Chicago resident Christopher Nedbeck was rather conspicuous as he was perhaps the only male in line to see the celebrity. Nedbeck admitted he has actually met Frankel before.
“I was sick two years ago, and I credit my getting well as a result of her ideas and the inspiration she gave me,” Nedbeck said. “Her books and her shows really helped and I’m grateful she has been a part of my journey. I met her a year ago at an event at Binny’s and I actually won a ticket to see her tonight at a cocktail party downtown in Chicago. She’s been a consistent role model for me.”