Pretty Is by Maggie Mitchell
Book Review – 3 stars
I may be a bit too generous in giving this book 3 stars as overall I was disappointed in it. I’ve read that it’s a daring thriller. I didn’t find anything thrilling or suspenseful about it. I’ve read that this book can be compared to Lionel Shriver’s “We Need to Talk About Kevin” and the author has been compared to Dennis Lehane. There’s no comparison.
I found the book to be confusing as on one hand, it strikes out against beauty pageants held for young girls with the make-up, sexy clothing and provocative pouts. And yet women are depicted as corrupt and evil elsewhere in the book. There’s a female rape counsellor who blames young female students for getting raped because of what they wear to parties. There quite a lot of inconsistencies in this book and I’m not sure what the author was actually trying to say in parts of it. There are many questions raised in the book that are never resolved. I usually don’t mind that if it’s done correctly but this book just left me feeling unsatisfied. I kept waiting for something to happen that would pull it together but it never got there for me.
I did enjoy the part about the two girls and their kidnapper during their time together. It was interesting to see the reaction of the girls and their growing connection to their kidnapper. However, all of that section was included as a book written by one of the girls when she grows up, a book that supposedly includes many lies, so even as you’re reading this interesting part of the book, you don’t know if it’s true or not. I found the meeting of the two girls as adults to be very strange as they never even discussed the questions that they had kept asking themselves all those years after the abduction. It seemed very unrealistic.
I think the story itself was good but I think the characterization and psychological impact of the abduction could have been dealt with better.
I won this book in a LibraryThing giveaway with the understanding that I would give an honest review.