April 29, 2011

So Much Pretty by Cara Hoffman

I'm really struggling to find the words for how I feel about this book. I'm also struggling to write a review without first going back and reading the book a second time, but I'm going to try to give you an honest review from my first read because I may feel different after I've put the story all together.

A key to this book is that it is contemporary fiction. It's written in a style that I can only relate back to the movie Momento, except the story is being told from the point of view of dozens of people instead of one. The story is told in small pieces that take you forward and backward, up and down, as you try to piece together where each individual piece fits into the bigger puzzle. The book is divided into small "chapters," that skip among numerous characters in the book. Some characters who seemingly don't add a thing, but I'm sure again on my second read, I'd find those characters were actually game-changers. Some of the chapters have years, some of them don't. Some of them are supposed audio recordings where you can only hear one side of the conversation, some are letters, and some are third-person narratives recounting memories. And though at times it doesn't seem like it, all of those pieces somehow add up to one thrilling story.

The only thing I can tell you about the plot without giving anything away is that the story overall is centered around three girls - Wendy, Alice, and Stacy Flynn. The three lived in the same community and were physically just acquaintances but emotionally, somehow connected on a deeper level. And all three in their own way stood for and did what they thought was right, even if society would have chosen a different path.

I will say that this book was one of the most surprising, thrilling, and unique that I've read in a really long time. As many of the reviews on Amazon put it, it was one of the ugliest books I've ever read but incredible at the same time. I wish I could give it five stars and would except for the ugly "F" word that kept coming up throughout the book. For that one reason I can't recommend it to everyone but if you like contemporary lit and that's not something that bothers you, So Much Pretty is definitely a book to read. If for no other reason, to remember the beauty of being truly and utterly surprised and shocked by a book.

This is Cara Hoffman's debut novel, and I will definitely be picking up whatever she decides to write next.

I was provided with a free copy of this book for review purposes. This review is my honest opinion.

1 comment:

  1. I find that when we read books that are sometimes so good and detailed that shairing a review that doesn't give away too much is REALLY hard! I think you did a really good job, because I'm intrigued to read this book! Thanks for sharing :)


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