Saturday, October 2, 2010

Book Review: Such a Pretty Girl by Laura Weiss

Title: Such a Pretty Girl

Author: Laura Weiss

Pages: I don't know, I returned my copy...

Received from: friend.


They promised Meredith nine years of safety, but only gave her three.

Her father was supposed to be locked up until Meredith turned eighteen. She thought she had time to grow up, get out, and start a new life. But Meredith is only fifteen, and today her father is coming home from prison.

Today her time has run out.

This is sad.

This is really, really sad.

Coming from me, this is saying something.

I'm the girl who rolled my eyes when Jack told Rose to go out and make some babies. Threw popcorn at the screen when Liam Neeson looked down in contemplation at Shindler's grave. Barked in fury when Snape whacked Dumbledore out the window. I am a professional cynic, forever seeing through the thin layers of self pity surrounding all Tyra show guests, all breast cancer surivors, all of the stalked and heartbroken. I am not easily impressed. And Such a Pretty Girl impressed me.

In so few words, Weiss works this crazy magic of making a book about something so horrible readable--and not just readable. Engrossing in this way that you can't possibly imagine a time when you were completly opposed to reading it. That's the thing about Such a Pretty Girl; you don't want to read it because it's about things that have either been done to death or are just too taboo to acknowledge. I don't even know why I read it in the first place. But I did, and I loved it, so shut up.

Meredith is angry. You catch on to this right away. The way she speaks, the way she thinks, the way she interacts with people is just so furious. She is not the victim who wilts at the prospect of human interaction. Nor is she the rebellious trouble-maker who has to snarl at anyone who looks at her funny. She's just trying to survive, and she's angry that she has to. Which, I think, is just a lovely way to write a character.

But yeah, she's pissed. Her father's coming out of jail and moving into the condo right across from the one her and her mother share. Her mother is blinded by a love someone could only develop when the object of her affections slept with her when she was twelve. Which is gross. Because twelve year olds creep me out in general. Especially when they're fucking eighteen year olds. Ew.

Seriously, the main issue here is Meredith's mother, who's a frikken idiot, who's letting this asshat back into her daughter's life even though he was tried and convicted of child abuse. I think it depends on the interpretation of the reader, but the mother came across to me as very black-and-white. Not one of those, you know, beaten wives who has nowhere else to go and all that. She's very selfish, and I think Weiss embraces this aspect of her character as more of a plot device then anything, just to illustrate how alone Meredith is. Selfish, maybe stupid, maybe crazy-in-love, maybe desperate. Who knows, who cares, she sucks and I wanted to punch her in the face with a set of iron knuckles.

Meredith's only way of coping with the bullshit that is her fucktard parents is her parapelligic boyfriend who lives in the same complex she does, and who also happens to be another of her father's victims. He and his mother are Religious--the type that would make a pilgrimage through two states to see a man who could, perhaps, make him walk again; a Jesus type, who soaks up the misery of others. Which is both fascinating and really, really stupid. But then, my mom's Jewish.

This boyfriend is, for lack of a better word, fascinating. It's implied more then once that he could have, in fact, walked after his post-graduation accident, had he had the motivation. But the thing is, after he was molested by Meredith's father he started getting into fights at school, jumping off tall buildings, riding around in motorcycles and hanging out of car windows. He acted like someone who didn't care if he lived, and this behavior branches out into his wheelchaired-state. He and Meredith sort of need each other, for very different reasons, yes, but they do and I'm not sure if that makes a healthy relationship but it damn well seems to work for them.

I don't care for "issue" books. I don't like the idea of someone writing an entire, full length novel just to preach the importance of one thing or another. Kids are bombarded with that type of shit at school every day. But I do like good books, that just happen to involve "issues" and in that aspect, Such a Pretty Girl wins like Paris Hilton at a hot dog eating contest.

Rating: 10--perfect for what it is.


Miss Morbid said...

Sounds very good. I love your reviews especially how your not ashamed of language. I like that! It gives book reviewing a fresh twist on your blog!

Mr Lonely said...

nice blog.. have a view of my blog when free.. .. do leave me some comment / guide if can.. if interested can follow my blog...

Angiegirl said...

This book completely surprised me as well. I was invested from page one and I think it's basically a perfect piece of literature. That ending... :)

Greengreenandpink said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Greengreenandpink said...

I thought your mother was an atheist...?

D Swizzle said...

miss morbid--you should hear my in real life. classy i am not ;)

mr lonely--um, im good.

angiegirl--the ending was brilliant. a lot of people didn't like it but i just thought it was PERFECT.

greengreenandpink--she is...?

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