Book Review: Pretty Is by Maggie Mitchell

Pretty IsWhat’s it about?

Lois and Carly-May are just twelve years old when they’re abducted, driven across the country, and imprisoned in a remote, isolated hunting lodge for two months. That summer, under the watchful gaze of their kidnapper, they form a bond which will never be broken . . .

Decades later, both Lois and Carly-May have built new lives and identities for themselves. Lois, a professor of literature, is shaken when an obsessive student reminds her of the man who kidnapped her, a man she saw shoot himself on the porch twenty years before.

Out in LA, Carly-May is drinking too much and watching her beauty-queen looks fade, clinging to the last remnants of a once-promising career as an actress. When she reads a shockingly familiar screenplay, she warily she takes a role she knows is based on events from her own life.
Increasingly haunted by the devastating experience that shaped both their lives, Lois and Carly-May are drawn together again in a world that both echoes and falsifies their beautiful, terrible story. 

My thoughts

I’d seen this book doing the rounds on social media and was pleased to be accepted for a review copy from the publishers; many thanks. Unfortunately it just wasn’t for me. It’s a shame I didn’t get on with it because it did have real potential.

The book is a kind of examination of the psychological impact of ‘kidnapping’; a term I use lightly and the impact an experience like this has years after the fact. It would be easier for me to review this book as a list of unanswered questions because overall things just didn’t add up.

>> I never understood the girl’s behaviour and reactions; were they that far removed from their home lives that this was a better option? But they were twelve…how could they possibly have not been out of their minds about the situation they were in rather than sit back and behave like they were at summer camp? This was not survival instinct; this was ludicrous to be fair.

>> What were the kidnapper’s motives and intentions? How did he pick the girls in the first place and why? This was never gotten to the bottom of.

>> What did Lois’ stalker want and how did he know what he knew? In the bigger picture, would it really have mattered if he revealed his info anyway?

This is one of those books that would make a really good book club read because you could have a really good discussion thrashing out all the possibilities, answers and outcomes.

Don’t go into this expecting a fast paced thriller…more like Swiss cheese…full of holes.

Links: Goodreads | Amazon

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