Wednesday, March 14, 2012
So Much Pretty by Cara Hoffman
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publish Date: March 15, 2011
I received this book from the publisher in return for an honest review.
SO MUCH PRETTY is a mystery and a thriller. But it's not the kind where the events could never happen. It's the kind where you hope they never happen to YOUR family, but we read about them all too frequently. This novel is not YA, but still something I can see YA readers picking up to read as they get older. I would recommend this one only for the oldest of the group. There's swearing, sex, violence and general human atrocities.
A small town girl disappears, only to reappear months later...dead...less than a mile from her apartment. She's a nice girl, just got her own apartment, waitresses, graduated a couple years ago, just began dating the well-to-do son of the local dairy farmer. When she disappears, the townspeople insist it had to be a drifter, it couldn't possibly be one of them.
There's three main voices in this book:
Wendy - the missing girl. The chapters from Wendy are few and far between, but are hard hitting.
Stacy Flynn - Reporter/Editor of the local paper. She came from the big city as she's sure she's going to find her big story out here in the boonies.
Alice Piper - 15 yo genius daughter of hippie parents who were doctors in NYC and moved her to live off the land and be part of the community. However, the community still considers them outsiders and weirdos after all these years. But people like Alice, she's smart, athletic, friendly.
The characters are interesting, as is the story. However, I had to concentrate while reading it. There's a lot going on - jumping viewpoints, lots of undercurrents politically and within the community. I felt like the only character I really got to know was Stacy Flynn, and then still only on the surface. Alice, although apparently filled with moral outrage, seemed entirely to calculating and aloof. Wendy - there wasn't enough for me to feel anything more than sorrow for a wasted life. I wanted to connect with her, to care about her, but she seemed to be more of a vehicle of the story than someone that really mattered.
I really felt like too much time and detail was spent on Alice's parents - what they did in the past, what they're doing now, their political thoughts and ideals. Also the dairy farm issues about contaminating the water supply - which was brought up and never mentioned again. It seemed like not that much mattered. I know that her parents influenced Alice, but it seemed that they influenced her in a way that they didn't mean to...as it may be with a lot of parents. I felt like some of that space could have been used to make me see Wendy more clearly.
I'm not really sure how I feel about this book. Have you read it? What do you think?