This could possibly be one of the most confusing, way too much going on books I've read in a minute. Had the author eliminated some of the character background and given more detailed story lines, I probably would have rated it higher than three purple chairs. It was an okay read, but not great. Here's why.
So Much Pretty is set in small town Haeden, New York. Big city (if you can call Cleveland the big city) reporter Stacy Flynn has moved there looking for her big break. The disappearance of Wendy White could very well be the break she's been looking for.
Wendy White has never dreamed of leaving her small farm community. While her classmates couldn't wait to escape Haeden after high school graduation, she's content to stay and work as a waitress at a local restaurant. Overlooked by most, she begins to attract attention when she loses weight, attracting a man many would consider the best catch in town.
Fifteen year old Alice Piper has been raised by two doctors that checked out of city living for the slower pace of Haeden. Being raised with few boundaries and encouraged to explore her own passions, Alice is loved by all, though everyone in town agrees that there's just something about her that's a little different. And that includes her parents. Alice doesn't miss much and when Wendy White goes missing, Haeden's newly appointed Harriet the Spy discovers what happened to her.
So what we have is three women tied together loosely. Wendy's disappearance is the trigger for Stacy's newspaper articles, which are the trigger for Alice's research and subsequent actions. So every action has a reaction, yada yada yada. I was there for that story line, loved the way it worked out. But what I wasn't there for was all the background on Alice's parents and their friends. Alice's school papers? Totally unnecessary.
I also felt slighted by lack of details surrounding the whole Wendy White situation. For as much background as Hoffman gave us about Alice Piper, she failed to go into detail about why Wendy was victimized. In fact, it felt like everyone in the book was treated better than Wendy, by the characters and by the author. Overall, I just think this could have been a much better book than it was.
Published: March 2011
Theme: Suzanne by Dianne Reeves