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Pretty Ugly: A Novel by Kirker Butler

Pretty Ugly: A Novel

by Kirker Butler

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Pretty Ugly wants to be a satire but, by the end, it's more horror than humor. Every character and every aspect of the story is pushed too far and the result is, appropriately enough, pretty ugly.

Note: this review is based on an ARC from the publlisher ( )
  astraplain | Jun 24, 2015 |
A really light, fun read centered in part in the cutthroat world of beauty pageants for little girls and the extremes the contestant's mothers go to for their little princesses. This novel is much more than this as a side story develops as the father in the family has an affair with a slightly under aged girl and the complications this brings to the mix, This book speaks volumes about American's passion to get their moment of celebrity no matter what they have to do to get it. This would make a very funny movie with the right casting. ( )
  muddyboy | Jun 11, 2015 |
  KelMunger | May 1, 2015 |
Pretty Ugly is a very apt name for this novel. If you like reality shows like Honey BooBoo or movies like Drop Dead Gorgeous, this may be a book that is right up your alley. It is claimed to be a satirical look into pageants, but I have a feeling that there is more truth to these observations of childrens pageants than there is satire.

Sometimes this book was captivating in a ‘if you can’t say something nice about someone come sit by me’ sort of way and other times it was just horrid. Ray and his drugs. What was the author thinking of when he made Ray an indiscriminant drug addict? I found this to be almost too much and at times I was almost hoping that Ray would just OD and leave the world a better place.

If you do manage to read this book long enough there is a HEA of sorts and frankly it made the whole thing worth reading. Ray and Miranda are having a baby and they know it is a girl. This is Miranda’s second chance at having a pageant Princess and she is thrilled…until the baby is born (if I say anything more about the baby I will spoil the book for you). Luckily at this point in the book (the ending) makes up for everything that was annoying earlier.

Unfortunately, you will find that there are too many threads in this book that are never tied up; just left unfinished, and that may leave you wondering…or maybe like me, you just won’t care.

I did manage to finish this though if that says anything! ( )
  Cats57 | Apr 2, 2015 |
I received a paperback ARC copy of this book on February 6, 2015 through a giveaway on GoodReads.com and I’ve waited until today to post my honest opinion of the book.

For anyone who has watched “Family Guy” often this is something you would expect coming from the writer and producer of this show, who is also the author of this book.

To understand this book better one needs to know the highly satirical nature of the author’s Emmy nominated animated television show. There is no topic in it which hasn’t been gone after such as the American south, gross religious fanaticism, etc.

Having been raised in Kentucky, where this story takes place, the author has probably remembered the all the fuss which had occurred regarding beauty pageants as he was growing up coupled with the documentaries we’ve seen on cable, and decided to write a book about it. If one looks hard enough some of individuals in the story shared some of characteristics of those in “Family Guy.”

Satire is a highly individualistic genre of writing, while some individuals who read this book will laugh out loud, others might find the stereotypes in the book overly exaggerated and the writing at times devoid of any humor.

The title of the book, “Pretty Ugly”, is, in my opinion, the oxymoronic personification of the story itself. And given my level of satirical understanding and appreciation, I’m happy to this book 4 STARS. ( )
  MyPenNameOnly | Mar 31, 2015 |
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"From a writer/producer of Family Guy, a satirical look at a dysfunctional southern family complete with an overbearing stage mom, a 9 year-old pageant queen, a cheating husband, his teenage girlfriend, a crazy grandmother, and Jesus. After eight-and-a-half years and three hundred twenty-three pageants, Miranda Miller has become the ultimate stage mother. Her mission in life is to see that her nine-year-old daughter, Bailey, continues to be one of the most successful child pageant contestants in the southern United States. But lately, that mission has become increasingly difficult. Bailey wants to retire and has been secretly binge eating to make herself "unpageantable;" and the reality show Miranda has spent years trying to set up just went to their biggest rival. But Miranda has a plan. She's seven months pregnant with her fourth child, a girl (thank God), and she is going to make damn sure this one is even more successful than Bailey, even if the new girl is a little different. Miranda's husband, Ray, however, doesn't have time for pageants. A full-time nurse, Ray spends his days at the hospital where he has developed a habit of taking whatever pills happen to be lying around. His nights are spent working hospice and dealing with Courtney, the seventeen-year-old orphan granddaughter of one of his hospice patients who he has, regrettably, knocked up. With a pregnant wife, a pregnant teenage mistress, two jobs, a drug hobby, and a mountain of debt, Ray is starting to take desperate measures to find some peace. Meanwhile, the Millers' two sons are being homeschooled by Miranda's mother, Joan (pronounced Jo-Ann), a God-fearing widow who spends her free time playing cards and planning a murder with Jesus. Yes, Jesus. A bright new voice in satirical literature, Kirker Butler pulls no punches as he dissects our culture's current state of affairs. It's really funny, but it's also pretty ugly"--… (more)

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