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Pretty Is: A Novel by Maggie Mitchell
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Pretty Is: A Novel

by Maggie Mitchell

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1292494,050 (2.93)4
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Showing 1-5 of 25 (next | show all)
This is an intriguing story, with a lot to like. It's not one of my favorite books ever, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. There's something to be said about the story-within-a-story, quasi-meta of it all that lifts the book up to a better than average level; don't let the rating fool you, the 3 stars are more based on my actual enjoyment rather than the quality of the story. ( )
  majesdane | Aug 8, 2017 |
This was a great idea for a novel. Two girls are abducted and kept in a remote cabin for over a month. They are eventually 'rescued' by the authorities and return to their families to resume their lives. It's a really interesting idea but for me it just didn't work. I found the book unrealistic and tiresome. Zed was an interesting character but I didn't feel we found out enough about him. I didn't particular warm to either Carly-May or Lois and I really wasn't sure why Sean was in the book at all. I did persevere and finish it and it did get a little more pace towards the end but I'm afraid it just wasn't for me. ( )
  angelaoatham | Feb 21, 2017 |
This is not your ordinary abduction tale. The truth mingles with re-invention and obfuscation. ‘Pretty Is’ is a promising debut by Maggie Mitchell, a study in memory, an examination of our ability to move on from difficult experiences, and how today’s celebrity culture makes it impossible to avoid the past.
Two 12-year old girls – Louis and Carly May - go missing in separate incidents, they are assumed dead. This is the story of their abduction, their life with their abductor Zed, and more importantly their life afterwards. But is what we are reading the true story, a lie, an embroidered version of what happened, or total fiction?
The story of the girls is told in tandem with what is happening to the adult women today. Both girls tried to move on but inevitably they felt cut off from everyone else so, as adults, they re-invented their pasts, their names, their identities. And so, page by page, the true story of what happened to Lois and Carly May is told. Or is it? Which of the girls is the most reliable story-teller?
Carly May becomes actress Chloe Savage, Lois is a university lecturer but also writes novels under a pseudonym. Both are hiding from the cult of celebrity enabled by the internet’s ability to archive old news, true news, mis-reported news.
Things hot-up when Lois writes a thinly-veiled fictionalised account of their abduction. The novel is made into a film, inevitably Carly May is cast as a detective. The film brings the two women together for the first time and, as well as facing the after effects of their abduction, they must deal with a stalker, Sean, a student too interested in Lois’s background.
Some questions are left unanswered. The motivations of Zed in particular are sketchy. And although there is no doubting the connection forged between the two 12-year old girls, they do seem to accept their abduction rather apathetically.
Read more of my book reviews at http://www.sandradanby.com/book-reviews-a-z/ ( )
  Sandradan1 | May 8, 2016 |
I wanted to like this book, except the idea of the plot is much more exciting than the execution. It starts off promising enough with a reveal from the past promised and a present day thriller forming. However, I found the plotlines dropped prematurely and I eventually became tired with them. The book-within-a-book episode is simply a blocked off section in the middle and while I enjoyed that part, that's also where the promise of any further excitement left. The rest of the book was predictable and decidedly not thrilling. It was readable though and I stuck with it to see the characters through to the end still I was underwhelmed by the conclusion. ( )
  ElizaJane | Nov 28, 2015 |
The premise is much more exciting than the actual book. Lois and Carly May are abducted when they are 12 and held for several weeks in a cabin in the Adirondack Mountains. The kidnapper kills himself when the police finally find them. However, the girls are fine and nothing bad has happened to them from this experience, as unbelievable as that is. The girls part ways and find themselves drawn together after one of them writes a book based on their kidnapping that is later made into a movie. Carly May, with a changed name, is one of the actresses in the film. There is a lot of analysis of the event and how it affected the girls through the years, but very little action. It is an interesting read, but hardly a thriller. ( )
  Susan.Macura | Nov 26, 2015 |
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For my father, Homer Mitchell, and in memory of my mother, Susan Reid Mitchell
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Everyone thought we were dead.
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