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Such A Pretty Face by Cathy Lamb

Such A Pretty Face (edition 2010)

by Cathy Lamb

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1431083,804 (3.79)2
Title:Such A Pretty Face
Authors:Cathy Lamb
Info:Kensington (2010), Edition: 1, Paperback, 352 pages
Collections:Your library, Unfinished
Tags:2012, fiction, L

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Such A Pretty Face by Cathy Lamb



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Found this on a book exchange shelf, and took it to possibly register for BookCrossing. After reading, I noticed the book had a Charleston County Public Library inventory sticker and no "discard" stamp, which was odd for something on a book give-away shelf. So, good citizen (and sometimes-library volunteer) that I am, I checked with circulation. Sure enough, the book has been marked "lost" since 2014, and the lose-ee has already paid to replace it. It's a little tattered and battered, with indications that it may have been to the beach or stuffed in a backpack since going missing, but all pages were intact. I wonder what adventures it had while on walk-about.

As to the story itself, I liked it. Lamb has chosen to explore a number of illnesses of the mind, and done it in a loving and thoughtful manner. Almost all central characters are wounded, but not in a "poor pitiful me" way. The exploration of coming back to health (for the main character) after PTSD and after a gastric bypass (and other health issues) was so beautifully handled. What also resonated with me was the artistic expression of so many of the characters, growing into self through art, whether it be knitting, drawing, making chairs, or planting a garden. It's not often that I get teary reading a book, but there was a moment in this one, where the author had me laughing, and my eyes tearing up as my heart swelled, at the same moment. Nice.

Tags: bookcrossing, didn-t-want-to-put-it-down, i-liked-it, made-me-look-something-up, read, read-in-2015, thank-you-charleston-county-library, thought-provoking, what-s-another-name-for-chick-lit, will-look-for-more-by-this-author ( )
  bookczuk | May 20, 2015 |
This will be a, largely, negative review. I just couldn't enjoy the book (I will get into why I say "couldn't" instead of "didn't" a bit later). The good things first- I liked the story line and the ideas behind it. I liked the abstract of the book- Stevie, her coworkers and her family. Her struggle to accept her new body. The execution is what I had a problem with.
I liked the good characters. It is impossible not to. The author paints them as such good, wonderful, and kindhearted people that you would have to be without a heart or brain to dislike them. She tells you over and over how good they are- sure she does show you how good they are (remember telling vs showing when writing?) but in between the showing, she interjects and tells you too. The bad characters are so thoroughly evil and bigoted it is unbelievable- and there are so many of them in Stevie's life. Her best friend might be the worst because we are suppose to believe that her cruelty stems from her jealousy (the author tells us as much) but it comes out that she has always been a terrible person (which undermines the whole jealousy angle). These characters are good vs evil- their is no grey (except for Stevie's mentally ill mother who gets a pass considering that she was so tortured mentally).
The result, of these contrasting characters, is that The reader is incapable of misinterpreting the characters because they (we) are never given a chance to interpret them. The characters actions don't speak louder then the authors words. Everything is explained, even during passages with heavy dialog, when information can be written in, the author is cutting in and explaining the reasoning behind the characters actions/words. The story is narrated by the main character, Stevie, so I guess you can say that Stevie interjects and explains everything (weather it needs explaining or not) except it doesn't feel like it is Stevie. I counted three times (3!!!- but their may have been more) where the readers are referred to as "folks", usually it's after one of Stevie's proclamations/observations (sometimes they are a page long or longer) that an extra sentence with "folks" is thrown in to sum it up. It took me completely out of the story.
There was even a part where the author Stevie stated out right that her garden was a metaphor for her life. I wanted to see the garden grow as Stevie grew but all we get are some scenes with her garden (insisting that she can't grow corn) and the author telling us that it stands for Stevie's life. And there was a part where Lance, Stevie's cousin (good guy), is telling her that he had a graphic designer make the invitations for his mother (Stevie's aunt- good) and his father's (BAD) anniversary dinner. He used the same graphic design for the invitations to his blowup doll buisness' launch party- a party that takes place the night after the anniversary party. Now I could see where this was going- and I was looking forward to it (an invitation mix-up in case you missed it). But the author proceeded to drop hints about what was going to happen instead of just letting it happen naturally.
I felt like I couldn't enjoy the book because the author wouldn't allow me to just read the story. She kept trying to make points without letting it come out naturally. When we learn that Stevie's cousin has an eating disorder (anorexia) we are told that their issues stem from the same problem- they both want some control. I would like to be able to see that for myself. unfortunately this book, which could have been amazing, doesn't reach it's potential because it lacks subtlety. People are never completely good, or completely bad we all have sides. Lamb doesn't show those sides and the book suffers. ( )
  Rebecca790 | Sep 21, 2013 |
I'm done reading Cathy Lamb... as I've stated before, she uses a ridiculous amount of blatant foreshadowing that only pisses me off as I'm reading.

( )
  TeenieLee | Apr 3, 2013 |
Okay I absolutely love this author! I fall in love with all of her characters and am sad at the end of each book. Stevie Barret is a former fat person having undergone gastric bypass after having a heart attack. She is also dealing with her very troubled childhood. Her mother was schizophrenic and the ramification for Stevie were horrific. A terrible past, but a lovely story. I can't wait for her next book to come out! ( )
  Brenda63 | Dec 8, 2012 |
I enjoyed this, but....wow...the characters were...over the top. Caricatures. The bad guys were really bad, the good guys were really good and the problems they had were EPIC. Every one of them......

Which leaves me thinking that I don't know if I want to read any more of Lamb's books, if they are all going to be so over the top in their characterizations.... ( )
  srearley | Nov 22, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0758229550, Paperback)

In this warm, funny, thoroughly candid novel, acclaimed author Cathy Lamb introduces an unforgettable heroine who's half the woman she used to be, and about to find herself for the first time...Two years and 170 pounds ago, Stevie Barrett was wheeled into an operating room for surgery that most likely saved her life. Since that day, a new Stevie has emerged, one who walks without wheezing, plants a garden for self-therapy, and builds and paints fantastical wooden chairs. At thirty-five, Stevie is the one thing she never thought she'd be: thin. But for everything that's changed, some things remain the same. Stevie's shyness refuses to melt away. She still can't look her neighbours' gorgeous great-nephew in the eye. The Portland law office where she works remains utterly dysfunctional, as does her family - the aunt, uncle, and cousins who took her in when she was a child. To top it off, her once supportive best friend clearly resents her weight loss. By far the biggest challenge in Stevie's new life lies in figuring out how to define her new self. Collaborating with her cousins to plan her aunt and uncle's problematic fortieth anniversary party, Stevie starts to find some surprising answers - about who she is, who she wants to be, and how the old Stevie evolved in the first place. And with each revelation, she realizes the most important part of her transformation may not be what she's lost, but the courage and confidence she's gathering, day by day.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:16 -0400)

Stevie Barrett is a 35-year-old legal secretary in Portland. She's also literally half the woman she used to be. Bariatric surgery melted 150 pounds off her frame, and life is looking up. However, Stevie's svelte physique carries its own baggage.

(summary from another edition)

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