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Books > Literature & Fiction > Women's Fiction > Contemporary Women > B00R19XCXK
  1. Pretty Is: A Novel
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  2. Pretty Is: A Novel

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    Customer Ratings (120 reviews)
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"[A] stunning, multilayered debut . . . . with a great deal of intelligent, beautifully written panache. . . . What a satisfying novel, with its shifting perspectives and competing stories and notion that our relationship to the truth changes with time and distance." -The New York Times

A fiercely imagined fiction debut in which two young women face what happened the summer they were twelve, when a handsome stranger abducted them

Everyone thought we were dead. We were missing for nearly two months; we were twelve. What else could they think? -Lois

It's always been hard to talk about what happened without sounding all melodramatic. . . . Actually, I haven't mentioned it for years, not to a goddamned person. -Carly May

The summer precocious Lois and pretty Carly May were twelve years old, they were kidnapped, driven across the country, and held in a cabin in the woods for two months by a charismatic stranger. Nearly twenty years later, Lois has become a professor, teaching British literature at a small college in upstate New York, and Carly May is an actress in Los Angeles, drinking too much and struggling to revive her career. When a movie with a shockingly familiar plot draws the two women together once more, they must face the public exposure of their secret history and confront the dark longings and unspeakable truths that haunt them still. Maggie Mitchell's Pretty Is beautifully defies ripped-from-the-headlines crime story expectations and announces the debut of a masterful new storytelling talent.

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Maggie Mitchell
Kindle Edition
Kindle eBook
Henry Holt and Co.
Henry Holt and Co.
Henry Holt and Co.
Henry Holt and Co.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews

It isn't often that I feel compelled to write a review of a book that I have read but in the case of the debut novel, Pretty Is by Maggie Mitchell, I am eager to say that it is exceptional! The author deftly explores the psychological complexities inherent in the struggles of the two female protagonists, Lois and Carly May (Chloe), as they attempt to come to terms with the signal event that occurred during the summer they were twelve. As the Amazon summary suggests and as others have noted, the story alternates in voice and time and involves the kidnapping of young girls by an enigmatic stranger, focusing on that event's influence on their lives. Mitchell infuses the novel with a tension and an eerie sense of foreboding that plays out in the eventual intersection of the girls' lives seventeen years later when their indivually experienced memories begin to be voiced by the twenty-nine year old women they have become. Mitchell's characters are richly textured, and the thoughts and... Read more
Ms Mitchell's story is fabulous while being wholly mundane, matter of fact. While reading, I scribbled many notes on how delightfully original and entertaining I found various angles, developments, characterizations. I loved it. It never bored me. And the resolution, no matter how unlikely, works because the plotting and pacing are so well developed. Some reviewers take issue with the author, feeling that she failed to explain or present the full story. I felt that a very significant value of the story's development was that the author left us with an appreciation of the complexity of what these two girls experienced during their abduction by a man whom they grew to love, which was in itself a wound that they never quite can explain or resolve, but both see in each other. I felt that the author brought a profound sensitivity and articulation to the development of this circumstance and that while the story focuses tightly on these two children in that circumstance with their... Read more
Two young girls, strangers to each other, are not-so-randomly grabbed off the streets and held in an isolated cabin by a charismatic kidnapper. There's plenty of tension and surprise on the way to the conclusion of their captivity, and nothing lurid or graphic to upset the sensitive reader --- just smart writing. Fast-forward to adulthood: now in their 30's, the women are both a bit atilt psychologically. Neither has developed a lasting romantic relationship, or has a lot of friends. The two haven't been in touch with each other for twenty years, but then one of them, a college professor short on common sense, writes a thinly-disguised novel about the kidnapping. When the book leads to a movie, the other young woman, now a B-list actress drowning her fading career in alcohol, is offered a part in the film. Dramatic plot twists ensue, but most satisfying is the way the author pulls us into the emotional connection between the two women, and surfaces their ambivalent feelings about the... Read more
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