Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — Pretty Is by Maggie Mitchell. 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? Actually, I haven' 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.
Actually, I haven't mentioned it for years, not to a goddamned person. 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. Hardcover , pages. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Pretty Is , please sign up. Lists with This Book. Jan 08, karen rated it liked it Shelves: For me, getting abducted in broad daylight on the main street of a nowhere little farm town in Nebraska was far from the most fucked-up thing that could have happened that day.
View all 28 comments. Pretty is as pretty does. Part mystery, but mainly psychological, this novel swept me off my feet with its strikingly original concept and scene detailing. The further I read, the more I started wanting things. But the problem with anticipation building is that everything can crumble if you do not end up satisfied.
And who did not end up satisfied in t Pretty is as pretty does. And who did not end up satisfied in that department? It is only natural that I expected the two main heroines — Lois and Carly — whom share a deep and half-revealed past, to come together and try to find answers as a team.
Or whatever they wanted to do. And they were, sure they were. In the last 40 pages and less. There were four parts to this story and, in each one of them, I hoped Lois and Carly would find their way to one another. My conclusion is that, while I understand why they both lost touch, the author should have found a way to make them meet up again earlier in the story.
That, I did not like. And they barely talked about their kidnapper! What about our trepidation to know the truth, the whys, the hows? Was there even a reason? In spite of the negatives, I overall enjoyed it. There was too much stuff in this to be thoroughly developed in pages — after all, we did have three extremely complex characters — but I think the author nicely and clearly enough exploited her choice of subjects; it was not only a story of abduction.
It was much more than that. View all 13 comments. Jul 11, Brigid Keely rated it it was ok Shelves: It also hates women just enough, in just enough socially acceptable ways, that I checked to see if this was written by a man using a female pseudonym. Of course, both girls fell in love with him, and after their return to their parents have remained obsessed with him and have shaped their lives according to what he wanted them to do. I should mention that he abducted them by driving up next to them in his car and inviting them to get in.
They weren't being abused at home and trying to escape. They weren't starving or cold or abandoned. One had a shitty stepmom and a father she loved, one had distant parents. And they just get into a car and cooperate with their kidnapper and never try to escape. Because, as television without pity would say, It's In The Script! Their captor, of course, doesn't hurt them in any way. He doesn't tie them up or hit them or threaten them or molest them or even lock them up for very long.
When they violate rules he's established nothing happens to them. A woman who heads up a rape counseling center blames female college students for being raped because they go to frat parties in lingerie and togas. Women are just so corrupt and evil. Anyway, whenever the kidnapper is mentioned, it's like there's a flashing NotAllKidnappers hashtag. He's a GOOD one! There's a few brief moments when he loses his temper and we see the girls trying to placate him, and those brief moments feel edgy and real, but they are extremely fleeting and really don't explain why they go along with him, why they stay, why they don't care about their homes and families.
The central character, who is a college professor who is publishing a book about kidnappings in Victorian literature which makes sense given her past also published a thriller based on her experience. She keeps this hidden because it's "shameful" which doesn't make sense. Many of my favorite authors work in academia as teachers or professors, and have published fiction. It's not a secret, it's not shameful. She wrote the novel while working on her thesis and kept that a secret so she wouldn't get into trouble.
Yet most people working on theses have side projects to keep them sane, ranging from writing fiction to playing MMPORGs to tabletop games to hiking to whatever. Her book was optioned and is being made into a movie, but it's also apparently hard to find and not in print? Because that makes sense? When she has problems with a male student stalking her, she turns to a female professor for help, who doesn't listen to her or believe her and dismisses the kid as a "good student" and implies it's HER fault.
Because, remember, all women are catty bitches.
After being turned down by a boy her age, sixteen-year-old Honey, the daughter of a religious family in a small Southern town, turns her interests to Leander. Start by marking “Pretty Is” as Want to Read: Maggie Mitchell has published short fiction in a number of literary magazines, including the New Ohio Review, American Literary Review, and Green Mountains Review. Pretty Is is her first novel.
Don't forget how corrupt and evil women are. As the stalking escalates, she does nothing to protect herself. She meets with the dude, becomes obsessed with him. The writing becomes especially ham-handed. It's a small town and other people see them meeting and assume they're fucking because of COURSE when a woman has complained that a dude is stalking and threatening her and then meets him privately it's because they're fucking WHY NOT. She frets about nobody liking her, but also doesn't go out often, and when she meets people and makes a connection she doesn't call them.
Not because she's afraid of rejection or wev, she's just There's a long boring chunk in the middle of the book with a fictionalized version of the kidnapping her novel. Why not just relate the actual events? Why the layers of fiction? Why does anyone in the novel act the way they do? Why are twelve year old girls sexualized so much?
Later on, she tries, at the age of twelve, to seduce her captor who is old enough to be her dad, because why not. Because It's In The Script. Because Feeeeeeeemales are corrupt and evil. Early in the book, a character complains that they "don't like [movie] scripts that disguise laziness as ambiguity. This book is full of lazy writing, lazy cliches, lazy stereotypes, and characters that don't act or react the way actual humans do. It's a very by-the-numbers book, but missing steps. The girls act brainwashed without ever being brainwashed. The primary character goes to therapy for years but apparently never discusses Stockholm Syndrome or addresses what actually happened to her at all.
The primary character's stalker, a broke unwashed pimple-ridden kid barely passing his classes is apparently also able to easily hack into phones and computers and add cyberstalking to his regular stalking. Because that's a normal skillset that all college kids have, right? And people with that skillset are and remain poor, right? I kept waiting for it pull out of the nosedive it was in and get better, but it didn't. I feel personally betrayed at all the praise blurbs on the book, when it reads like a piece of self published garbage, internally inconsistent and poorly written.
I seem to be in the minority with this point of view. I like thrillers, so it's not just me bouncing off the genre. I appreciate unreliable narrators so it's not just that. I don't understand why this book is getting so much praise. Don't waste your time with it. I regret that I read the entire thing. View all 15 comments. It's thrown out like it's a derogatory remark, but it's an almost spot-on description of this book itself. Then again, there's a good chance that description is actually supposed to be self-referential and tongue-in-cheek: The aforementioned book is a novel based on a true story.
It's being turned into a movie, also featured as part of the plot. And we have the two women at the centre of that true story telling their own differing versions of what happened to them. And in that tradition, this is like two books in one. The first book is an elegant, creepy, ambiguous tale about two year-old girls who are kidnapped and kept captive in a woodland cabin, only to be released - unharmed - a couple of months later, and the effect this experience continues to have on them as adults.
It's clever and creative; it plays with form and keeps the reader guessing. The second book is an identikit thriller with substandard, recycled plot points and plot holes. The first book would get four stars, the second would get two, so my rating overall has to be three. The kidnapped girls, Lois and Carly May now known as Chloe , are the narrators, taking turns to tell their stories from an adult perspective. Lois has grown up to become an English professor and the author of the novel-within-the-book mentioned in my first paragraph, which is a dramatised version of her experience of the kidnapping.
They haven't been in contact since the kidnapping, and are both around 30 when events bring them back into one another's orbit. The thing that kept me turning the pages was an urge to know the truth about the period they were kept captive. The real story is obscured by being presented in fictionalised forms and by the differences in the two narrators' memories, implying ultimately there is no solid truth. We only learn about their time in the cabin through an extract from Lois's novel; neither woman ever talks directly about it. The blurb refers to the girls forming 'a bond which will never be broken', but that bond is really with Zed, not each other.
They admire him, they feel a nascent desire for him, they compete to impress him and to be the one he loves most. His influence remains with them into adulthood; they hear his voice in their heads; they speculate about what about their lives now would make him proud, or otherwise. This portion of the story is exciting and original, and I loved the way it played with the reader.
Unfortunately, I found the present-day plot unconvincing and contrived on several levels. This is despite the fact that in both cases the women have done little more than use a different name. It served the plot far too conveniently and was noticeably out of character for a supposedly contemplative and intelligent woman. Finally, I felt the emphasis on the two characters' awareness of their own attractiveness - as if this was revelatory or somehow a daring thing to admit - was a weak point.
I feel like I've seen this in loads of recent books perhaps some distant ripple of the Gone Girl effect? Pretty Is does some interesting things with its premise - it's just a pity that some parts of the story, notably the ending, lapse into laziness. I really wish the kidnapping story had been a book on its own. Two twelve year old girls are kidnapped, found and rescued, this is their story. The novel follows the girls kin the future as well as filling in their back stories. Separated after they were released the girls grew up to follow two very different paths.
The story is narrated alternately by each of them. Why did one of the girls go with the kidnapper willingly? Why did he choose these two girls from different parts of the United States? Why did they identify so much with their kidnapper? Interes Two twelve year old girls are kidnapped, found and rescued, this is their story. Interesting concept, Stockholm Syndrome, kidnapping, in parts a book within a book and yet the pace was unbelievably slow.
Seemed like there was much more filler than there needed to be. Also wasn't altogether sold on the ending and I finished with many questions unanswered. A good novel that I thought could have been better. View all 4 comments. This is a story with masses of potential; a kidnapping story from debut author, Maggie Mitchell. Two twelve year old girls are kidnapped, Lois and Carly-May by the myserious Zed. We see them both happy to go away from their families and go with their kidnapper. The story follows Lois and Carly-May as adults, reflecting back on the past.
Lois is now a teacher of English and Carly-May has become a not very successful actress. Initially it seems the women have coped brilliantly with what happened to This is a story with masses of potential; a kidnapping story from debut author, Maggie Mitchell. Initially it seems the women have coped brilliantly with what happened to them as children. Their accounts of what happened to them seem less plausible, as the book progresses.
This book mixes Stockholm Syndrome, two mixed up individuals and a whole lot of waiting for the girls to finally meet up again. What was the motivation for the kidnapping? Why did he choose those particular girls? I cannot believe that two girls would just go willingly with a stranger and nothing happened to them. If nothing happened to them, why? What was in the mind of the kidnapper? I had so many questions reading this. I felt like there was a massive knowledge gap. An added layer of the deviant psychology of the kidnapper would have made this go from average tame chick lit plot to superb.
We needed to hear from the kidnapper, in the story. This had the potential to be a stonkingly good dark read, with a rather strong storyline. It was let down by a lack of depth and insight. It is a shame that the author did not let her dark side out and give us something more. Overall it is a rather tame kidnapping story, that could have been amazing. View all 7 comments. Two unrelated girls are kidnapped at age twelve and kept in an isolated cabin for several weeks basking in the attention of their kidnapper.
Twenty years later both women are struggling to understand the motivations of their kidnapper, and are battling their own personal demons. One of the woman chanels her experiences into writing a book of the incident, which in turn is made into a film. The other woman lands the lead part in the movie, and they come face to face for the first time in two deca Two unrelated girls are kidnapped at age twelve and kept in an isolated cabin for several weeks basking in the attention of their kidnapper.
The other woman lands the lead part in the movie, and they come face to face for the first time in two decades Pretty Is had all the makings of a great thriller, an interesting premise, a child abduction, the ubiquitous comparison to another fabulous book on the cover The fact is this is billed as a tense crime novel exploring the ripples of the abduction, yet you spend so much time imersed in the characters ridiculous ramblings and self loathing, that the impact of kidnapping was lessened and almost seems trival.
The author concentrates too much on the inconsequential thoughts of the characters, and not enough on the nitty gritty, so I become bogged down and struggled to maintain an interest. The first half of the book seemed to be setting the scene for a big showdown at the end, but bloody hell was that a disappointment! Such a let down after pushing myself to read the entire book! This is clearly a debut book, and it shows in the lack of action and good characterisation. It wasn't my cup of tea as it was just too plodding and slow.
This is a very original debut novel and an intriguing thriller. After two months, the girls were found, but neither girls made any attempt to escape from their captor and this novel contains flashbacks of what happened — how both girls willingly entered the car of the man who took them and seemed to enter into being taken away from th This is a very original debut novel and an intriguing thriller.
After two months, the girls were found, but neither girls made any attempt to escape from their captor and this novel contains flashbacks of what happened — how both girls willingly entered the car of the man who took them and seemed to enter into being taken away from the small towns they lived in.
Carly May was a pageant queen, only too aware of her beauty and what it meant. Lois was more bookish, but pretty as well as intelligent. Time has passed and now Carly May has renamed herself as Chloe Savage and is a bit part actress.
Lois Lonsdale teaches literature and has written a thriller about her childhood events, under the pen name Lucy Ledger. Now her novel is to be made into a film and, when Chloe receives the script, she recognises her story immediately. Lois has kept her identity a secret, but a student — Sean McDougal — seems suddenly very interested in her past. With Sean stalking her, Lois wonders what he wants and whether she can use him to bring the characters in her sequel to life? However, encouraging him is a dangerous game and the past may soon begin to impinge on her present.
Both the parents of the girls did everything they could to keep them apart, but now Lois and Carly May are going to meet again. This novel cleverly uses both flashbacks and the filming of the story to explore what happened to the two girls so long ago. The two women have to face their past and what it means to them in this exploration of the repercussions of a crime.
As well as being an interesting personal read, this would be a good choice for book groups, with much to discuss. Lastly I received a copy of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, for review. This is, unfortunately, the worst book I have read this year so far. Review to come when I come home from my holiday vacation. Pretty Is — a book I read a while ago but held off on reviewing until nearer publication, is a beautifully atmospheric, haunting and emotional read that will both tug on the heartstrings and absolutely enthrall you.
Thrown together when both are kidnapped, Carly May and Lois develop a very up and down but seemingly solid relationship — flash forward to years later, we meet them as grown women who have lost contact and are living very different lives. As the story unfolds from both points of view, the author weaves a clever web, showing different interpretations of past events and leading both Carly and Lois into an uncertain future. The truth about what happened all those years ago comes out in beautiful little snippets of information — a film that is being made based on the kidnapping bringing the two girls together again but not, perhaps, in the ways you might expect.
It is all genuinely gripping — there is a marvelous psychological depth to both of the main protagonists that just immerses you into their lives and holds you, riveted, until the final pages. This is a stunning debut — sure to be one of the standouts of the year, it is difficult to believe that Maggie Mitchell has not written endless novels, honing her craft, but nope this is a first — which is very exciting. Apr 27, Jules rated it liked it Shelves: This is a well-written book with a great plot. Pretty Is covers the story of two 12 year old girls who were kidnapped for 6 weeks and how that experience has shaped them as adults.
The story shifts to and from the past and present throughout the book. However, I felt the pace slowed down as the story progressed, sometimes becoming This is a well-written book with a great plot. However, I felt the pace slowed down as the story progressed, sometimes becoming a little confusing. This is partly my own mistake, as I went into this book expecting it to be a dark thriller with all sorts of shocks and surprises, but it is more a real life drama, contemporary fiction, chick lit with a little bit of thriller book.
That is also a book I failed to connect with, so if you loved The Lovely Bones, this may be just the book for you. I would like to thank the publisher, Orion Publishing Group, for allowing me a copy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Aug 28, Nicole rated it it was ok. I found myself very intrigued at the start. The way the story developed lacked impact. Good idea, but the execution was off. Meanwhile, a series of strange murders occur which draws the attention of law enforcement. To help rehabilitate a high school senior for behavioral issues, he is placed on a uninhabited island, but soon finds he is not alone.
Being discovered could prove deadly. After being turned down by a boy her age, sixteen-year-old Honey, the daughter of a religious family in a small Southern town, turns her interests to Leander, an older man who's recently been saved at her church. Start your free trial. Find showtimes, watch trailers, browse photos, track your Watchlist and rate your favorite movies and TV shows on your phone or tablet!
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