Monday, March 30, 2015

ARC Review: Pretty Ugly by Kirker Butler ♥

Monday, March 30, 2015

Pretty Ugly
Kirker Butler

Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books 
Image and video hosting by TinyPic(March 31, 2015)
ISBN-13: 978-1250049728
Genre: Literary Fiction
Pre-Order: Amazon | Barnes & Nobles

Source: Review Copy was sent via Thomas Dunne Books. Thank you Katie.
Synopsis: 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.



  •  Well.. for starters, I would never put my child in a pageant, I wouldn't want them prancing around in makeup and short dresses because they're just children. This book is quite realistic to what happens nowadays, it really bothers me when parents put so much pressure on their 5-12 year old child to "walk right, eat right, look right" because again THEY'RE JUST CHILDREN. Makeup should be for older teenagers and adults only, it's actually bad if little kids wear it anyway..  Miranda Ford won a beauty pageant which has changed her life forever. Now she wants her child Bailey to become a pageant star. I've heard of reality shows with this concept, but this is the second book I have read with this concept. This is a ridiculously hilarious book that I enjoyed reading. It explains all the stereotypes of pageant mothers. Almost every character in this novel represents a stereotype that exists in reality.
  •  The writing is pretty fantastic, from the very first chapter - I was laughing and this novel did made me giggle. I could easily picture what was going on with it's vivid details - Pretty Ugly was a bit depressing though with it's drama and Miranda's expectations for her child were a bit too much. I did like her husband Ray who didn't support Miranda's thoughts and decisions. I did feel there were too many characters to handle, everyone seemed to have a story of their own. Pretty Ugly does have a world-building plot, I did like the concept and plot behind it. This also does a teenager - adult affair in this novel where the teen is under the legal consent age. However, some parts of this novel were predictable - It could be foreshadowing, but I don't really enjoy knowing things beforehand that much. I would rather be surprised. 
  • Overall, the characters were a bit unbelievable, I couldn't understand Miranda as much - she didn't have much depth to her character as I would have liked her to have. There is dark humor in the novel so some people can like it or others might not - It shows the dark side of family dynamics where things can get ugly, but it also shows the touching moments of families united. Overall, it is a decent novel with a fantastic concept. I wold rate Pretty Ugly 3.5 butterflies.
Recommended for fans of The Revenge of The Girl with The Great Personality.


  • Shukran for reading this! Leave your blog links in the comments & I'll be sure to check them out & follow :) Stay in tuned pretty creatures.. 

    “Never forget what you are, for surely the world will not. Make it your strength. Then it can never be your weakness.” —George R.R. Martin 
    femmmefatalee@gmail.com

41 comments:

  1. Right you are, Benish! Even I would never pu my kids (if I end up having any) in beauty pageants. It's just too much stress and pressure, I guess. And yes, like you put it so perfectly, "THEY ARE JUST CHIDREN". I'm glad this book was funny, but it doesn't sound like something I'd read. Still nice to know you liked it just about enough. Nice review!

    Sarika @ The Readdicts

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    1. Thank you Sarika, I'm glad you could relate! ♥ I hate the pressure parents put on little children.

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  2. It's a shame you didn't really connect with this book. We don't have pageants down under, so I'd find this hard to connect to. Great review though!!

    Naomi @ Nomi’s Paranormal Palace

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  3. Hey if Seth says its hilarious, it must be! I'm pretty amped to read this - I know its disgusting but I love watching those beauty pageant shows! Those kids can be such unbelievable brats!!!! hahaha but yeah I would never put my kid in one either - just not a healthy lifestyle for someone so young.
    I'd still love to read this though! And 3 flowers isn't too shabby xx

    www.bohemianmuses.blogspot.com

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    1. Yes, it's not a bad read at all - it's quite funny sometimes too. Hope you try checking it out for yourself soon ♥

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  4. Oh wow, this book sounds like something that would catch my eye simply because of the concept. I would agree with you -- I hate when adults put that kind of pressure on their younger children, especially when they force them into it. I can see the cleverness behind having everyone representing a stereotype as well. I can't wait to try this one and see what I think. Thanks for introducing it to me.

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    1. The premise is very catchy though, I find it fascinating and annoying when people do this though - Hope you try checking it out for yourself soon ♥ & you welcome :)

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  5. I'm not opposed to beauty pageant's when you're old enough to make the decision for yourself and to know what you want, but putting your child in one, totally with you there. Nope. Yay for the writing though, a big reason with ones I wouldn't really read, it all comes down to the writing. Glad you enjoyed it though! :)

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    1. Yes, I agree - the children aren't even allowed to make their own decisions, thanks for dropping by Kristy :)

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  6. I love if nothing else, this made you laugh! Great review!

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  7. That sounds so sad that mother puts her own child in peagant contest and I agree kid's should have the chance to be kids, not having the pressure to walk, dress and eat right. Even though it sounds like a depressing book, it's also nice that it made you laugh as well! I also prefer to be surprised although some foreshadowing can work well. Great review!

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    1. Thank you Lola ♥ I'm glad you could relate! It just bothers me when parents do this because they're actually taking away their children's actual childhood.

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  8. I agree, I wouldn't put my children in pageants either. I'm usually a fan of foreshadowing, but not so much that it gives away too much of the plot. I'm glad it had some dark humor in it though! Thanks for the awesome review! :)

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    1. Thank you for dropping by Katie ♥

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  9. This is the first time I have heard of this one, I will have to add it to my TBR, I am intrigued!
    Missie @ A Flurry of Ponderings

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    1. Thank you Missie for dropping by, I hope you enjoy it ♥

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  10. I honestly think it is creepy what mothers will put their children through. If she was a teenager or adult who could make the decision to be in pageants that is different because a least they get a choice, right? I love how the author made the characters represent different stereotypes. maybe people will pick this up and learn something new :)

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    1. I agree, it is about making choices as well - thank you for dropping by Sarah ♥

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  11. This seems like it would definitely make an interesting book club read.

    Jessica @ Sunny Days and Starry Nights

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    1. Yeep, I agree - there can be many discussions about this book. ♥

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  12. I've been flicking channels and caught that Toddlers and Tiaras show a few times and my goodness, these mothers parade their children around like show ponies. It makes for ridiculous TV though, and this sounds pretty much the same. I think you're shocked that it ends up pretty funny, as it's a world so far removed from your own. Anything that can make me laugh is a winner, so looking forward to checking this one out. Awesome review Benish <3

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    1. Thank you for your thoughts, I hope you enjoy this one more than me though ♥ The concept is funny, but ridiculous at the same time.

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  13. I'm glad you found some humor in with this even though children in beauty pageants is just a concept that seems strange to me as well. I like some foreshadowing as well but, leave some surprise too. Thanks for the lovely review, Benish :)

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    1. Agreed, the concept is rather strange .. thank you though ♥

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  14. I don't think that this would be my sort of read either Benish, I haven't read many pageant type books, but that could be because of character like Miranda! Thank you for your honest review, I hope your next read is a lot more enjoyable! :)

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    1. Thank you Jasprit & yes, I hope so too ! ♥

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  15. The premise is catchy, I have heard of child pageants and like you, I'm against it as well. Lovely review!

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  16. I'm with you, I'd never put my child in pageants. I just don't see the point in them or really care for what they represent. But I'm glad you liked the writing and gave this one a chance!

    Lovely review!

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    1. Thank you Magen, I'm glad you could relate! ♥

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  17. Thank you Sarika, I'm glad you could relate! ♥ I hate the pressure parents put on little children.

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  18. I don't think I'd be able to read this book. I'd get tired of the mother very quickly. I despise children in pageants. They should be having fun! Also the summary seems really wild for me... I'll stick to YA haha. Great review, though!

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  19. The mother doesn't sound like she's a likable character at all, especially with all the drama that happens. But I've never read a book about child pageants and it sounds interesting! Great review Benish.

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    1. It is an interesting concept, The Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality is pretty cute - Thank you Jeann ♥

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  20. I'm amused by the dark humor in this one and pretty much reminds me of Toddlers and Tiaras, lol. Definitely picking this up, sounds absolutely hilarious! Awesome review, Benish!

    Blessie @ Mischievous Reads

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    1. It does have a pretty unique plot, hope you enjoy it :)

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  21. I agree 100%! I had a co-worker who gave me the hardest time because I refused to put Mckenzie in pageants. She just couldn't understand that I wanted nothing to do with that world and would never, ever subject my child to such nonsense. This is definitely an interesting plot, and I'm happy to hear the writing is so good! I'm glad this was a decent read even if there were a few issues here and there. Fantastic review -- thank you so much for sharing <3

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    1. Yes, I would never do that to my child as well - You did make the right choice :) Thank you for dropping by though ♥

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