Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
(March 31, 2015)
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.