Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Such a Pretty Face-Cathy Lamb

Such a Pretty Face
Cathy Lamb
Kensington, Jul 27 2010, $15.00
ISBN: 9780758229557

She once was well over 300 pounds, but lost 170 pounds thanks in part from the fear brought on by a heart attack. However, thirty -something legal assistant Stevie Barrett is no longer sure who she is. Pondering what to do as mentally she still feels obese, Stevie decides that the only way to move on is to look back starting with the death of her mentally ill mother drowning her sister and the uncle who raised her though he loathed her.

As her cousins encourage her while they prepare a gala to celebrate the fortieth anniversary of their parents, Stevie knows she must face her uncle. She also wants to date her neighbor, quit her job to become an artist and a roller derby performer. However, first she must deal with the uncle who resented his poor orphaned niece.

Stevie is a super lead character who holds her tale together as she loses the weight she realizes she has not rid herself of her insecurities baggage; to do that she must face her uncle as the other person she would need to confront her mom is long dead. The scenes in which Stevie reflects on her life by herself or to a lesser degree with her cousin are powerful and gripping. When her uncle or her mom (in flashbacks) appears, they come across as caricatures though that is mostly because Stevie filters them through how she sees them. Readers will enjoy this deep contemporary character study as losing the physical weight is not enough; one must lose the emotional and mental weights too.

Harriet Klausner

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