Customer Reviews for

Such A Pretty Face

Average Rating 4.5
( 86 )
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5 Star

(54)

4 Star

(14)

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(11)

2 Star

(5)

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(2)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

Literary and whimsical, I'll definitely be reading more.

Stevie Barrett once weighed over 300 pounds. She ate food to smother the grief she felt over the loss of her baby sister, schizophrenic mother, and loving grandparents all within a short time period. She ate to lose herself. She ate to hide. And then she had a heart att...
Stevie Barrett once weighed over 300 pounds. She ate food to smother the grief she felt over the loss of her baby sister, schizophrenic mother, and loving grandparents all within a short time period. She ate to lose herself. She ate to hide. And then she had a heart attack, and eating was no longer the solution if she wanted to survive. Several surgeries and 170 pounds later, Stevie has lost the weight but hasn't managed to find herself in the process. Such a Pretty Face is the beautiful story of one woman's search for herself amongst the burden of this thing we call Life.

At times both literary and whimsical, Such a Pretty Face fulfilled my need for a meaty, meaningful story, while also lightening my soul with love and sunshine. It made my heart ache with sadness for Stevie's childhood and the oppressing reality of schizophrenia, but the flashbacks to her earlier years are followed with laughter as she struggles to keep an outraged divorcee from tearing her ex-husband to shreds.

Lamb's writing is skillful and exploratory, drifting from inner dialogue to prose and back again. We really get to know Stevie, staying inside her head throughout the full novel, feeling the tide of emotions she is drifting on. With an oppresive uncle, a bulldozing best friend, a mound of medical debt, and a hopeless crush on her neighbor, Stevie is lost in the world and the narrative explores her natural sense of fear, followed by her internal strength and courage to stand up for herself and what she wants.

Overall, Such a Pretty Face is a culmination of fabulous traits from some of my favorite books: a story of family pain and love (Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson), mixed with a woman's courage and strength (The Wife's Tale by Lori Lansens), with a dash of Sarah Addison Allen's fanciful language thrown in the mix. But most of all, it simply is what it is: a beautifully literary and touching novel by a wonderful writer. I will definitely be reading more of Cathy Lamb in the future.

posted by TheCrowdedLeaf on July 19, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

Good, but wanted it to be better..

I still can't decide if I really liked this book or not! I did move through it pretty quickly, wanting to find out what happened to the characters, but I wanted to like it more than I did. Some parts were really interesting, while others dragged on and bored me. The s...
I still can't decide if I really liked this book or not! I did move through it pretty quickly, wanting to find out what happened to the characters, but I wanted to like it more than I did. Some parts were really interesting, while others dragged on and bored me. The story of her childhood and her mother being a schizophrenic was very intense and sad, not saying that was a bad thing, but I had to read a funny, light-hearted book after this one! I do think the author did a good job of showing what it is like to live with someone with mental illness. I think I expected this to be more about her weight loss, but it was really more about the other parts of her life. Pretty decent read, just not what I was looking for.

posted by PiccoultFan on March 21, 2011

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  • Posted January 22, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    changed

    this book is really good
    and it's has changed me
    in a way.
    at sometimes i skipped the
    pages dealing with
    helen.
    and if this book does not
    hit home for you in some way.
    you need to reread the book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 12, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    great book

    What a great book. I admit there were times when i would put it down and get bored with it, but overall it was very good. maybe it was too long. The story had alot of humor in it and was very raw.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 28, 2014

    Powerful

    Powerful

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  • Posted March 22, 2011

    good story

    I enjoy this author and her books. Quick read that kept me interested.

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  • Posted January 5, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    review taken from One Book At A Time

    I don't know how a book can be heartwarming, funny, and cringe worthy all at the same time. But, yet Such A Pretty Face managed it without losing any of the elements of the story. In fact, the description doesn't even paint an accurate picture of what this story truly entails.

    I completely loved Stevie from the first pages of this novel. It's absolutely amazing that she's able to stand up on her own two feet after what she has endured at the hand's of her schizophrenic mother during childhood. And then after the horrific circumstances surrounding her mother's death, she placed into the hands of an uncle who treats her no better than the rest of his family. She's belittled and constantly told she isn't good enough even into her adulthood. But, she finds herself after her life altering surgery. She discovers she is good enough and deserves more than she has been given in life.

    It sounds like a heartbreaking story, but really it isn't. Because Stevie has some awesome friends (and one that isn't). Her cousins know just how hard it is because they're living in the same shadows she is. Her friends from work help her realize her potential and that she can do anything she wants too. She's even got a love interest who wins your heart as well. Granted the first part of the book, Stevie hides behind bushes, etc whenever Jake appears. It's makes for some definite laugh out loud moments.

    In the end Stevie is able to stand up to her uncle, comes to terms with her past, and open up to Jake. The entire novel was a pleasure to read. I'll be looking for something else by Cathy Lamb because this one was outstanding!

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    Posted August 17, 2011

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    Posted August 7, 2011

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    Posted May 30, 2012

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    Posted May 12, 2013

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    Posted May 24, 2011

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    Posted December 11, 2010

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    Posted October 23, 2011

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    Posted January 16, 2011

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    Posted June 3, 2011

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