Such A Pretty Face by Cathy Lamb | Paperback | Barnes & Noble
Such A Pretty Face

Such A Pretty Face

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by Cathy Lamb
     
 

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In this warm, funny, thoroughly candid novel, acclaimed author Cathy Lamb introduces an unforgettable heroine who's half the woman she used to be, and about to find herself for the first time. . .

Two years and 170 pounds ago, Stevie Barrett was wheeled into an operating room for surgery that most likely saved her life. Since that day, a new Stevie has emerged,

Overview

In this warm, funny, thoroughly candid novel, acclaimed author Cathy Lamb introduces an unforgettable heroine who's half the woman she used to be, and about to find herself for the first time. . .

Two years and 170 pounds ago, Stevie Barrett was wheeled into an operating room for surgery that most likely saved her life. Since that day, a new Stevie has emerged, one who walks without wheezing, plants a garden for self-therapy, and builds and paints fantastical wooden chairs. At thirty-five, Stevie is the one thing she never thought she'd be: thin.

But for everything that's changed, some things remain the same. Stevie's shyness refuses to melt away. She still can't look her neighbors' gorgeous great-nephew in the eye. The Portland law office where she works remains utterly dysfunctional, as does her family—the aunt, uncle, and cousins who took her in when she was a child. To top it off, her once supportive best friend clearly resents her weight loss.

By far the biggest challenge in Stevie's new life lies in figuring out how to define her new self. Collaborating with her cousins to plan her aunt and uncle's problematic fortieth anniversary party, Stevie starts to find some surprising answers—about who she is, who she wants to be, and how the old Stevie evolved in the first place. And with each revelation, she realizes the most important part of her transformation may not be what she's lost, but the courage and confidence she's gathering, day by day.

As achingly honest as it is witty, Such A Pretty Face is a richly insightful novel of one woman's search for love, family, and acceptance, of the pain we all carry—and the wonders that can happen when we let it go at last.

Outstanding Praise For Cathy Lamb And Her Novels

Henry's Sisters

An Indie Next List Notable Book

"A story of strength and reconciliation and change."
—The Sunday Oregonian

"Lamb delivers grace, humor and forgiveness. . .positively irresistible."
—Publishers Weekly

"If you loved Terms of Endearment, the Ya Ya Sisterhood, and Steel Magnolias, you will love Henry's Sisters. Cathy Lamb just keeps getting better and better."
The Three Tomatoes Book Club

The Last Time I Was Me

"Charming."
Publishers Weekly

Julia's Chocolates

"Julia's Chocolates is wise, tender, and very funny. In Julia Bennett, Cathy Lamb has created a deeply wonderful character, brave and true. I loved this beguiling novel about love, friendship and the enchantment of really good chocolate."
—Luanne Rice, New York Times bestselling author

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A 30-something's makeover hits a few snags in Lamb's wan latest. Stevie Barrett has lost 170 pounds since she had a heart attack at age 32, but she still struggles with the same old dysfunctions: horrifying memories of her insane mother drowning her sister, the toxic uncle who raised her, and deep insecurities that see her sabotaging herself at every turn. Adjusting to her new body, Stevie struggles to carve a self-image as she helps her cousins plan their parents' 40th anniversary party and battles a moral dilemma at the law firm where she works as a legal assistant. Lamb (The Last Time I Was Me) writes with an acute sensitivity in the quiet sections where Stevie plans her garden and contemplates the ramifications of her dramatic physical change, but these pleasant moments are drowned out by extended slapstick sequences in which her uncle and, in flashback, her mother, display the same outrageous behaviors over and over. Stevie's a winning heroine, but the underdeveloped support cast dominate too much of her show. (Aug.)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780758229557
Publisher:
Kensington
Publication date:
08/01/2010
Pages:
480
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.60(d)

Read an Excerpt

such a pretty face


By CATHY LAMB

KENSINGTON BOOKS

Copyright © 2010 Cathy Lamb
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-7582-2955-7


Chapter One

Portland, Oregon-2005

I am going to plant a garden this summer.

With the exception of two pink cherry trees, one white cherry tree, and one pink tulip tree, all huge, I have a barren, dry backyard and I'm tired of looking at it. I almost see it as a metaphor for my whole life, and I think if I can fix this, I can fix my life. Simplistic, silly, I know, but I can't get past it.

So I'm going to garden even if my hands shake as if there are live circuits inside of them and a floppy yellow hat dances ominously through my mind.

I'm going to build upraised beds, a whole bunch of them, and fill them with tomatoes, squash, zucchini, radishes, lettuce, carrots, peas, and beans. But not corn.

I'm not emotionally able to do corn yet-too many memories-but I am going to plant marigolds around the borders, and pink and purple petunias, rose bushes and clematis and grapevines.

I'm going to stick two small crosses at the back fence, but not for who you think. I'm going to build a grape arbor with a deck beneath it, and then I'm going to add a table so I can paint there, as I used to, before my memories took that away. I'm also going to build three trellises for climbing roses over a rock pathway, one arch for me, Grandma, and Grandpa, which will lead to another garden, with cracked china plates in a mosaic pattern in the middle of a concrete circle, for Sunshine.

This may sound way too ambitious.

It is. But I see this as my last chance to get control of my mind before it blows.

I can wield any type of saw out there, and I have to do this, even if it takes me years. That I can even think in terms of a future, is a miracle.

Why? Because two and a half years ago, when I was thirty-two years old, I had a heart attack.

I used to be the size of a small, depressed cow.

The heart attack led to my stomach strangling operation, and I lost 170 pounds. Now I am less than half myself, in more ways than one.

My name is Stevie Barrett.

This is a story of why I was the way I was and how I am now me.

I am going to plant a garden.

Not even the glass walls muffled the screaming and shouting.

I leaned back in my swivel chair, away from my computer, and peeked into the conference room as the words "You are a cold, frigid snowwoman" echoed out after the words "I would rather remove my toes with pliers than sleep with you one more time!"

Two seconds later, high-pitched shrieking mixed with a baritone shout. "Living with you is like living with Antarctica.... I can't stand seeing your pinched-up, wrinkly prune face.... Move out of my house; you have poisoned it with your venom long enough.... You and your yellow teeth can shove it.... It's not your house; I'll burn it before you get it.... You are a mean, dickheaded prick with a small prick!"

Then there was a crash, which was a drinking glass hitting the glass walls of the conference room. I was quite surprised it didn't shatter. I sprinted into the conference room as my boss, and the owner of this law firm, Cherie Poitras, grabbed her client around the waist, a woman dressed to the nines in high heels and a cream suit. The woman had actually crawled up on the conference table and lunged for her husband. Cherie and I wrestled her off, but not before the husband's attorney put him in a headlock to keep him from strangling his soon-to-be ex-wife.

Even in a headlock, the husband, a local politician who stressed the sanctity of marriage and traditional values, struggled to get at his wife, his arms and legs flailing around and about like a trapped octopus.

I work as a legal assistant at Poitras and Associates. I work for Cherie Poitras directly and sometimes another attorney. I work with clients and witnesses, do a ton of legal research, write up documents, organize mountains of paperwork, summarize depositions, etc.

Sounds boring, but it's often exciting.

Cherie Poitras is five feet nine inches tall and wears cheetah patterned/striped/shiny four-inch heels and therefore towers over most of the male attorneys in town. She's very private, but from what I know she had a lousy childhood, grew up in Trillium River here in Oregon, and adopted four kids who had been abused. She loves a good fight, thrives off the law, and runs her firm like an honest, compassionate pit bull who must win every legal case no matter how hard she must bite. She is single, not surprisingly. How many men could handle Cherie? Not many.

Simply put: They're not enough for her.

We have a classy sign in the entrance of our elegant entry with gold lettering. It says, "WELCOME TO POITRAS AND ASSOCIATES. WE'LL KICK SOME ASS FOR YOU.

Anyhow, we handle a ton of different legal work. Personal injury. Environmental. Insurance. And we also handle many of the city's most spectacular divorces.

People spewing obscenities at each other, throwing things, and storming out is normal for our firm. We had one divorcing wife grab a knife out of her purse, stomp across the conference table, and try to stab her ex-husband. We had a shooting, husband at wife. He missed because Cherie tackled the husband. We've had fistfights between attorneys. Pencils and legal pads have been thrown, as has, one time, a small dog (dog wasn't happy), a designer purse (blackened an eye), and a shoe (it was a Manolo Blahnik).

You want to see ugly? Become a divorce attorney.

"Hello, Stevie. Good of you to come help," Cherie called out, her voice melodious, mellow, as she dragged her wriggling, livid client off the table. I grabbed the client around the waist, too, but she was strong and rage made her a madwoman with superhuman strength.

"Come on, Mrs. Leod, let's go, please, let's take a break," I said. My black curls fell out of the bun I'd had them in as her hand swooped over the back of my head. "How about some coffee with fresh vanilla cream?"

"I am not going to take a break!" she screamed. "I don't want fresh vanilla cream. I am going to put my hands around his chicken neck and squeeze until his tongue falls out!"

I remember seeing Mrs. Leod on television, standing beside her husband, chin up, the feminine moral authority, talking about "the alarming erosion of family values in our state."

"If I have to run through all of our money, Frank, with legal fees, I'll do it," Mrs. Leod yelled. "In fact, if you don't back off I think I'll hold myself a press conference and tell them about the account in the Bahamas and your little dalliances into leather and whips-"

"Shut up, you stupid, prudish, witchly woman...."

They continued shouting at each other, full throttle, full blast. We got her off the conference table, and I fell to the ground, on top of Mrs. Leod, but that did not stop her impressive tirade. Cherie and her short, leopard-print skirt fell on top of me. "She's a slippery little thing, isn't she?" Cherie panted. "Get her legs. I'll get her shoulders."

I gave Cherie an exasperated look. Why did I have to get her legs? They were more dangerous than the shoulders. A knee caught me in the gut and I said, "Ooof."

"I'll buy you perfume and pretty lotions, Stevie. Now, hop to it."

"Fine," I huffed. We both chuckled, couldn't help it.

The husband's face was becoming a darker red, stuck in his headlock, but he was fighting like a furious four-legged octopus. I knew his attorney, Scott Bills. Scott had been in the army reserves for decades. If he had wanted to snap Mr. Leod's neck, he could have, but neck snapping wasn't on the agenda that day.

"Hello, Stevie," he said to me, calm and friendly.

"Hello, Scott," I said, trying to grab at Mrs. Leod's legs, which were flailing around, kicking me, one heel flying off into the glass wall. Cherie was on the top half of the woman, who had well and truly lost her mind.

"Don't think I won't tell everyone about your secret credit cards and precisely how you used them in Vegas!" Mrs. Leod said. "You big-nippled pervert!"

The woman was a psychiatrist. What would she make of herself, I wondered.

"If I could get it at home, I wouldn't get it there," Mr. Leod said, voice hoarse from the headlock. "And talk about big nipples! I could land a plane on yours."

Now that set our tiny she-devil off.

"How's Jae?" I asked Scott of his wife. The she-devil hit me in the chin with a knee. "Now, Mrs. Leod ... take it easy."

Mrs. Leod was not in the mood to take it easy. "Do you know why I don't want to have sex with you? It's the size of your dick. It's so small it couldn't make a banana slug come."

"Maybe it's because you're dry as a desert," Mr. Leod said, sinking lower in Scott's arms, his breathing labored. "It's like having sex with sand!"

"You can't turn me on, sandman! Sweaty, sticky hands aren't sexy, Frank-not sexy. And you would know what it's like to have sex with sand, wouldn't you, because of the Maui trip you went on when you were supposed to be visiting your mother, the old fart!"

"Jae's doing pretty good, Stevie," Scott said, as if we were at a dinner party. "I'm taking her and the kids down to Long Shore this weekend. There's a kite festival."

"That sounds fun. The weather is supposed to be beautiful." I dodged a flying foot.

"Screw you!" Mrs. Leod said, arching in her fury. "Screw you forever!"

"I don't want to screw you," Mr. Leod squeaked out, his face now an even deeper red. "You are a sick sorceress."

A sorceress? Now that was clever. Me and Cherie exchanged another look.

"Hey, when is your annual dinner, Cherie?" Scott asked.

Cherie had a dinner every year, complete with a barbeque and a band to raise money for foster kids.

"October." She shoved Mrs. Leod's swinging arms back down as the woman spit out bad words through clenched teeth. "You and Jae better be there. And you, too, Stevie."

"Wouldn't miss it." Scott's octopus client was struggling but losing steam, because he was having a problem sucking in enough air, his arms flailing. "Can I say, Stevie, without getting slapped with a harassment suit, that you are simply gorgeous?"

I couldn't help but smile, even though Mrs. Leod's knee caught me in the chest.

"I hate you, you happiness-sucking prune!"

"I hate you, too. Your evil spell over me is gone. Vannnisshhhheed!"

A spell? Cherie winked at me. It was so witchly here today.

"Thank you, Scott," I said. "I appreciate it. I'm trying. Walking every day."

"Doesn't she look fantastic?" Cherie gushed, her perfectly polished nails holding Mrs. Leod down. "Gorgeous. Stevie, you are an inspiration to all of us."

"You won't get a dime of my inheritance," Mrs. Leod hissed, her voice not quite as shrieky. I lay across her legs. "I curse you!"

"I earned that inheritance being married to you," Mr. Leod said, in a whisper voice, his face flushed. That headlock was good! Not too much, not too little!

"Let me up!" Mrs. Leod yelled. "I will not tolerate this for one second loooonger!"

"Release me," Mr. Leod hissed out, his neck in truly a bad position. "Reeeeleeasse me."

"Not unless you promise you won't try to decapitate your husband," Cherie said, tone so mild, sweet even.

"I'll release you, Frank," Scott said. "But I can't have you mangling your wife. It's impolite."

"This is none of your business!" Mrs. Leod shot out. "We demand that you let us go at once!"

"Stay out of this, Scott," Mr. Leod said, his voice tiny.

"This is my business," Cherie said. "No killings in Poitras and Associates. It's a rule we have here. The blood makes a mess, and I won't have anyone staining these new wood floors."

"I don't think I'm an inspiration," I said to Cherie and Scott, still holding onto Mrs. Leod's kicking legs. "My stomach has been squeezed into something the size of an egg. Gorging is now impossible no matter how much I want to shovel in chocolate cake. Buying clothes has also been a problem." I exhaled. Mrs. Leod finally relaxed her murderous self a bit.

"I'm sure," Scott agreed. "Every month you're skinnier."

Mr. Leod had finally collapsed, so Scott let him sink down to the floor.

"Easy does it," he said to his client. The client fell straight back. Scott made sure he was breathing, then said, "Jae said the same thing when we ran into you downtown last week. She said, 'Stevie Barrett looks terrific.' "

"I've told her not to lose one more pound. Not a pound. This is enough," Cherie said. "Now, everyone, take a breath, relax. Deep breath in, deep breath out, breathe in, out ... We're not going to talk any further unless you two promise not to try to kill each other."

Mrs. Leod was trying to catch her breath, still lying splat on the floor. "I want him dead. I want him to be a corpse." "Over my dead body," her husband wheezed. "Over my dead body, you wicked warlock woman."

"You are the spawn of the devil," she said.

"You are the devil." He coughed, inhaled. Our octopus had had enough.

"Remember, no killing in Poitras and Associates," Cherie said cheerfully.

I eyed Scott from the floor, where I still held Mrs. Leod. "Lovely to see you."

"And you, Stevie."

"Do tell Jae I said hello."

"I'll do that. Have a great day, you two."

"See ya, Scott," Cherie said, then smiled.

We hauled Mrs. Leod up and out the door. She tried to jam herself in the door frame, legs and arms splayed out, but we wrangled her away and down the hall. She still managed to call out, "I hope your pecker dissolves, I do, you ball-less wonder!"

"She's sure clever," I said to Cherie.

"Absolutely. Have to admire the vocabulary."

"Good-bye, sand pit!" Mr. Leod called, his voice scratchy. "You barren wasteland!"

Scott would remove his octo-client from our law offices when Cherie's office door slammed shut.

They would meet again another day, if neither had gutted the other. Mr. and Mrs. Leod were still living in the same mansion in the hills, so who knew.

We left Mrs. Leod in Cherie's office to cool off. She kicked the door. Three times. We had a temper-tantrum-throwing kid.

"Nothing like an acrimonious divorce to get the blood pumping, is there, Stevie?" Cherie smiled at me. We'd gone rafting last year for our firm's party and paintball shooting another time to "relieve the stress of warring spouses."

I smiled back. She is the best boss ever. Ever. And she loves a good fight.

"Nothing like it," I agreed.

When I got back to my desk and my computer, I noticed that my hands were shaking. They'd started shaking after I'd lost about thirty pounds and have gotten progressively worse these last six months. There is nothing medically wrong, we've checked that out.

It is, as they say, all in my head.

As the weight came off, the shaking started, the memories unearthed themselves, the visions grew, and the nightmares throttled my sleep. One problem solved, another problem stalking me.

The vision of myself in the mirror was truly the most alarming. Why? Because she was there.

She scared me to death.

I live in a one thousand square foot house built in 1940. I painted it emerald green with white trim and a burgundy-colored door. It has a huge backyard with a good-sized deck under a trellis. Because of my trees, and the neighbor's trees, it's quite private. My house is on a quiet street fifteen minutes from Portland, with a white picket fence that I built myself. That's Portland, Oregon, not Portland, Maine.

My home also has a detached garage, green with white trim. I have an obsession in my garage. It's rather an embarrassing, colorful obsession, but that is a story for later.

I bought this one-story, peaked-roof house about eighteen months ago after living in a dingy studio in a sketchy part of town for about a year after The Escape and all the new guilt. The studio came complete with occasional gunfire, domestic disturbances, and exciting carjackings. I was robbed once; all they took was my jean jacket and my pink robe. I have no idea why they wanted a pink robe. I think they took it to punish me for not having anything better.

During those dark months I tried to recover emotionally and physically from the heart attack, my operation, and a couple of other heart wrenching things I don't want to speak about.

This house, here in a funky, older, classy-hippie neighborhood called Newport Village, three blocks from a street of eclectic stores and coffee shops, was in foreclosure. To buy it I sold my car for a clunker truck I named The Mobster, because the previous owner probably could have been in the Mob, only without the dashing facial features.

I also sold my TV and a ton of stuff online, including some fat clothes, and used my savings from the divorce settlement for the down payment.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from such a pretty face by CATHY LAMB Copyright © 2010 by Cathy Lamb. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Such a Pretty Face 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 87 reviews.
poosie More than 1 year ago
After suffering a heart attack, Stevie Barrett, 32, primarily caused by her severe obesity, she knows that it's now or never to get on task. She makes the decision to have gastric bypass surgery and is now 170 lbs lighter. But this doesn't really solve all of her problems. This book deals with tough topics like overeating, anorexia, divorce, self-esteem problems, mental illness, abuse, schizophrenia, and death. BUT, one a lighter side it is also filled with love, devotion, hope, humor, trust and forgiveness. Terrific Read!!
TheCrowdedLeaf More than 1 year ago
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.
PiccoultFan More than 1 year ago
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.
harstan More than 1 year ago
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
so_death_bye More than 1 year ago
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.
Mrs_Barrett More than 1 year ago
I LOVED the book. I liked how she had my last name too. It was kind of errie reading this book because it is almost like she is reading my life story instead. I didn't have the same childhood but adulthood yes. Everything from the weight, to the health, to the abuse, to being invisable even when you feel like the size of an elephant. I was completely wiered out that the internal dialoge was exactually what I would have said, yes even hitting the dirt to avoid a hottie. It gave me a little bit of hope. I want to get the surgery, need to because of health, but no isurance cutbacks took the surgery off the program. Oh well someday, hopefully. I hope I get my happily ever after someday and find a good guy too. Guess you just have to be skinny to find them. I re-read this book often. Maybe every other week I re-read it. I love the fact that someone was not afraid of wrighting a romance novel about someone who was hefty (or at least was). Too bad the second surgery costs 30,000. If you are or have been a large woman you might enjoy this book. It gives me hope for a brighter future.
BIGBROWN More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Couldn't put it down.
BookAddictRS46 More than 1 year ago
Amazing book!! I've loved every book Cathy Lamb has written! The BEST books make you laugh out loud, cry, & think.  Every single book of her's does it for me.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Powerful
THHernandez More than 1 year ago
3-1/2 stars. There were many things to like about this story. Stevie is delightful and surrounded by a colorful cast that plays more like a sitcom than the tragic story it is. In fact, it alternates between humor and gut-wrenching anguish at a manic pace. The story opens with a horrific tale of loss at the hands of her mentally ill mother. As the story progresses, Stevie must come to accept her past if she’s going to move forward and have a future. And with any luck, that future might involve hunky neighbor, Jake. Plot The plot is jagged. It moves in so many directions, it’s hard to keep straight at times. First, there’s the overarching plot of Stevie dealing with her demons. After feeding her grief and guilt with comfort foods, she balloons to over 300 pounds and has a heart attack at the age of 32. That’s the wakeup call she needs to lose  the weight and transform herself on the outside. But the biggest issues are the wounds no one can see, the ones she does everything to hide. Then there’s the subplot with Jake, another with a coworker, another one with her art and still another with the family drama. At times it feels like there are too many balls in the air, until it becomes clear they’re linked. Once Stevie learns how to cope with her past, everything feels a bit like a juggling act. Characters This is a character-driven story and Stevie’s character is solid, deep, and authentic. Sadly the rest of the characters are not. Most feel like cliched stereotypes that are so over the top, they’re completely unbelievable. If the story was a comedy, that might have been okay, but the charicatures they portray only serve to undermine the seriousness of mental illness that the threads through the story. Bottom Line The story was good, but could have been so much better with a stronger supporting cast. There were many times when I would set the book aside and read something else because the characters were so unbelievably awful. But Stevie kept me coming back. I loved her and I wanted to see her succeed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love cathy lamb, this book is wonderful i would highly recomend it!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was hard for me to get into. I would read it and put it down. I finally got thru it. The character Helen was too difficult to understand. Cathy Lamb is a great author but this one was much different than her other books.
Trishinomaha More than 1 year ago
This is probably the one of the best books I've read in a very long time. The characters are all so well written - some you hate and some you love and wish you could invite to lunch. Well worth reading!
Reader_Grl More than 1 year ago
I have read thousands of books in my life, and at the age of 50, I must say this is the best book I have ever read. EVER! I laughed in places and cried and cheered at the end. I loved Stevie and the support she had from her wonderful cousins (who had their own set of family-related problems). As Stevie tries to find herself, she has a "secret"...as an accomplished woodworker, she crafts chairs and names them after talking with them and discovering their "personality." She then paints them in great detail according to their nature. Such a lovely, lovely idea! Thank you, Ms. Lamb, for this book. It was a true pleasure to read.
Heinze2104 More than 1 year ago
This book is wonderful!! It made me laugh out loud, and cry. I have read it several times, always enjoying it. I gave it as a gift, and she loved it too. Its my favorite book written by Cathy Lamb!!
iloveum More than 1 year ago
A great read like all of Cathy Lamb's books!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great read. Kept me intrigued throughout. Very heartfelt and emotional. Cant wait to try some of her other books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is not about being overweight or even stevie losing the weight if you are looking for a book to inspire you in weight loss or think this book is a story of a overweight women getting skinny then getting back her life this is not your story. Weight is a side story touched on enough to make since but is not the focal point. This book is about family it is beautiful and insping in the since of finding not just yourself but peace read this book it is not always happy but it is worth it . This is not a shallow weight issue book so dont expect it, it is much more
Anonymous More than 1 year ago