Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Reasons to Be Pretty” as Want to Read:
Reasons to Be Pretty
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Reasons to Be Pretty (Reasons to Be... #1)

3.51  ·  Rating Details ·  1,376 Ratings  ·  85 Reviews
In Reasons to Be Pretty, Greg's tight-knit social circle is thrown into turmoil when his offhand remarks about a female coworker's pretty face and his own girlfriend Steph's lack thereof get back to Steph. But that's just the beginning. Greg's best buddy, Kent, and Kent's wife, Carly, also enter into the picture, and the emotional equation becomes exponentially more compli ...more
Paperback, 152 pages
Published June 24th 2008 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Reasons to Be Pretty, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Reasons to Be Pretty

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Kristy
Feb 23, 2010 Kristy rated it it was ok
It's weird, because as I was reading this, I had the impression that Neil LaBute may be getting script inspiration from Maury Povich, but then I also saw the germs of actual interesting good ideas in the play and thought that maybe a (sorry Neil) better playwright would read this and craft something really tragic and amazing. So it's like a trickle up theory with him.

I just never like how his characters are so obviously bad or good. Kent is RIDICULOUS. Who acts like this? Let me rephrase, I've
...more
Rosie
Sep 20, 2015 Rosie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: educational
Read this for my Acting For Stage module as I will be using a monologue from it.

It was OKAY. I mean, I think you have to SEE a play to really appreciate it but from the outside and on the page it just seems like a bunch of people arguing.

I liked some aspects of it but it seemed rushed but like I said, seeing it would be totally different.

Tung
Jan 07, 2012 Tung rated it liked it
Shelves: drama
This play by LaBute consists only of four characters: Greg (a young good-looking guy), Greg’s girlfriend Steph (who is plain-looking), Greg’s friend and co-worker Kent (good-lucking), and Kent’s wife Carly who is Steph’s good friend (and also very good-looking). One day Greg and Kent are chatting about another good-looking co-worker when Greg offhandedly compares Steph to the good-looking co-worker and calls her “regular” looking. Carly overhears this and tells Steph about Greg’s comment, and th ...more
Ziying
Feb 25, 2014 Ziying rated it really liked it
My favourite character is Greg. He's just so good-natured and humorous. He gets confused by women, especially Steph sometimes but you can't blame him. Despite the things he said, he's still a good guy and he still loves Steph. I love the final scene with his monologue. So much character development has shown in this character it's impressive. Steph is an awesome character too. I think Neil LaBute got the female perspective very well in this play. Two different female characters, one plain-lookin ...more
Andrew
Jan 23, 2010 Andrew rated it really liked it
Shelves: plays
I got introduced to this play when a couple of friends performed the first scene as part of an acting class. It was amazing how captivating Labute's work can be with actors who know how to utilize the timing, punctuation and interjections. Labute, like Pinter, has a gift for infusing an otherwise ambiguous line with layers or meaning.
I found one of the key conflicts in this play to be the characters inability to adequately communicate, to fully articulate what was meant. It is easier for Greg t
...more
Lee
Sep 03, 2013 Lee rated it it was amazing
I read this play knowing a bit of Labute's work, mostly from his movies, In The Company Of men and Nurse Betty which i liked a lot. I loved his play! Four young characters, in their twenties, to couples who hang, work, and it together. Their story is told on a minimal set in a combination dialogue and monologue scenes. I would love to see it and direct it. It is funny and shocking and sad all at the same time. I need to read more Labute!
Molly
Feb 29, 2016 Molly rated it it was amazing
A friend recommended this as a play I might want to direct. I loved it. The character of Steph really resonated with me as lately I've been feeling down about my appearance and wondering if I'm at all pretty. The fact that she takes control of her life and doesn't let Greg weigh her down was inspiring. And LaBute's preface also struck quite a chord.

Now I think I'd like to be in this play.
Kaitlin
Mar 02, 2017 Kaitlin rated it did not like it
It was alright. Not my cup of tea.
Jonathan
Sep 22, 2009 Jonathan rated it liked it
To be fair, this was not the final book for LaBute's play. Which is good, as I found the dialogue remarkably lacking or uninteresting in a few patches, especially striking because it's *him*.

LaBute's stuff (In the Company of Men, Bash, The Mercy Seat) is often subtle and nuanced. His comedies are bleak and not laden with guffaws. You have to work for the reward of the jokes, and they're usually coupled with a hearty heap of weightiness, regret, or pain.

This play centers on two couples, and the m
...more
Chris
Aug 25, 2008 Chris rated it it was amazing
LaBute is an interesting writer, and I'd be hard-pressed to think of another playwright who accurately shows how everyday people can chew each other up and spit them out for one reason or another as he does (yes Patrick Marber is great at this too, but his tongue is more advanced than the folk LaBute shows us). His specialty seems to be the casual cruelty of the average joe. What is frequently the most fascinating aspect of his plays, however, are the REASON, or at least reasoning, behind this c ...more
Bobbi
Oct 12, 2010 Bobbi rated it it was amazing
Reasons to be Pretty is a play which follows the lives of characters Greg and Steph. The beginning of the book is at the end of their relationship. Steph hears from a fellow friend of hers, that Gred has called her face "plain". This causes a huge argument and even after they had been together for four years Steph leaves Greg.

What I liked most about this book is Greg's persistance to wanting to get back with Steph. Throughout the whole book he stays with open arms and welcome her if she would re
...more
Jessica
Sep 28, 2008 Jessica rated it it was ok
I have only read a couple of Neil LaBute’s plays, but I have hitherto been impressed with his gumption and his writing. Reasons To Be Pretty, though, left me a little disappointed. In this play, LaBute explores the human fascination with physical beauty. As with many of LaBute’s plays, there are only four characters: Greg, his girlfriend Steph, Steph’s bestfriend Carly, and Carly’s husband Kent.

After Greg comments on a coworker’s pretty face and Steph’s lack of a pretty face, his world is turned
...more
Amy
A poignant and timely play by Neil Labute, debuted in 2007, and recently in Boston, it beautifully illustrates how the notions of beauty, and the definitions of beauty inform and change for two different women on the beauty scale, and for the men they are in relationship with. I found the writing and concepts interesting - but what I loved, was that the dialogued was interspersed with monologues from each of the four characters. I'm sorry I missed the play, but enjoyed the read very much.

A clini
...more
Julia Curtis
Jun 05, 2013 Julia Curtis rated it liked it
3.5 stars.
A vulgar story which sheds light on areas that our society today doesn't like to talk about. This show takes every aspect on how our world views beauty and puts it into four characters. You have the pig, the confused one who is really trying to figure it all out, the one who is beautiful but is cursed by it, and the one who isn't "beautiful" and is cursed by it. LaBute strips the shield off of the areas we would rather just avoid, and yet brings them to light in a way that really gets
...more
Ian Hrabe
Jun 09, 2016 Ian Hrabe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I can't stress enough how great these LA Theatre Works performances are. LaBute directs this one himself and the whole cast is great (notably Thomas Sadoski, who originated the role of Greg on Broadway, and Jenna Fischer, playing delightfully against type as Steph) and really drives home the fact that his snappy dialogue is meant to be heard. Though the play's two couples + relationship conflict = drama formula is a tried and true one, Reasons to Be Pretty excels by having the aforementioned awe ...more
Kristin
Jul 26, 2011 Kristin rated it liked it
Shelves: theater
Although it is nice to see one of Labute's characters actually grow, I think I prefer the other plays I've read of his (although a more recent reading of them would provide a better means of comparing) That said, Reasons is still solidly high quality, as I've come to expect from Labute. Real talent for dialogue (once you get used to reading with the slashes to overlap lines) and he's not easy on his characters, doesn't insist on giving you a traditional happy ending, but usually finds one that's ...more
Jason
May 22, 2009 Jason rated it did not like it
Incredibly disappointed with this piece. This is such a let down, considering how sharp and incendiary Mr. LaBute can be-this play should have been much better than it was. I put it down 40 pages into it because I couldn't be bothered-because I wasn't engaged with any of the characters. The boyfriend refers to his girlfriend's face as normal. She completely flies off the handle and over reacts in a huge way to this comment even though she admits that she knows she normal looking and he apologize ...more
Sarah
May 15, 2009 Sarah rated it it was amazing
Shelves: plays
LaBute tackles conceptions of beauty and the importance society places on it in this play. Modern dialogue doesn't get much better than this. LaBute's style is so natural that the interactions between the characters just flows beautifully. The issues he raises about conceptions of beauty and how it affects both men and women are insightful and gives the reader a lot to think about.

I also liked his "moments" with the characters. It is always hard to make monologues natural, so he just lets them
...more
Jeff Arena
Jan 06, 2014 Jeff Arena rated it really liked it
This is top-tier Neil LaBute, a play in which some characters actual develop instead of simply being exposed. There's a looseness to the structure of the dialogue that feels less mannered then some of the author's works. To balance that out, there's a strong push forward by the structure of the work, with each scene carrying the reader/audience forward with the characters. It feels like the author has compassion for these people, rather than his typical condemnation. For that reason, Reasons to ...more
Angela
Mar 10, 2013 Angela rated it it was amazing
Saw this play on Broadway when it debuted. I then read it a couple years later because I remember how it tugged at my heart-strings. Again, it's another great example of the self-image debate that Neil Labute always seems to raise in his plays. I really feel like I'm along for the ride of the emotional roller-coaster the main character takes. Spoiler Alert...when the two guys get into a physical fight I almost wanted to stand up in the theatre and cheer for the main guy. That's how attached you ...more
Chriscarrea
Jan 26, 2009 Chriscarrea rated it really liked it
This guy just pumps them out... It's true to the LaBute canon - celebrates the uncomfortable and the "now that's just wrong" of our everyday lives. It's good stuff because it doesn't shy away from the dark underbelly of human nature, and our vain, primal, predictable behavior... I thought it slightly demoralizing, but then I think, "Hey, maybe this guy's doing me a favor - helping me lower my expectations". At the same time he did manage to keep some hope alive, because his character's grew a li ...more
Cody Cornwell
Mar 06, 2015 Cody Cornwell rated it it was ok
Without a doubt another interesting work by LaBute. Being fairly new to his works and having recently performed "The Shape of Things", I went into this play expecting another incredible work. However, it seems that LaBute has a certain flavor (which can be a bit bland at times) and to me this was merely a cut and paste job, transplanting the characters from Shape and just changing their names. All-in-all though the play has an incredible message, and if it had been a bit more original it would h ...more
Pinky
Apr 12, 2015 Pinky rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-15
How much is pretty worth? How much damage does pretty do? How harmful is the lack of pretty?

This play is about four friends. It's about gossip and lies and betrayal and infidelity and finding yourself and what you need in life. Sometimes that's sad. Even when it puts you in a better place.

*a ton of arguing and swearing. I was feeling a little tense when I started this and it just kept escalating.
James Daher
It takes a lot of effort to not give this the one star rating that I'm saving for a truly awful book. This was bad. Superficial characters and the plot does not move. The conflict gets nowhere and the 4 characters are all exaggerated overdone archetypes. I wanted to stop reading it after about 16 pages but it's so short that I figured I'd finish it to write this review. Part of the new movement of trashy YA "Literature."
Nancy
Sep 03, 2008 Nancy rated it did not like it
At first, like eating turnips. Then, like cold broth. All that yelling. eesh. Served only to wear me out. I was embarrassed for the characters because they seemed condescendingly drawn. However: there is something to the question about how we are attracted to physical beauty, how those who are classically beautiful experience life differently than those who are not. For me, no interesting insights here.
Maria
Jan 17, 2014 Maria rated it it was ok
In the notes of the play, it says Allison Pill was cast as Steph, and I imagined her acting in it as she was acting in The Newsroom, and I got so annoyed by her (hearing her in my head as I read anyway), which probably did little to make me like this book. This book is a little too preachy for me and there were even monologues to hammer it in our heads. That being said, I liked the characterization of Greg, but I was expecting more from this.
Elizabeth
Although the nothing fights in this play are realistic, raw, and something I experienced way too many times with an ex-boyfriend, they're not actually interesting or enjoyable to watch or read about. LaBute's dialogue is abrasive and exhausting, his characters thin and spineless (not to mention they all speak exactly the same), and the whole thing is considerably depressing. I have to do this for a class so we'll see how well it plays once it's on its feet, but I'm not very hopeful.
Scott
May 14, 2009 Scott rated it it was ok
Very disappointing. It lacks the acidic quality we've come to know and love from LaBute's work. This is truly an example of much ado about nothing. When a dude refers to his girlfriend's face as "regular," she overreacts and verbally assaults him. Truly she has some deeper issues LaBute felt like ignoring. Strongest parts of the piece are the individuals' monolouges, but, alas, there are but four of them.
Ellesse
Jan 01, 2010 Ellesse rated it really liked it
Shelves: plays
Of course- it's Labute- I'm going to love it. I really enjoyed this play- I was intrigued to hear that the Broadway production didn't include the four character monologues that are in this text because frankly they were my favorite parts- quick easy character development- but probably the only reason I love that so much is because I'm an actor not a playwright... anywho- great insight on four different concepts on Beauty, all conflicting, and all viable.
Peyton Banks
Mar 13, 2016 Peyton Banks rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Feminists, Sociology Majors, and those that appreciate wit
Shelves: read-2016
This play was very interesting. I didn't connect to the characters very well, but the symbolic payoff made the reading worth it. This is definitely thought provoking. It raises questions about what beauty really means, what it really counts for. I appreciated that. I also really loved the character monologues. They were very insightful and funny. In fact, the character Greg is the personification of wit. I really enjoyed the humor here.

« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Time Stands Still
  • Dog Sees God
  • Red
  • The Clean House
  • Red Light Winter
  • Bug
  • The Seafarer
  • Rabbit Hole
  • Three Plays: Gruesome Playground Injuries / Animals Out of Paper / Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo
  • Speed-the-Plow
  • Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
  • Stop Kiss
  • A Bright Room Called Day
  • This is Our Youth
  • Burn This
  • Spike Heels
  • Venus - Acting Edition
  • Almost, Maine
17542
Neil LaBute is an American film director, screenwriter and playwright.

Born in Detroit, Michigan, LaBute was raised in Spokane, Washington. He studied theater at Brigham Young University (BYU), where he joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. At BYU he also met actor Aaron Eckhart, who would later play leading roles in several of his films. He produced a number of plays that pushed
...more
More about Neil LaBute...

Other Books in the Series

Reasons to Be... (2 books)
  • Reasons to Be Happy

Share This Book



“The future is now. It's time to grow up and be strong. Tomorrow may well be too late.” 2877 likes
More quotes…