Little Beauties
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Little Beauties

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3.11 of 5 stars 3.11  ·  rating details  ·  380 ratings  ·  83 reviews
Diana McBride, a thirty-four-year-old former child pageant contender, now works in a baby store in Long Beach. Between dealing with a catastrophic haircut, the failure of her marriage, and phone calls from her alcoholic mother, Diana has gone off her OCD medication and is trying to cope via washing and cleaning rituals. When pregnant teenager Jamie Ramirez enters the store...more
Kindle Edition, 272 pages
Published (first published 2005)
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Abbey
Worst. Book. Ever.

Radha Sukhu
Little Beauties by Kim Addonizio.
Simon & Schuster, New York, 2005.

“Rule #23: Clean anything you take to bed – book, laptop, phone (51).
Homework: Confront the situations that cause you distress (119).
Remember: Each time you view your experiences as a test, you set yourself up for disappointment, discouragement, self-criticism, and resignation (223).”

Addonizio’s novel, “Little Beauties,” begins with an introduction to Diana McBride, the protagonist, who reveals in the first line of the piece t...more
Roxanne
I loved this book. It's a good story: a woman with an obsessive washing problem meets a pregnant teenager, and their unexpected friendship marks big changes ahead for both of them. Not the most original plot, but a good story, and written beautifully. From my little synopsis it might sound like another one of those novels for women that are all the same and all being churned out like crazy lately, but it's not that novel. It's written by Kim Addonizio. It's a novel by a poet. And the unborn chil...more
Kristine Dillon
Not exactly what I expected. The writing seemed subpar for a novel. This is the first book by Addonizio I have ever read. I was not really impressed with the different narrations, especially when coming from the baby. I think I could have read the whole book and skipped over those sections and it would have not been missed. As fore the ending, it was way too open ended. I didn't feel there was anythign actually accomplished or portrayed at the end. A big let down.
Sandra
I really wanted this book to be good. It showed promise in parts but the story never came together and just drifted along. The teenage mother, the OCD divorcee, and the newborn whose thoughts we are privy to are so disconnected its laughable. The only reason I didn’t give this book one star is that I finished it as I kept hoping for the best but kept getting the worst.
Wendy
Interesting premise but ultimately left me unsatisfied. The characters were a little one-dimensional and the resolution too pat.
Chantal
Ugly Beauties.

Little Beauties by Kim Addonizio. Simon & Schuster: 2005

After reading a couple of Kim Addonizio’s works, the conclusion can be made that she likes to write about women who face many hardships in their lives. From Rita in her novel My Dreams Out in the Street to Jamie and Diana in Little Beauties, these women show their true strengths through the hardships that they face throughout a limited amount of time. In Little Beauties we see the main character Diana facing her Obsessive...more
Cassandra Barboza
The story of Little Beauties takes on the perspective of three different narrators. You first get to see, Diana McBride, the main character who is a thirty four year old woman with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Her specific curse is constant washing and extreme germ phobia. At the point you enter her life, her husband, Tim, has just left her, her alcoholic mother, Gloria, continues to criticize her every action, and she is intent on leaving her fourteenth job which she generally loves. You next...more
Adrienne Santiago
“Little Beauties”
Kim Addonizio
Simon & Schuster 2005

Enter the world of Diana McBride: a former pageant star only to grow up, and become a neurotic employee of the month contender. She is constantly going from one job to the next, in search of herself, possibly. The thirty-four-year-old clearly has issues in her life that reflect on her actions. Her husband has left her, leaving her in the typical female state of waiting for the one phone call that will end her loneliness and bring back her “k...more
Lthelibrarylover
This book was ok, although the relationships between the characters and some parts of the plot seemed rushed. We are first introduced to Dianna who is a shop assistant at a baby store and struggling to control her OCD. We are next introduced to Jamie who is a pregnant teen. She meets Dianna at the baby store. Then we are introduced to Stella...

Stella is a very interesting character. At first Stella is an unborn baby who experiences life both from within the womb and through some supernatural sp...more
Catherine
My rating of 3 stars is an average of the ratings I would give each of three narrators of the book, who tell the story in alternating chapters.

Diana, dealing with her OCD without her medication after her husband's departure, I would give 5 stars. I thought her p.o.v. was very realistic and found her to be a mostly sympathetic character.

Jamie, a pregnant recent high school graduate, who hates people but loves fashion, I would give 3 stars. Her character didn't entirely make sense to me, partially...more
Samy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Katie Campbell
I really enjoyed this book. The book had three main characters: Diana McBride, Jamie Ramirez, and Jamie’s unborn child Stella. Diana is now a thirty four year old woman who used to be involved in child beauty pageants, and now she works in a baby store called Teddy’s World. I thought it was interesting how she said in the very beginning of the book that she just became the Employee of the Month in August. I liked how she said “I guess I still have a thing for titles, in spite of my official reti...more
Corinne Hanna
Little Beauties, by Kim Addonizio is about three girls: Diana, Jamie, and Stella. The book starts off with Diana, who I presume as the main character.

The first chapter is titled “Rule#1: Shower after emptying the trash.” The title reflects Diana’s weakness for germs. This chapter goes into detail about Diana’s childhood life, her mother, and how she is now thirty-four. Diana’s husband of twelve years, Tim, has just left her. In the first chapter Diana meets Jamie who comes into Teddy’s World, w...more
Shannon
“Little Beauties”
Kim Addonizio
Simon & Schuster 2005

When I first read this book I immediately thought that this is the future of the Toddlers and Tiaras contestants. Little Beauties is about the life of Diana McBride, a former child pageant star turned Employee of the Month at Teddy’s World, who suffers from a severe case of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Her life is turned upside down the day a pregnant teenager, Jamie, comes into Teddy’s World and purchases a musical bear. We follow the...more
Amanda Pagano
Three Different Perspectives

Little Beauties by Kim Addonizio
Simon & Schuster, 2006

During a time when teenage pregnancy and OCD are issues faced by many in American, Addonizio writes a story that addresses them both. Throughout the book the point of view switches between three characters, and the reader gets something different from each one. Diana McBride, a woman in her thirties with OCD, Jamie Alvarez, the pregnant teenager, and Jamie’s unborn child named Stella. While it is interesting to...more
Radha Sukhu
Little Beauties by Kim Addonizio.
Simon & Schuster, New York, 2005.

“Rule #23: Clean anything you take to bed – book, laptop, phone (51).
Homework: Confront the situations that cause you distress (119).
Remember: Each time you view your experiences as a test, you set yourself up for disappointment, discouragement, self-criticism, and resignation (223).”

Addonizio’s novel, “Little Beauties,” begins with an introduction to Diana McBride, the protagonist, who reveals in the first line of the piece t...more
Alex
Kim Addonizio manages to fuse together a quirky novel and flowing prose in Little Beauties. She creates believable characters, a heartwarming plot, and packages it into a neat little novel.
The story switches between two main characters. One of which is a woman by the name of Diana McBride, who has severe Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. She can not stick to one job or apartment because of the “contamination” that builds up. She has a list of rules, and she has stopped seeing her therapist because...more
Courtney Gustafson
I picked up Little Beauties only because I once kind of enjoyed one line of one poem by Kim Addonizio. This, it turns out, is not sufficient reason to read 242 pages of fiction by the same author.

Little Beauties is far-fetched at best. The novel tries to take on some big topics that don't all necessarily belong in the same plot: teenage pregnancy, absentee fathers, mother-daughter relationships, toddler beauty pageants, divorce, cancer, and, strangely, obsessive-compulsive disorder. The plot is...more
Marielle
Little Beauties explores another of my favorite traits, OCD. Our main character, Diana McBride, has a major washing problem that causes her husband to leave her. That and battling with post-beauty queen insecurities and a drunk mother, she has her work cut out for her, leaving jobs every few months just as she's won everyone over. Then we have Jamie, a twenty year old who is on the fast track to giving up her nearly born child to adoption services. That is until she has the baby one week early i...more
Jennifer
The writing is fluid and easy to read, and the story itself I enjoyed to a degree - however, I found it to be too light and too pretty a story to describe OCD, and a teenage mom. I was not terribly crazy about the fact that one of narrators is a baby, and knows more than she should, in terms of what things are and how the world operates. But this was a minor issue compared to the "prettiness" of the story. A few times, I felt like I was reading a romance novel, even though it was not actually he...more
Katie
I'm a BIG BIG fan of Addonizio's poetry, so fiction was a little difficult for me to get into. But I adore her so much I plunged forward.

I liked it. Don't get me wrong...I very much identified with alot in this book. I read it just after I had my own first baby and I understood the sad, immature longings of the teenage character. Diana I had a harder time understanding because I don't suffer from OCD and don't really connect with that issue. Repugnant as some of the characters are...I felt that...more
Dianna
Meh...so far...

I read the book in a few hours but it was rediculous. I could relate to some of the things about the main character, who happens to be named Diana, but the Jamie character was so one-dimensional that by the end of the book I wanted to kill her. And what's up with the man, Anthony, coming in Diana's room and taking a shower with her when they just met yesterday? It's like there are 4 bad stories going on at once and none of them have any resolution. I'm glad I didn't have anything...more
Erica
Really mixed opinion on this one... on the one hand this is one of the very few books I've read that do not attempt to "cutesify" the actually horrible symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder. Diana, a compulsive washer, has just been left by her husband due to the severity of her disorder. She meets up with Jamie, a vapid, drug addicted, knocked up teenager who decides she wants to keep her baby after all, because babies are "like, so awesome." The most repugnant character was the fetus/baby...more
Bonnie
Even though I loved this line below, there's so much more to this book.

"If only she'd asked Kevin to use a condom, but she didn't feel she knew him well enough." That's Jammie the pregnant teenager and one of the main characters in this most unusual book, and that line sums her up fairly well.

This book has much to recommend it: I couldn't put it down for long.
It's under 300 pages (always a plus). Short chapters. GREAT WRITING. A page turner.
Unusual and unexpected occurrences. The characters seem...more
Hannah
Sep 29, 2007 Hannah rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: anyone who already ownes it and needs a book to read before falling asleep at night
Not very impressed. It entwines the stores of three characters -- one has OCD, and I like that story most. One narrates as an unborn child and then as a neonate -- I hate it! I think I recommend this only for someone on a cruise or in island or other similar setting in which they want a read, but don't have access to many book choices. **My system works like this: one star if I can't even finish it. two stars if I finish it but hated it. Three stars if I liked it but it wasn't anything special....more
Patti K
This 2005 debut novel is by the wonderful poet Kim Addonizio. It is quite a start.
The story revolves around a 30-something Diana who has just been left by her husband
because of her irritating behavior. Diana is OCD with cleaning and washing, afraid of
every potential germ in her life. She works at a children's store and it is there she
meets pregnant 17 year old, Jamie. Their lives become entwined out of desperate need
on Jamie's part. She gives birth in a car and originally wants to give the baby...more
Ashley
This was a quick read that was just ok.

Little Beauties tells the story of Diana, a pageant contestant until her teen years who suffers from OCD, Jamie, a depressed pregnant teenager, and Stella, Jamie's baby. It was a quick-paced story in the beginning with the chapters bouncing back and forth between Diana, Jamie, and Stella's POV. They were likeable enough, but ultimately felt flat to me. I honestly liked Stella's POV quite a bit, until she started commingling with another character that I ju...more
Ashley Bailey
this wasnt the worst book ive ever read but it wasnt the best either...the story was actually pretty good and funny at times. but i just couldnt get over the newborn baby having its own chapters and talking about how it knows whats going on...and about being in the "before"..(before it was concieved im guessing) and seeing everyones lives and its mom and dad getting high and such...it was just odd. and i didnt like the ending. it wasnt horrible but i think the author could have given us a little...more
Nina
Addonizio entwines the lives of five people in this novel. This includes one life before she is born and one life after her death. Although this may sound a bit complicated, it was an easy read. The most memorable quote for me was:

"When Jamie first realized Stella was there, when she got drunk and kind of let herself fall down Kevin's stairs, hoping to dislodge the baby, Stella floated towards her in a dream. I forgive you, she told Jamie, and meant it."

I wish the ending went further but it seem...more
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Kim Addonizio is the author of five poetry collections including Tell Me, A National Book Award Finalist. Her latest is Lucifer at the Starlite, from W.W. Norton.

Her collection of stories, The Palace of Illusions, will be published by Counterpoint/Soft Skull in September 2014.

Addonizio has also authored two instructional books on writing poetry: The Poet's Companion (with Dorianne Laux), and Ordin...more
More about Kim Addonizio...
The Poet's Companion: A Guide to the Pleasures of Writing Poetry Tell Me What Is This Thing Called Love: Poems Ordinary Genius: A Guide for the Poet Within Lucifer at the Starlite: Poems

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“Out there people are working and arguing and laughing, living their beautiful, terrible lives, falling in love and having babies and being bored out of their skulls and feeling depressed, then being consoled by some little thing like watching the patterns the light makes through the leaves of trees, casting shadows on the sidewalks.
I remember the line from that poem now.
Downward to darkness, on extended wings.”
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