Erica's Reviews > A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty

A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty by Joshilyn Jackson
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Jan 18, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: dead-friends-and-family, growing-up, love-and-romance, mystery, real-life-fiction, teen-pregnancy, women-and-girls
Read from March 05 to 11, 2012

I had the rare opportunity to sit and read this book over the course of a couple of days so I was really able to get into the story. Normally, I take weeks to finish a book and all the stopping and starting makes it hard to get caught up in what's going on. Maybe the fact that I could read it all in one sitting is what made the story so enjoyable for me.
I appreciated how this tied in so nicely with several other books I've read recently, echoing themes of teen pregnancy, mother and daughter relationships, and identity confusion.
At first, I didn't take the story seriously. The language is a bit hard to follow - I'm sure it would be easier to listen to this story than to read it - because of strange sentence structure and speech patterns. I expected Mosey to have her own vocabulary since that's what teenage girls do, make up their own kind of language, but to read the adults' odd ways of speech was disconcerting for awhile. So it started out a bit bumpy and got a little worse before it got better. I had a problem with Liza's point of view suddenly appearing and having it be in third-person, though I understood why it was.
If I'm to be completely honest, though, I think the appeal of the story, for me, was its tawdriness. I mean, it starts out with a woman who had had a daughter at age 15 and then her daughter, who was a wild child, did the same and now they're facing the potential of that daughter, now-fifteen, following the pattern, though that daughter, Mosey, makes it very clear she does not intend to be a teen mother. The story quickly goes from general I'm-Better-Than-These-People type gossipy-ness to downright sleazy. Sex and drugs and pseudo-druidism, dead babies (plural!), pedophiles, attempted murder...it's all there. I'm sure beastiality would have fit right in had the moment presented itself.
But the thing is, it's never graphic. (Sometimes that is sad because I'd have loved some of the sex scenes to be a little steamier) It's all written prudishly enough to be tasteful and not offensive. I found myself adoring the entire family and rooting for each one of them along their paths. What I liked most, though, was that once the story had really gained momentum, each chapter ended where you didn't want it to end, almost like a cliff-hanger. The next chapter picked up with one of the other women and it was disappointing until I realized that each character was going through some thrilling stuff so it was like bouncing from one juicy topic to the next and coming back around to get a bit more each time. I loved that.
This is the first book I've read in a long time that I didn't want to end. I was a bit panicky as I saw the pages running out. I wanted it to keep going because I wanted to stay with Ginny, Liza, and Mosey a little longer. I think I might try the audiobook just so I can enjoy the story again in a different format.
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