Lindsey's Reviews > So Much Pretty

So Much Pretty by Cara Hoffman
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Feb 16, 2012

it was ok
bookshelves: crime-mystery, fiction, on-cd, books-read-in-2012
Read from February 09 to 16, 2012

Not a fan of this book. There was a lot of potential but I don't think the author pulled it all together. I feel she tried to say too much.

The plot was lacking, but it felt more like it was more an excuse for a social essay on violence against women, small town violence, factory farming, big pharma, school violence, eating locally, growing your own food, blah blah blah.

SPOILERS

From the jacket I thought I would be reading a book about the murder of Wendy White, but that really didn't seem to be at the core of the story. We never find out exactly who raped her, only who Alice thinks raped her. And then Alice extracts her revenge in an attack at school.

I thought it was really far fetched that everyone and their father in Haeden would know where Wendy was and rape her, but no one would talk. I know from looking at the other comments that was based on a true story but I didn't buy it here. If the author was going to pull that off then I think we would have to have known more about what happened to Wendy when she was held captive and also get a better picture of her abusers. Instead the characters and motivations are just glossed over and it seems like that was an element of the plot just for shock value.

While reading I thought at least all the environmental issues would eventually tie in with the motive for murder but that, and many of the other "themes" don't seem to have anything to do with the plot.

Wendy was the only character who I found likeable. I thought the relationship between Con, Mikki, Claire, and Gene was very strange. Con and Mikki are central characters but I still can't figure out what they add to the plot other than being the link that sent the Pipers to Haeden. Alice was a peculiar child and at times she seemed much younger than her age, and at other times overly mature. I never felt like the Pipers were a real family and didn't sense a real connection between any of them. It was so odd that Alice referred to her parents by their first names constantly.

I don't have a problem with jumping around in time, and switching points of view, but it didn't work here. There were a lot of chapters that had nothing to do with the story, but were an excuse to talk about things like pollution, and especially the pharma industry. There were also several sections that were interviews with townspeople which really seemed disjointed and didn't add much. It sort of felt like City Confidential or something, but without the juicy parts.

Another gripe I had was all the chapters that were just Alice's school reports. I started to skip through them. I don't know what the author was trying to show besides that Alice was a smart kid, but I already had that figured out.

One more annoyance I have to mention... practically every scene we hear about how things smelled. The author overdid it with the descriptive language in a lot of trivial scenes. We get it, Gene smells like sweat and dirt.

I listened to this on cd and didn't care for the narrator either (Somewhat Bruneau). Her voices for each character were over exaggerated, and she had a bit of a whistle when she talked. Her reading of child characters was especially maddening.

So why not one star? Hmm, well there were glimmers of promise and a few times when I was engaged and excited for what happened next (although ended up let down each time).
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02/16/2012 page 150
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