Title: Such a Pretty Face
Author: Cathy Lamb
Release Date: August 1, 2010
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Source: Curled Up With a Good Book
Rating: 4 out of 5
When Stevie Barrett had a heart attack at the tender age of 32, she immediately knew that nothing would be the same. She had always drowned her insecurities and unhappiness in food, but after a weight loss surgery and losing 170 pounds, that’s no longer an option. Stevie is haunted by the memories of her schizophrenic mother and Sunshine, the younger sister that Stevie couldn’t save. After her mother killed herself and Sunshine, Stevie was sent to live with her Aunt Janet and Uncle Herbert. Growing up, Herbert made Stevie feel unwelcome and terrorized his entire family. As a result, Stevie’s cousin Polly is still struggling with anorexia – another eating disorder that stemmed from the same place. As Stevie tries to muddle through the (many) difficulties in her life, she begins to realize who she really is, and which people lift her up as well as which try to tear her down.
Such a Pretty Face by Cathy Lamb is a novel that deals with many different issues. Stevie is still insecure after her surgery. Though she may have been transformed on the outside, nothing has changed on the inside. As a morbidly obese woman, Stevie had perfected the art of being as quiet as possible. She never stood up for herself because she didn’t want people to notice her. When they did, all they saw was her weight. As the novel progresses, Stevie beings to find herself, and she realizes that there is more to her than her weight. She sees that she needs to stand up for herself. Stevie is an incredibly endearing and sympathetic character and it’s gratifying to watch her find her voice and use it.
The novel flashes back and forth from Stevie’s present to past. The reader sees the person she has become, as well as the story of how she became who she is. While the situation with Helen, Stevie’s mother, is completely heartbreaking, it’s not quite as compelling as Stevie’s present day journey. As a result, readers may become impatient with the constant flashbacks, eager to return to the Stevie they have come to know and love.
The secondary characters in Such a Pretty Face also play an important role. From Stevie’s cousin Lance to her neighbor Jake, these personalities are unique and interesting. The supporting cast of the book really make it worth reading, as they are the challenges Stevie has to face. From encouraging Polly to seek treatment for her anorexia to standing up to Herbert and Eileen, Stevie’s growth is fostered through the people around her. It’s very well done and emphasizes how important the people in Stevie’s life are to her.
Such a Pretty Face was a gratifying read with an amazingly written main character. Readers will wrap themselves in Stevie’s life, not wanting to let go. Her joys and sorrows become the reader’s as they become emotionally involved in her journey. Though the flashbacks can be tedious at times, overall this is an engaging and well-written novel that fans of women’s fiction should definitely pick up.