So Much Pretty

So Much Pretty

A Novel

Book - 2011
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Baker & Taylor
A dark tale inspired by a true case encountered by the author as a police beat reporter follows the experiences of a young victim of domestic violence whose memory is further compromised by community perceptions.

& Taylor

A dark tale inspired by a true case encountered by the author as a police beat reporter follows the experiences of a young victim of domestic violence whose memory is further compromised by community perceptions. A first novel. 75,000 first printing.

Simon and Schuster
“A mixture of The Lovely Bones and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.”—Booklist

When she disappeared from her rural hometown, Wendy White was a sweet, family-oriented girl, a late bloomer who’d recently moved out on her own, with her first real boyfriend and a job waiting tables at the local tavern. It happens all the time—a woman goes missing, a family mourns, and the case remains unsolved. Stacy Flynn is a reporter looking for her big break. She moved east from Cleveland, a city known for its violent crime, but that’s the last thing she expected to cover in Haeden. This small, upstate New York town counts a dairy farm as its main employer and is home to families who’ve set down roots and never left—people who don’t take kindly to outsiders. Flynn is researching the environmental impact of the dairy, and the way money flows outward like the chemical runoff, eventually poisoning those who live at the edges of its reach.

Five months after she disappeared, Wendy’s body is found in a ditch just off one of Haeden’s main roads. Suddenly, Flynn has a big story, but no one wants to talk to her. No one seems to think that Wendy’s killer could still be among them. A drifter, they say. Someone “not from here.”

Fifteen-year-old Alice Piper is an imaginative student with a genius IQ and strong ideals. The precocious, confident girl has stood out in Haeden since the day her eccentric hippie parents moved there from New York City, seeking a better life for their only child. When Alice reads Flynn’s passionate article in the Haeden Free Press about violence against women—about the staggering number of women who are killed each day by people they know—she begins to connect the dots of Wendy’s disappearance and death, leading her to make a choice: join the rest in turning a blind eye, or risk getting involved. As Flynn and Alice separately observe the locals’ failure to acknowledge a murderer in their midst, Alice’s fate is forever entwined with Wendy’s when a second crime rocks the town to its core.

Stylishly written, closely observed, and bracingly unexpected, So Much Pretty leads the reader into the treacherous psychology of denial, where the details of an event are already known, deeply and intuitively felt, but not yet admitted to, reconciled or revealed.

Publisher: New York : Simon & Schuster, c2011
Edition: 1st Simon & Schuster hardcover ed
ISBN: 9781451616750
Branch Call Number: MYSTERY HOF
Characteristics: 283 p. ;,24 cm.


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Nov 09, 2012

Not an easy read, but mesmerizing...

Mar 17, 2012

Wow. Well written, smart, suspenseful, and important: the author tackles violence against women/girls and the erosion of morality in favor of money in our culture in a way that builds as you turn pages, raises awareness and outrage. A slam-bang, consciousness-raising book that I couldn't put down. Look at all those stars by reviewers and trust them. Read it. Urge your friends to read it, too. It's NOT pretty, but it's worth your time, if you're brave enough.

Mar 17, 2012

For some reason, reminds me of Alice Sebolds's "The Lovely Bones." Very, very dark. But most of all? Shatters any hope that there is a middle ground. That there is any such thing as traditional values in a modern world. Perhaps, that there is any such thing as values at all, apart from power and the elements that struggle against it. If you read this book, be prepared to be thinking about it for a good long time.

Feb 21, 2012

Very confusing and dark. I like how it tied everything together in the end, but almost wish there had been a bit more of a chronological background and more resolution, but still good.

Jun 16, 2011

Essentially, this is a book about privilege (sex and class), and the assumptions people make based on their perceptions of such.

May 06, 2011

What starts as a typical suspense/whodunnit type of thing becomes more rich and layered the more you read. Told from many perspectives of a few different characters and documents, the story of a missing girl in a small town becomes so much more by the time you’re done reading and the way the different sides of a couple crimes are revealed are so well written and observed that this becomes a great book.

Exploring themes of Feminism, Class, Environmentalism, Small-town-life-vs.-Big-City, So Much Pretty had me hooked. The people in this book were always fascinating and this reads way better than books like this tend to. You will question when a member of a society has the obligation to speak up, to tell, even at the risk of their own comfort. I highly recommend this book and will be waiting less than patiently for Hoffman’s second book.

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