So Much Pretty by Cara Hoffman
|So Much Pretty by Cara Hoffman|
|Reviewer: Susmita Chatto|
|Summary: Haeden, New York is a small town of the type where nothing really happens. When 19 year old Wendy White goes missing, the local reporter, Stacy Flynn, thinks she’s found her big break, but her investigations lead her to a wall of silence which proves highly distressing to break through.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 320||Date: February 2012|
|Publisher: Random House|
|External links: Author's website|
Haeden, New York is a small town of the type where nothing really happens. When 19 year old Wendy White goes missing, the local reporter, Stacy Flynn, thinks she’s found her big break, but her investigations lead her to a wall of silence which proves highly distressing to break through. Hoffman’s observations of small town life and small town personalities are compelling. No aspect is left unexamined, from the painful tedium to the quite contentment experienced as part of a whole spectrum of emotions experienced by visitors and residents alike.
The wide cast have not all lived in Haeden for all their lives; the difference between the open minds of outsiders and the limited imagination of those who cannot think beyond Haeden and what they think they know about it, is highlighted all the time. This leads to hostility between all kinds of residents – and this doesn’t help in terms of finding out what happened to Wendy White.
Hoffman has taken a thorough approach to this novel and no detail is lacking in significance. For example, Scoop the male editor’s criticism of his female employee’s dress sense is a precursor to showing attitudes of sexism throughout the novel. At the start of the story, I felt that I would take to Hoffman’s writing style immediately. In terms of the writing itself, that was the case throughout the book. However, the structure of the story detracted somewhat from the overall tale.
Telling a story in a choppy style can be very effective, but in this case, especially in the early part of the book, I found it very frustrating to be taken away from a path that I wanted to follow right away, and usually led to another piece of background. All these parts have relevance, but could have been better placed. It also became hard to relate to some of the peripheral characters, even those – Alice in particular – who are so key to the story.
This is not just a story of a missing girl, but also a story which outlines the bizarre mindset of those who make a point of mistreating women. The strongest aspect of this novel is how Hoffman demonstrates how the smallest prejudices and misunderstandings can lead to a more sinister mindset. Her insight into the psychology of violence is eye-opening and cleverly wrapped in this chilling novel.
If this book appeals then you might like to try The Poison Tree by Erin Kelly
You can read more book reviews or buy So Much Pretty by Cara Hoffman at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy So Much Pretty by Cara Hoffman at Amazon.com.
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