I spent today cleaning and working on the quilt (oh, yes, I, too, thought I was never getting back to it, but here I am) and then reading Cara Hoffman’s So Much Pretty. Whew, this is a book like a Mack Truck. I will say up front that I thought, especially in the first half of the book, that the amount of description was distracting. But I finished it up, sat here for a good five minutes wondering if I felt like the ending was horrifying or thrilling, and then immediately wondered what y’all would make of it.
I read the reviews over at Good Reads, but the folks who hated it seem to have not liked it because of its structure or because of Hoffman’s writing style. I found the structure pretty mindblowingly useful–chapters focus on different characters and are sometimes told in the first person–exactly because it kind of gets at the way you can know something is going on in a small town but not have the ability to quite put it together to really know know it. And I think her writing is fine, beautiful even.
So, fine, SPOILER ALERT.
But damn, it’s a rough book. It’s basically about three women–a woman who is abducted and held captive and gang-raped, the newspaper editor who is trying to get at the bottom of what’s going on, and the young girl who tries to get revenge on the rapists. Hoffman doesn’t go into the terrible details of what happens to the kidnapped gal, but what she does share is terrible enough. And what the young girl ends up doing is… I don’t know. I felt like, on the one hand, yes, good. But on the other hand, that she then gets away with it?
I have to say, it kind of shook me. I mean, I think Hoffman does a good job of kind of showing her as not even not sorry, as not even understanding why what she’s done would be a problem or the suffering her actions would cause, even to her own parents. And, yes, that is how teenagers act. But is it then a happy ending if she gets away?
Why would she stop killing?
But I don’t think that Hoffman necessarily thinks her book has a happy ending. So, maybe being shook is fine. After all, the guys she didn’t get to are having happy regular lives, too.
Anyway, it’s upsetting and disturbing. But it’s something, I’ll say that.