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Diary of an Ugly Duckling Mass Market Paperback – June 27, 2006


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTorch; First Edition edition (June 27, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060847557
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060847555
  • Product Dimensions: 1.1 x 4.6 x 6.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,175,600 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Karyn Langhorne is a graduate of Harvard Law School and a former law professor. No longer practicing law, she is now the host of the weekly talk show The Book Squad on WMET 1160 in the District of Columbia. When she’s not interviewing other authors, she writes. Her publications include articles on writing for Writers Digest and a weekly American Idol column (during show season) for a popular website, as well as several books of nonfiction, a dozen screenplays, and an off-Broadway play. She lives in the Washington, D.C., suburbs with her husband and two daughters.


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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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See all 15 customer reviews
Overall, this was a very pleasant read.
Mikeisha Best
I doubt it; we needed more and it was given to us.... The author took us through what may truly go on with these so-called reality shows of today!!
Ms. Kym
The author really gives an insight into what it's like to be on the receiving end of people picking on you because of your looks.
MarmaladeGal

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By MarmaladeGal on January 11, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is a must read. It takes a modern day spin on an ugly duckling theme. This story is told in a very humorous yet sensitive manner. There is an element of romance, which has you wanting Audra to end up with her prince Art.

The author really gives an insight into what it's like to be on the receiving end of people picking on you because of your looks. Audra considers herself "fat, ugly and black" and her interaction with her mother and the people she interacts with and the way they treat her makes her feel bad about herself on the inside and out.

Then the chance of a lifetime. A reality show offering a free makeover with plastic surgery and fitness and a chance to be "beautiful". Sounds too good to be true. It is. This book shows how these reality shows are often only in it for the ratings and revenue and don't really care about the individual. However through this outward journey "to fix " her appearance, Audra is able to also look at her inner self and resolve some of the issue which affected they way she felt about herself.

It also tackles head on how the view that the lighter skinned you are the more beautiful you are considered. And the extremes to which people will sometimes go to achieve lighter skin. And how the images we see in the media of successful people of color, often feature people of a certain lighter skin tone giving this idea credence.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Mikeisha Best on August 6, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"Diary of an Ugly Duckling" was my first dose of Karyn Langhorne's work. I had never heard of her before, however, I thought that I would do something differently and read a book authored by someone unfamiliar to me. I read the review of the book and said to myself, "Hmmm, seems interesting enough." My assumption was right! The plot, the characters, and the fashion in which she told her story were creative and innovative. Langhorne is one of the most descriptive authors I have come across in some time; She is great at giving the reader explicative details, luring the reader in all the while.

The dramatic "Diary of an Ugly Duckling" is a fable about a woman named Audra Marks. Audra is a classic movie fanatic and exudes great personality with her sarcasm and constant clowning. However, most people in her life consider her "fat, black and ugly." A few of the characters in this book feel that Audra uses her wit and satirical remarks because the world finds her unattractive. After one too many negative criticisms about her physical appearance, she decides she wants to be a contestant on a television show called "The Ugly Duckling". This show claims that they can make unsightly folk look gorgeous.

Audra works as a corrections officer and a few pages into the book we read that she has a new, very attractive male co-worker, Art Bradshaw. Although Audra is attracted to Art, he is seemingly completely uninterested in her. This is implied because when they converse, he rarely looks into her face, he prefers to look at or over her shoulder. Audra feels that if she alters her appearance she may have a chance with Art.

Another conflict that arises in the story is that Audra is unsure of who her paternal father is.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Emanuel Carpenter... Author/Reviewer on July 28, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
What's a woman to do when she considers herself fat, black and ugly? This is the question the protagonist in "Diary of an Ugly Ducking" by Karyn Langhorne (Street Level) is faced with. The woman, Audra Marks, works as a corrections officer by day and lives for classic movies by night. The thing she wants most in this world is the attention of a handsome but seemingly uninterested co-worker, Art Bradshaw.

Audra's life is taken for a rollercoaster ride when she is chosen as a participant on a reality TV show. Though she accepts the offer to be beautified, the price (which includes many surgeries, therapy and skin lightening while the cameras are rolling non-stop) may be too much to pay. Meanwhile there's also family to deal with, including as a sister in a war zone whose e-mails are dwindling, a niece who depends on her and a mother who is dead set against her total body makeover. The question is, will she be able to handle the pressure, live with her choices and still win the man of her dreams?

"Diary of an Ugly Duckling" is a superb work of fiction. Langhorne's writing not only comes to life but it also challenges your thinking on issues such as our society's idea of who is beautiful and the importance of racial identity. It is by far one of the best books of 2006 thus far. This work and this writer will be celebrated for many years to come. You will love this page-turner.

Emanuel Carpenter

Author of "Where is the Love?"

emanuelcarpenter dot com
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By The RAWSISTAZ Reviewers on February 9, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and sadly, Audra Marks definitely doesn't see herself as beautiful. Instead, she jokes about being big, black and ugly; though it bothers her that she sees herself this way. She uses her bigger than life personality to hide behind, along with her love of classic movies. Armed with both, she plans to approach Art Bradshaw, the new corrections officer at her job, with the perfect line to win him over, but is thwarted by an altercation with an inmate. Though she doesn't get to make a grand entrance, Art later invites her to his daughter's birthday party. Believing she's been invited as a guest of his, she is quickly corrected when his daughter shoots off at the mouth, attacking her and calling her ugly, and telling her why she thinks her Dad really invited Audra.

At her lowest, Audra decides to take control of her life and enters a contest for a reality show which promises to turn women from ugly ducklings into the beautiful images they desire. This begins her journey into finding herself and what truly makes her special. When she is chosen as the first black woman to be made over on the show, her life takes a major turn--not necessarily for the best; especially when she's told she'll have to lighten her skin. Audra must dig deep and decide which is more important, her inner beauty or the outer beauty visible to others.

DIARY OF AN UGLY DUCKLING reminded me of the reality show "The Swan" minus the background drama of her family and secret love of Art. I enjoyed the author's use of well-rounded characters, humor, and originality in the aspect of Audra's love for movie classics. It was easy to get caught up in the story revolving around self-confidence and learning to love yourself as you are.

Reviewed by Tee C. Royal

of The RAWSISTAZ Reviewers
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