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Diary of an Ugly Duckling Mass Market Paperback – June 27, 2006
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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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.Read more ›
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
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.
Author of "Where is the Love?"
emanuelcarpenter dot com
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I enjoyed reading this book. It brought out many different emotions; laughter, tears, anger, sadness and joy. I would definitely recommend this book.Published on September 16, 2012 by Debs
It took me a while to finish this one, but it was like a fine wine that had to be consumed and savored in small doses. Read morePublished on October 27, 2011 by Penelope53
After all the bad books I've read lately, "Diary of an Ugly Duckling" was such a breath of fresh air. Read morePublished on March 6, 2010 by D. Howard
I was quite impressed with this novel's storyline!!! I loved the way the author dealt with self-love/-hate... Read morePublished on September 5, 2008 by Ms. Kym
Thank you Ms. Langhorne for writing such a well rounded story. It was funny, painful, shocking, and simply interesting. I look forward to reading more of your work.Published on May 4, 2008 by Cosmic Girl
This was an excellent story of what it's like to perceive yourself as so ugly you'd do anything to change. Read morePublished on March 16, 2008 by Ruth Axtell
Honestly this book was basicially off the reality show "The Ugly Duckling!" Some of the events were just what the the reality show was airing on tv!!! Read morePublished on September 7, 2007 by It's me!
Diary of an Ugly Duckling was fascinating,incredible and ingenious. The story makes every reader do a self examination of what they have believed to be beautiful and what is not. Read morePublished on September 29, 2006 by Emma L. Hill