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Such A Pretty Face Paperback – August 1, 2010

4.3 out of 5 stars 156 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A 30-something's makeover hits a few snags in Lamb's wan latest. Stevie Barrett has lost 170 pounds since she had a heart attack at age 32, but she still struggles with the same old dysfunctions: horrifying memories of her insane mother drowning her sister, the toxic uncle who raised her, and deep insecurities that see her sabotaging herself at every turn. Adjusting to her new body, Stevie struggles to carve a self-image as she helps her cousins plan their parents' 40th anniversary party and battles a moral dilemma at the law firm where she works as a legal assistant. Lamb (The Last Time I Was Me) writes with an acute sensitivity in the quiet sections where Stevie plans her garden and contemplates the ramifications of her dramatic physical change, but these pleasant moments are drowned out by extended slapstick sequences in which her uncle and, in flashback, her mother, display the same outrageous behaviors over and over. Stevie's a winning heroine, but the underdeveloped support cast dominate too much of her show.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

In Such A Pretty Face, author Lamb does not skirt around her heroine’s many problems. The book opens with a tragic memory from Stevie Barret’s childhood that would go on to define her life, and she eventually finds herself entirely alone and dangerously overweight. Her life is a restricted one in which she contantly feels secluded and lonely. After she undergoes weight-loss surgery and loses so much weight that she is literally half the woman she once was, Stevie slowly begins her own healing process. However, her path to healing is not a smooth one, and she soon finds herself facing many troubles: she runs into difficulties at the law office where she works, suffers from a crippling shyness around the opposite sex despite her new slim figure, realizes that her best friend is unsupportive, and must deal with a strained relationship with the aunt and uncle who took her in so many years ago and whose anniversary party she now must plan. Lamb writes Stevie’s story with humor and brutal honesty, and the result is an affecting portrait of one woman’s heroic journey from tragedy to her own version of happiness. --Claire Orphan
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Kensington; 1 edition (August 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0758229550
  • ISBN-13: 978-0758229557
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.3 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (156 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #702,295 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By L. Gondelman on July 27, 2010
Format: Paperback
I absolutely LOVED this book. There I said it. And would you like to know why? It's simple really. The characters are real, the places are real, and the emotions are real.They are true, and they are believable. They are you, they are me, and they are your mother, your father, your neighbor, your cousin, or even your teacher. They are the people that are hiding from their pasts, that are struggling with day-to-day life and the people looking towards a better tomorrow.

This book is loaded with tough topics like anorexia, overeating, gay marriage, divorce, self-esteem issues, mental illness, abuse, and death. It is not for the faint of heart. BUT, it is also filled with love, hope, humor, honesty, devotion, trust and forgiveness. You will want to reach right into the pages of the book to comfort those who are hurting. Does being skinny and having a "pretty face" mean you have it all? Nope. As the saying goes - beauty is only skin deep. From an opening that will tear your heart to pieces to an ending that will sew it back together again, Such A Pretty Face will make you laugh and it will make you cry. It will make you feel. Because that's exactly what a great book does.
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Format: Paperback
Stevie Barrett once weighed over 300 pounds. She ate food to smother the grief she felt over the loss of her baby sister, schizophrenic mother, and loving grandparents all within a short time period. She ate to lose herself. She ate to hide. And then she had a heart attack, and eating was no longer the solution if she wanted to survive. Several surgeries and 170 pounds later, Stevie has lost the weight but hasn't managed to find herself in the process. Such a Pretty Face is the beautiful story of one woman's search for herself amongst the burden of this thing we call Life.

At times both literary and whimsical, Such a Pretty Face fulfilled my need for a meaty, meaningful story, while also lightening my soul with love and sunshine. It made my heart ache with sadness for Stevie's childhood and the oppressing reality of schizophrenia, but the flashbacks to her earlier years are followed with laughter as she struggles to keep an outraged divorcee from tearing her ex-husband to shreds.

Lamb's writing is skillful and exploratory, drifting from inner dialogue to prose and back again. We really get to know Stevie, staying inside her head throughout the full novel, feeling the tide of emotions she is drifting on. With an oppresive uncle, a bulldozing best friend, a mound of medical debt, and a hopeless crush on her neighbor, Stevie is lost in the world and the narrative explores her natural sense of fear, followed by her internal strength and courage to stand up for herself and what she wants.
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Format: Paperback
What an incredibly touching, poignant story. Lamb is so talented at bringing to life a community of characters who are distinctive and have led interesting--if sometimes very painful--lives. She paints their struggles and their relationships with compassion and, also, little delightful sparks of humor.

Stevie is a character who will stay in my heart for quite a long time. A highly recommended read and an especially good choice for book clubs!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this book at first, until I started to get bored with the stereotypes. Everyone was either "really good" or "really evil." If a character was in the evil category, tough luck. That character will not have even one redeeming quality.

It seemed a bit simplistic to describe the major "evil" character as a conservative Republican, anti-gay, controlling, chauvinistic, abusive molester. All the "good" characters were liberal Democrats, angelic, tolerant, kind and loving.

Ho hum. I think the book would have been better without casting aspersions on people for their political views.

I am a Republican and I am not evil. Actually, I'm a very nice person. I also don't stereotype people based on their politics. But I doubt Cathy Lamb would give me the time of day, as it is obvious she thinks anyone with differing views is evil.

Not very smart to alienate 50% of your potential readers. I will definitely not be buying anymore Cathy Lamb books, and will tell all my friends to not waste their money either.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I am surprised at all the glowing reviews, especially the ones praising the story for "realistic" characters. all of the characters are drawn to extremes--outrageously beautiful or hideously ugly, purely good or entirely evil. The law firm setting was ridiculous and the author misused the word malpractice. I kept reading to the end only so I could find out what was the big secret lurking in the narrator's hometown, but i was completely underwhelmed.

I usually love stories about quirky characters and self discovery, but this one was a real flop.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Very poorly written. Boring repetitive characters. You are guess the outcomes to each "plot". I wish the author would have spoke about more than just the obvious with the issues brought up. Way too much sexual talk that had no purpose. Few, if any, redeeming qualities.
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