"Such a Pretty Face by Cathy Lamb caught my eye because of the title. You heard me right, the title. You see someone said that to me, "You've got such a pretty face, it's a shame the rest of you went to shit". That was when I only weighed 160 lbs. Like the main character, Stevie, I didn't dare stand up for myself, I swallowed hard and took it because I believed I deserved it. Hurtful words like this take us to a whole different place, especially as women. Overeating causes people to be fat, yes I get that, but the question we need to ask is why? What have they suffered, to cause such pain? Why is it that people believe that overweight people can't hear, don't have feelings and that this prejudice is okay when it's clearly not? I don't know. Compassion and love - the world is always suffering from a shortage of both.
Stevie's mother suffers from schizophrenia and Lamb does an amazing job depicting what life is like for someone with this disease, and how it affects the people that love them. There are many other issues that are woven into the story; morbid obesity, gay marriage, emotional and physical abuse and anorexia. That might sound like to much to process, but the beautiful thing is that "Such a Pretty Face" also has unconditional love, forgiveness, (for yourself and others), joy, strength, reconciliation and the courage to overcome.
The first 20% of the book was somewhat confusing, this is the only reason I didn't give it 5 stars. I became so vested in the characters that I continued on and I am so glad that I did, it made me think, and look inside myself to find out who I am and who I want to be.
Cathy Lamb gives us many topics to ponder and discuss, as we turn the page.
SYNOPSIS by Barnes & Noble
In this warm, funny, thoroughly candid novel, acclaimed author Cathy Lamb introduces an unforgettable heroine who's half the woman she used to be, and about to find herself for the first time. . .
Two years and 170 pounds ago, Stevie Barrett was wheeled into an operating room for surgery that most likely saved her life. Since that day, a new Stevie has emerged, one who walks without wheezing, plants a garden for self-therapy, and builds and paints fantastical wooden chairs. At thirty-five, Stevie is the one thing she never thought she'd be: thin.
But for everything that's changed, some things remain the same. Stevie's shyness refuses to melt away. She still can't look her neighbors' gorgeous great-nephew in the eye. The Portland law office where she works remains utterly dysfunctional, as does her family—the aunt, uncle, and cousins who took her in when she was a child. To top it off, her once supportive best friend clearly resents her weight loss.
By far the biggest challenge in Stevie's new life lies in figuring out how to define her new self. Collaborating with her cousins to plan her aunt and uncle's problematic fortieth anniversary party, Stevie starts to find some surprising answers—about who she is, who she wants to be, and how the old Stevie evolved in the first place. And with each revelation, she realizes the most important part of her transformation may not be what she's lost, but the courage and confidence she's gathering, day by day.
As achingly honest as it is witty, Such A Pretty Face is a richly insightful novel of one woman's search for love, family, and acceptance, of the pain we all carry—and the wonders that can happen when we let it go at last.
"Being in a family is like living inside a tornado. Sometimes you're spun around, sometimes your are spit outside the tornado all by yourself, and sometimes you're able to join hands with someone inside of it and wait the whole darn thing out."
"Family secrets rot and destroy. They become living, breathing, black, infected, seeping messes."
"If you don't want to say it, don't."
"I'm not sensitive, and if you think it's going to be something that hurts me, keep it to yourself."
"One thing family has in common - each other."
"Dealing with adults in denial is excruciating. You can't force them to get care, even if their own life is at stake. Talking won't do it, threats won't, tears and hysterics, nothing."
"I cannot resist you anymore. And I will not disrespect you by making love to you in our barn or my car or in some field. You deserve more, and I will give you more. So tell your momma to get a dress ready and let's say our vows. I love you, I'll love you forever, you love me and that's that. Set a date, any day you want, as long as it's this weekend." :)
"He believed in me until I could believe in myself."
"I started to study my life up close, you know dear, and I was so unhappy with what I found. I found a mouse. A very unhappy timid, scared little mouse who had used up decades of her life being unhappy timid and scared."
"I started thinking about dying and I wondered how I'd feel on my death bed about the life I'm living. My midlife crisis involves changing me."
" I need to find myself. I need to be more than I am. I need to dare!"
"The only good thing about seeing someone in a heart-wrenching position is that it makes your problems appear to be nothing, because, usually, they are. Somebody, billions of somebodies, always have it worse that you on this planet. Always."
"Praise the Lord, and the next time Jesus comes, do not send wise men bearing impractical gifts."
"Trust has always been an issue for me, a debilitating, gnawing issue, and you need trust for love."
"Love heals. Love will get you through life honey. It will make life worth living. Be open, all the time to love, even when it's hard."
RATING: 4 STARS - I Loved It!