Gorgeous: Paul Rudnick

General Summary: After her mother dies, Becky goes to New York where she’s given an offer that would turn her into the most beautiful girl in the world.

Review:

This book barely gets a regular format review.

That’s how disappointing it is.

I was able to find one, one redeeming feature and that was the idea of the book.  Which it failed epically on.

Sigh.

So yeah,  let’s get started.

I’ll start with characters because if you have lousy characters, more often than not you’ll have a lousy book.  And boy is our main character a piece of work.  I just….I just didn’t like her.

It’s not like she was Zoey Redbird offensive or anything, but it was like a constant self pity fest.  And I thought she was incredibly shallow.

And yes, I know the summary was sort of shallow, but I though tthere would be a bit more to the story and I thought at the very least she wouldn’t be calling a whole country full of people ugly.

That’s right, if you’re British you’re ugly.

Polarize your audience much?

I honestly think that Rudnick thought this was being cute or satirical like it was some sort of running joke, but it just came off as annoying and eye rolling worthy to me.  Much like the rest of the book.

Because really if you get down to it that’s what the problem with this book was, it takes itself way too seriously.  It thinks its cute and funny when its not and instead of coming across like witty social commentary like I think it’s trying to, it comes off as annoying.

Case in point, throughout the book Rudnick tries to take a tongue and cheek tone on Hollywood, a la Spoiled.  However, where that book succeeded this book failed, because it just came off as mean.

Yes, I said mean because there’s no other way to describe it, especially when we get own to body image issues.

If you read my reviews, you probably know that one of my major pet peeves in the YA world (or book world in general) is body image.  While I’ll be the first to admit that I do enjoy a good old fashion makeover scene (if done right), most of the time these scenes just make me cringe.  And honestly, Gorgeous was like one of these scenes made into an entire book.

I freaking kid you not.

When I DNF’d the book Becky still hadn’t received two of her dresses yet.  Not that I cared because I had enough of Becky.

From what I saw of this book there are two types of people 1) model pretty and 2) fugly.  I freaking kid you not.  That’s how Becky describes herself which to me is ridiculous.  And even if she was hideous, which I doubt, I don’t understand why it’s so impossible to create a YA heroine that’s average looking (this could extend to the YA hero as well, since let’s face most teenage guys are not six feet something and ripped).  Is that difficult to say that little Mary Sue might not wear a size triple zero and poses for Vogue, but at the same time doesn’t need drastic plastic surgery?  What concerns me about this most of all is that preteens and teenage girls are reading this.  I know that a lot of these kids are mature enough to see past this bull shit, but if you’re just a smidgen insecure this book is just going to amp up these insecurities.    Case in point, I felt hideous when I was reading this and I don’t consider myself to be an unattractive person.  This book just makes you feel bad about yourself unless you’re, well, Rebecca.

I hated Rebecca and what she was supposed to represent. Instead of calling Rebecca the most beautiful woman in the world, she should’ve been referred to as the most shallow woman in the world.  There is no other way to describe such a character.  Besides the whole British people are ugly thing, she decides to marry this guy (who’s a prince) just becuase she thinks she’s pretty enough to be a princess.

And yes, I know, satire.  But how many times can you use that as an excuse.

I’ve read allegorical and satirical work, I was an English major after all.  This is not how a good allegory or satire is written.  This is a piece of shit that tries to hide its shittiness  by calling itself a satirical piece of work.  No, it’s not satire.  It’s offensive.

I had to wonder what makes this NOT a satire.  Is it just the fact the jokes work, there’s horrible characters, and the plot doesn’t make sense (seriously, half way through the book I still had no clue how Tom Kelly was doing any of this an dI really didn’t care), was it the fact random characters would show up and leave?   I have no idea and I don’t care.

That’s probably the worst thing I have to say about this book, despite its faults I just didn’t care.  I’m writing this review right now and even though there were numerous problems and I have some rage filled moments, I know that I’m just going to forget about this one probably within two weeks time.

I would dare say, I’d feel sorry for it if it  didn’t make me so offended.  A lot of the problems were some glaring obvious and the attempt to being “literary” were so sad that I just wanted to give this book a pat on the back.  Then it would just do something stupid and, well, I wanted to kick its ass.

Best Feature: Concept.  I liked the whole idea of this story, but this is one of those cases where the execution fell flat.  Occasionally, there would be a decent line or two.  But then….well, then something offensive or eye roll worthy would be said and…well, this is the best feature and this had a decent concept.

Worst Feature:  This book thinks rather highly of itself. There’s just a stuffy condescending tone about it.  It reminds me of one of those hipsters I see when I study at Starbucks.  You know, the ones who look down at people who don’t eat all organic or like to hear the occasional pop tune because pop can be fun.  In other words, an undergrad creative writing major  who looks down at genre fiction and only writes fiction about the three Ds (death, depression, and destitution).  That’s the feeling I got from this book and God knows being pretentious  did this book no favors at all.  I feel like if the I’m so smart and you know it shit was cut a bit, I would’ve enjoyed this a lot more.  Does that make any sense?

Appropriateness: Ha!  Yeah.  Sure.  From detailed descriptions of burn victims, talk about sexual situations and promiscuity, bad body image issues, teen drinking, and f bombs here and there.  This one’s hardly appropriate.  Honestly, I didn’t even know why they classified this one as YA.  I think it really would’ve done better being viewed as adult fiction.

Blockbuster Worthy:  Maybe.  I think if a good screenwriter was involved, a movie could actually be better than the book.  Here’s who I’d cast.

Rebecca:  Maybe Emma Roberts.  I don’t know if she could play both roles, but I do picture Rebecca sort of looking like her.  As for Becky, with the way Rudnick was describing her I expect her to sort of look like Shelly from South Park if she wasn’t a cartoon.

Gregory:  Prince Harry.  I kid you not, he’s even described looking like Prince Harry.  So there you go.

Overall Rating: I’m giving this one a three.  I like the idea.  And I get that this is supposed to be satire, but the satire just sort of fails which makes the book in general a flop.  I might be overly harsh though which is why I’m giving this book to my sister.  She likes fluff and has more tolerance for bull shit than I do these days.  However, since one of her favorite books is The Runaway Princess and this pales in comparison to that book, I think it will be interesting seeing her reaction.

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