So Much Pretty, by Cara Hoffman

Here’s another book that I didn’t start reading until right before it was due — except this time it wasn’t on purpose! I even had to pull a little fancy library trickery in order to return the book and get it back again so that I could keep reading it… and it was totally worth it.

At first, I wasn’t sure. The book starts out with a narrator (the book has many) being all like, “Oh, I know you’ve heard the stories and know all about this HORRIBLE TERRIBLE TRAGIC EVENT that happened, which I had a hand in and which I totally regret and now I’m going to tell you the true story.” And I’m like, “Right. That event. Yes, totally. What was it again?” And the narrator is like, “I’ll get to that.”

So, basically, the reader knows absolutely nothing about this something bad that happened for, oh, the first half of the book. And then? Well, then the reader knows what the bad thing is that has happened, but not why or how it relates to all these other narrators’ story lines that have been woven in and these weird police evidence report things and strange interviews with people that make no sense until they start making sense and then the reader sees what’s coming and is like, “Oh, hell,” but there’s no stopping it now. Well, that’s how I saw it, anyway.

And so, necessarily, I don’t want to give too much away, but I think it’s safe to tell you that the first and somewhat primary narrator is a reporter from Cleveland (yay Cleveland!) who has up and moved to the sticks of upstate New York chasing down some big environmental story. Other narrators include a couple of neo-hippies from New York City who move out to the same sticks for some tree-hugging reason or another, and their young daughter who grows up learning trapeze and various philosophies — and whom you learn pretty early on is somehow involved in the Big Bad Thing.

It’s a really well-put-together story, and even though I was struggling through the first half, once the story started to show itself I could not put the book down. There are a few bits that I found odd or irksome after finishing the book, but since they made reading the book super-interesting I will forgive them.

Recommendation: Not for those who need a solid grip on a story from the beginning. Definitely for those who like a multiple-narrator, back-and-forth-in-time, what-the-heck-is-happening-here setup.

Rating: 9/10

3 thoughts on “So Much Pretty, by Cara Hoffman

  1. Cari says:

    I definitely agree with this review. I didn't get into this at first, but once I realized about the time-hopping, I was like “whoa! mind blown!” and ended up really loving it. I was in the same situation – where I checked it out and had to bring it back because it was on hold.

  2. Kate says:

    Why is it that Cleveland keeps popping up in my life this week?

    Great review, I love your style. I'll have to keep my eyes out for this one.

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