I just finished reading “So Much Pretty” by Cara Hoffman, a fellow Goddardite, for my second annotation.
Let me start off by saying, the book is very ugly, disoriented, and also absolutely amazing! The way that the story was told made the book that much more intriguing.
Hoffman tells the story of the residents of the small town of Haeden, NY. She uses many different viewpoints to tell her story. Each chapter is in the viewpoint of the residents of the town, and the chapters’ time periods vary. It is extremely important to read the headings (which tell whose viewpoint the chapter is in) and subheadings (that tell the reader what time period the specific chapter is in) in order to understand the story as a whole.
I will try not to spoil the story, but here is a summary of the novel:
The novel focuses on three main, female characters: Stacy Flynn, a reporter from the local newspaper, Wendy White, a resident of Haeden who gets kidnapped and is later found dead, and Alice Piper, an ambitious and free-spirited individual who ends up surprising the entire town with her actions. Using the viewpoints of these three individuals as well as various other residents of Haeden, Hoffman describes a crisis that happens in this small town.
White is kidnapped and then her body is found within a mile or two of her home a few months later. Piper’s life intertwines with White’s via the swim team. After White’s body is found and Flynn writes a beautiful, but controversial article regarding White’s kidnapping, Piper’s whole viewpoint on life changes. It felt to me that after White’s body was found, the story really did a 180 and the reader has to catch up quickly to understand what is going to happen next.
According to an interview with the Huffington Post, Hoffman says that “So Much Pretty” is really a novel about “male hatred of women” (Hoffman, 2011). One of the most impactful lines in the entire story is, ” It would hardly be rational to accept that I live inside a thing made of flesh that people capture, hide, and then wait in line to rape” (Hoffman, 2011, p. 222). In this part of the story, Alice Piper is trying to make sense of the horrible treatment of Wendy White.
Anyways, before I end up spoiling the entire novel, I will bow out. However, I highly recommend reading this book!! It will be one of the best you have ever read.
Hoffman, C. (2011). So Much Pretty.