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A Little Change of Face [Paperback]

Lauren Baratz-Logsted
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

July 1 2005 Red Dress Ink Novels
I need to change my life.

On the surface, it doesn't look too bad.

Great body, check. Pretty face, check.
Job, check.

Chicken pox. Check.

Stuck in her Danbury, Connecticut condo in self-imposed exile until she's contagion-free, Scarlett Jane Stein keeps circling around to a passing comment her friend Pam made: how everything (read: men) comes to Scarlett just because she's attractive.

Is it true? All her life she's thought that she was fun to be around, that people liked her. Was it only because she was pretty (say it -- because she's got incredible breasts)? Or is Pam, tired of playing second fiddle, now playing her? All Scarlett knows is that she's never found the man she believes is out there, her One True Love. So maybe Scarlett needs to change things up.

So it's goodbye, Scarlett and hello, dowdier, schlumpier Lettie Shaw. And with her new look, new name, new home, and new job, is there a chance that Lettie-nee-Scarlett will find someone who loves her for who she is inside? Or has Scarlett's little change of face turned into the biggest mistake of her life?


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Product Description

From Booklist

Scarlett Jane Stein has always turned men's heads. With her long, black hair and perfect breasts, she draws attention wherever she goes. But an adult case of the chicken pox and the words of her envious friend Pam make Scarlett start to wonder if her looks, not her personality, are the only reason men like her. So Scarlett opts for a "makeunder," cutting off her long hair and dressing in dowdy clothing. Determined to truly reinvent herself, Scarlett quits her job at the Danbury Library, changes her name to Lettie Shaw, and gets herself hired at the smaller Bethel Library. She sets her sights on Saul, a handsome investment adviser she meets in a bar who, sure enough, just wants to be friends, that is, until Scarlett defrumps at a Halloween party. But one of the library's patrons--Steve Holt, a window painter--seems to be taking to Lettie just as she is. Baratz-Logsted offers a clever twist on makeover fiction. Kristine Huntley
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A fun read that tackles deeper issues Aug. 1 2005
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I really liked this. Even though the premise was a bit 'out there', I think I can see where the author wants to push the envelope to get her points across. I found that while reading it, I reexamined my own friendships, thankful that those who i surround myself with are real true friends who would only want good things for me. I have had my share of toxic friends and this book really brought home how damaging they can be. I liked Scarlett's character even though i did want to slap her and tell her to smarten up.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.4 out of 5 stars  26 reviews
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An unusual premise .... Sept. 22 2005
By Ratmammy - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
A LITTLE CHANGE OF FACE by Lauren Baratz-Logsted

September 22, 2005

Amazon Rating: 4/5 stars

In A LITTLE CHANGE OF FACE by Lauren Baratz-Logsted, a woman decides to change her image from a beauty to a plain Jane, to see if she can attract a man not for her looks, but for what is inside.

This was my introduction to Baratz-Logsted's books, and I have to say I enjoyed this one. A LITTLE CHANGE OF FACE is not your typical chick lit novel. The premise is a bit off the wall, but I feel that the author made it work. Scarlett Jane Stein has always been known for her good looks and great body, but she's tired of being judged by her appearances. She decides it's time to make a change, so she goes from beautiful to plain Jane, even changing her job and moving to a new town to complete the process.

As Lettie Shaw, she is now a dowdy old maid, and she is no longer attracting the people she did in the past when she was a beauty. With the help of her `default' best friend Pam, Lettie is as plain as can be.

Scarlett (Lettie) finds out what it's like to live like the other half - to have to make an impression on other people without having to use her body. But she also learns a bit about friendship and people through this experiment. This was chick lit with a little bit more, and A LITTLE CHANGE OF FACE may be a book that not everyone will "get", but I felt it was a well-written book, very witty and funny, and will be reading the rest of Lauren's books in the near future.
10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars an unsuccessful attempt at depth Sept. 26 2005
By erica - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The premise of "A Little Change of Face" is that beautiful, confident Scarlett receives too much attention from men, so she alters her appearance to be less attractive. Her goal is to find out whether men are really interested in her, or just attracted by her looks.

The first problem with all this is that there's no antithesis. Nobody ever really believes - nobody ever even argues, and I can't think of any reason why they should - that men will *not* stop constantly hitting on Scarlett, and buying her drinks in bars and asking her out under no provocation, if she cuts her hair very short, wears ugly glasses, and dons long, baggy dresses to hide her gorgeous figure. From the beginning, the novel conflates this sort of empty and surface-oriented attention with the (generally) deeper regard signified by friendship and real romantic interest. Even Scarlett seems to have no opinon at all on the subject; she seems barely notice the attention she receives, and she has no boyfriend or close male friend at the start of the novel to give another perspective.

So Scarlett goes through a sort of reverse physical blossoming. In the process she changes her name to Lettie, sabotages her career by moving to a lower-level position in a different town, and gives up her condominium to rent a less showy home. She decides to revise not only her appearance but her entire personality, remaking herself as the self-effacing, unglamorous person she imagines a dowdy, bespectacled Lettie would be. This explicit assumption that a less beautiful woman would be less outgoing and sociable is a circular proof of the hypothesis that as an average-looking woman Scarlett will receive less notice. She goes through the usual contortions of trying to attract the most gorgeous and shallow of the men she meets and - in a bit of poetic justice apparently unnoticed by its recipient - manages to develop, for the first time, a personality not based on long hair and big breasts.

Whatever "A Little Change of Face" is supposed to be, it fails. Its agenda - which is both overworked and unpleasant - hampers its enjoyability as fluff. But its desire to be fluff (in accordance with its Red Dress Ink label) hinders its ability to be interesting in any other way. This is really too bad, as the author is obviously talented. She manages to turn a shell of a plot and a few barely-there characters into a marginally pleasant, absorbing three-hundred page book. And she has certainly tapped into some interesting questions of style versus substance, how much of who we are is influenced by how we look, and the importance of physicality to self-concept and our interactions with friends, coworkers, and lovers. Few novels manage to wrestle successfully with this issue, though, and most of them are much more complex than this immature anti-Cinderella tale.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I wanted to like this, I really did... Dec 28 2007
By CoffeeGurl - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Thirty-nine-year-old librarian Scarlett Jane Stein (named after Scarlett O'Hara, of course) is drop-dead gorgeous. She is a petite brunette with a slim, fit bod and perfect breasts. Men line up at bars to buy her drinks. In short, Scarlett has no idea how the other side of life -- the plain or simply ugly side -- lives, and her "Default Best Friend" Pam makes sure she does. She challenges Scarlett to look as unattractive and unappealing as possible to see if men still like her. Scarlett agrees to do it; she wants to know if men want her for her personality and not just because of her breasts. So Scarlett turns into Lettie Shaw -- a plain woman who wears thick glasses, shapeless dresses and a boyish haircut. With her new persona, she meets two attractive men, Saul and Steve. One is a superficial jerk, the other one is Mr. Boy Next Door. Will Scarlett/Lettie know the difference? In her misguided Extreme-Makeover-in-reverse experiment, she discovers not only how others perceive her and women's looks in general, but how she sees herself.

I get what the author tries to do with this book. I can appreciate how different this is from cookie-cutter chick-lits out there. Most of the characters aren't very likable (especially Pam. What a petty, jealous person! And how on earth did Scarlett not see through her?), including the heroine, whom I had a hard time identifying with for most of the novel. The only thing she and I have in common is that we love books... and that we're both vertically challenged (I, too, am only five feet tall)... and we're brown-eyed brunettes... and the breasts thing rings a bell. Okay, okay, so we do have a few things in common, but the similarities end there. I appreciate her personality flaws and the fact that she cannot see what is so patently obvious. We've all been there at some point in our lives. The thing is that I liked the premise, appreciated the message, but disliked the execution. I couldn't get into this novel, which is a shame, for Lauren Baratz-Logsted is a talented writer. I LOVED her novel Vertigo and I really wanted to love this one too. Alas, I didn't. One of the chapters starts out with something along the lines of, "I bet you're dying to know about my breasts." Uh, no! Have lunch with one of your friends and have her talk to you about her breasts and see how fun that is. Only men would find the aforementioned topic interesting. Anyway, I bought How Nancy Drew Saved My Life and I have my fingers crossed, hoping that book will be better than this one.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Little Change of Face, Indeed June 11 2006
By shajopri - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is my second of Lauren's novels to read, and I'm beginning to know what to expect from her -- gleeful wit, sweet yet wacky heroines, and characters who do the most illogical things for very logical reasons. With creations that lie in that intersection between completely relatable and unbelievably insane, we laugh and sympathize with her protagonists even as we gawk in shock at their actions. A Little Change of Face is no different, the main character, tired of superficial attention for being so beautiful decides to give herself an inverted makeover and see how her life changes. Along her adventure, we see how the protagonist, Scarlett, and her alter-ego, Lettie hierarchize her best friends (the real best friend, the default best friend) as many women secretly do, get a satiracal view into pseudo-intellectual women's books clubs, and are privty to her by turns insightful, juvenile, and keyed-up reactions to men. It is the treatment of Lettie's friends that seems to draw the most flack in this book. If it matters, I am Black, among other things, and I found T.B. to be satire, which means, if you think her role in the book as the non-standard English talking accessory is racist, you're right! Lauren is showing how the use of minority characters as marginalized, cliched stereotypes is wrong, so she names the character T.B. so that we acknowledge the character as an unjust creation. It would be more racist to have called the character Susan or Molly and acted as if her stereotypical behavior was meant as realism -- like, for example, the indigenous and black people in the works of Isabel Allende. Then we would too be a party to racist behavior by reading the book without any sense of the problematic. I suggest that people who don't like this book b/c of T.B. watch Spike Lee's Bamboozled. This black director creates a blackface show in his movie not to say blackface is okay but to skewer, through satire, stereotypical black television. This book is indeed a little change of face, it's warm, witty, joyful chick-lit that decides to get a bit political. A worthy read.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wacky and Wonderful July 30 2005
By Kathleen O'connor - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Once again Baratz-Logsted uses quirky wit and razor-sharp observations to getting is thinking about our appearance-obsessed society. Her heroine, Scarlett Stein, is blessed with good looks but they seem to be attracting the wrong men. Linda Howard wrote a book about the frumpy librarian who gets a makeover. This book is about the beautiful librarian who goes dowdy. It's a fun twist, a great read and a good beach book.
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