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4.0 out of 5 stars Southern Women's Fiction,
This review is from: A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty: A Novel (Hardcover)Reason for Reading: I love southern fiction and have had this author on my want-to-read list for some time now. I actually own one other of her books (I won it) but haven't read it yet and finally got around to reading her with this book. I just love the cover! I used to have a few gingham summer dresses as a kid.
I adored this book! What a beautiful, touching story. Set in Mississippi, each chapter is told from the point of view of one of the three women, each 15 years apart in age: Mosey is 14-turning 15, her mother Liza is 30, and Ginny, *her* mother, the grandmother, is 45. I loved every single one of these characters and simply took them into my heart. The story was sad and touching, yet full of hope against all odds. A despairing story that was uplifting at the same time. There is a mystery in the plot and I came up with a solution pretty much near the beginning which was continuously confirmed for me throughout the book, so I was quite shocked when 2/3 of the way through my theory became impossible and the mystery sorted itself out in a completely different direction. I loved this as I figure out mysteries too easily and like it when I'm wrong! I only had one problem with the book and that was that it was a slow read for me, I really don't know why but every time I picked it up I seemed to be reading at a very lazy pace. I was loving the book, but nothing could make me read at my normal speed until the last third of the book when the solving of the mystery comes into play and the action picks up, that part I read quickly. Now there is nothing wrong with a slow read, sometimes a book just demands that you take it in at a leisurely pace and mull it over. I actually kept wishing it was warmer out and I was reading the book under a tree somewhere. Trees are a symbol in the book. This will make a good vacation read, perhaps to take to the cottage with you. I will certainly be adding Joshilyn Jackson to my list of regularly read authors!
4.0 out of 5 stars You'll Laugh and Cry!,
This review is from: A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty: A Novel (Hardcover)Story Description:
Grand Central Publishing|September 25, 2012|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-0-58236-0
A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty is a powerful saga of three generations of women, plagued by hardships and torn by a devastating secret, yet inextricably joined by the bonds of family. Fifteen-year-old Mosey Slocumb - spirited, sassy, and on the cusp of womanhood - is shaken when a small grave is unearthed in the backyard, and determined to figure out why it's there. Liza, her stroke-ravaged mother, is haunted by choices she made as a teenager. But it is Ginny, Mosey's strong and big-hearted grandmother, whose maternal love brands together the strands of the women's shared past - and who will stop at nothing to defend their future.
This is my first Joshilyn Jackson novel and I wasn't disappointed. Her writing is simply magical and she has a way with words that make you feel even more endeared to the story.
In A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty, trouble visits itself every fifteen years upon three generations of Slocumb women. The matriarch of the family, Ginny, is forty-five -years-old and gave birth to her daughter, Liza, at age fifteen. Liza, at age fifteen begat her daughter, Mosey, and now that Mosey is at that mysterious, trouble-ridden number of "fifteen" years of age, Ginny knows problems are arising. After all "something" bad happens every fifteen years and it won't be good.
The personalities of the three Slocumb women are diverse and shaped through years of desperate lives and very hard times. Liza had a stroke at age thirty and at age forty-five is still struggling to fight her way back to some sort of normalcy.
Now that, Mosey, has turned fifteen, Ginny, is very worried that she will repeat the mistakes in her life that both she and her mother did. On the other hand, Mosey, is determined and committed to NOT repeat those same mistakes.
The story is told in all three voices through alternating chapters. You're so glued to each woman's story that it makes you wish you had a whole book on each of their lives. I was so enamoured with these three women that I wished I could befriend them all! A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty is definitely the next book you should be reading. Well-done Ms. Jackson, I'll be ordering the rest of your novels!!
4.0 out of 5 stars More than a pretty cover,
This review is from: A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty: A Novel (Hardcover)I'm not all the way through, but am compelled to say this: J. Jackson has skills. It's not just a pretty cover book hooked to a cutesy storyline. Yes, the cover drew me in, like it did others (the publisher did their job.) Her writing actually has depth. I reread parts like "rise as slow as a bubble trapped in gel shampoo." We know what she means, but not many would think of writing that down and linking it to a feeling. Jackson's not just a really good creative writing teacher exhibiting her craft. There's something profound about what she's communicating through her stories. She understands people and it shows (also evident in her blog). She's not trying to be someone she isn't. To say lines like "a zombie June Cleaver," shows she lived through an era and wants to comment on it. Something that I thought would have been in J. Franzen's "Freedom," but wasn't. She's far from a spouting babyboomer. She's a talented generational voice who "gets it". If you liked "the Help" and "White Oleander" you'll probably like this just as much. I also read "Between Georgia" by her, which was one of the best books I have read in years.
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling and emotional with incredibly real characters.,
This review is from: A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty: A Novel (Hardcover)I LOVED this novel. I laughed. I chocked up. I grinned. I cried. I giggled. A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty has everything I love in a novel - a unpredictable plot, emotion that leaps off the pages and characters as real and believable as the person sitting next to me. An ode to the bonds of family, regardless of its makeup, and the enduring strength of women, A Grown up Kind of Pretty is a compelling page turner that will keep you up late at night.
Narrated via alternating viewpoints of three main characters, each of which delivers a sucker punch to the heart, Big, Liza and Mosey reveal that not all families are perfect and immerse us into their lives full of secrets that all three generations of Slocumb women are desperate to keep from each other and the outside world. Although not able to directly relate to their circumstances, life in the South, or the strife they have suffered through, I could sympathize and somehow relate and really, really liked each character even though I didn't always agree with their choices. They were all deliciously flawed, utterly likeable and will remain with me long after I finished the last sentence.
Initially I was wary of Liza's viewpoint with her limited speech capability and her wandering thoughts, but Jackson did a marvelous job at conveying her disability, frustration and compulsion to communicate and protect her daughter regardless of her limitations. Both Liza and Big's love for Mosey made the hair on my arms stand up and Mosey's confusion surrounding the secrets she uncovers and her identity made my heart ache as did Big's rehabilitation efforts with Liza.
The prose in this novel is brilliant. I loved reading each word and was amazed at how Jackson portrayed their characters so effortlessly and impeccably through their view of the world. Big was sharp, witty and wry, full of love, tenderness, compassion and wisdom. Liza was frustrated and tortured and stuck mainly in her mind of tortured memories and failed attempts to communicate while Mosey was a typical teenager, sarcastic, sullen, frustrated and annoyed with all adults in her world yet desperate to cling to them at the same time. These characters had some of the most fantastic and amusing observations I have ever read and this was in addition to the sparkling dialogue that snaps, crackles and pops between the women. Even the minor characters are well portrayed, essential to the story and won't be easily forgotten.
At times amusing, but mostly a compelling, gritty, and heart wrenching portrayal, A Grown Up Kind Of Pretty kept me on the edge of my seat. Every time I thought I had it figured out, Jackson threw in another twist and I downed this novel in two days.
I can't wait to explore more from Joshilyn Jackson. Make this your next book club pick. You won't be disappointed.
Thank you to Grand Central Publishing for our review copy!
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A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty: A Novel by Joshilyn Jackson (Hardcover - Jan. 25 2012)
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