Friday, May 10, 2013

Gorgeous, by Paul Rudnick

After Becky Randle's mother dies, she receives a surprise message to contact Tom Kelly (the world's preeminent fashion designer).  It appears that, despite their trailer park existence, Mom had a famous life before Becky was born.

Tom Kelly invites Becky to New York with an even more extraordinary invitation:  an offer to transform her into the Most Beautiful Woman in the World with an mysterious dose of magic.  Famous stars and glitzy life awaits Becky as her supernatural looks give her access to a world she could never have imagined.  From co-staring in a blockbuster action pic with heartthrob Jate Mallow to meeting Crown Prince Gregory of England, nothing is beyond her reach.  But she knows that all this fame is based upon her external appearance (and an appearance which itself is achieved through deception).  What everyone would think if they knew the true Becky Randle?

The story is not all that special -- a sweet story about finding your inner beauty wrapped in a  coating of magic and a huge dollop of outrageous romantic fantasy.  The charm of the book is really in the writing.  Rudnick is a would-be Faulkner, easily spinning out sentences that fill half a page, but which sound much more like the verbal diarrhea of a ninth-grader than a southern literary giant.  A cornucopia of cultural references and social satire are buried in these long-winded sentences and they deserve at least re-read or two.  Still, it can all get a bit too precious and even clever writing can't save a story that is more wishful and silly than meaningful.

[Disclosure:  I received a free advance copy of the book to review, but will be donating it to the Public Library.  I received no other compensation for this review.]

No comments: