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Review for Gorgeous by Paul Rudnick

Gorgeous - Paul Rudnick

This review is also available on my blog, Bows & Bullets Reviews


Becky Randle is just an ordinary eighteen year old girl with no real goals in life. She just graduated from high school when her mother dies and she is tasked with going through all her mothers stuff. Within it she finds a mysterious phone number which leads her to meet Tom Kelly, world famous designer, who makes her an impossible offer. He will transform her into the most beautiful women in the world. Clearly, he's off his rocker, but what else do she have to do? Go back to her job at the Sav-A-Lot? She says yes and is instantly drawn into a world of Hollywood superstars and worldwide celebrities. She doesn't know how the magic works, all she knows is that is she is alone and looks in the mirror, she sees her normal self, but if anyone else is in the room, she sees Rebecca. Rebecca, the uber-pretty version of herself. The woman so pretty it almost hurts to look at her. Then she meets Prince Gregory and begins to fall for him. There's only one problem. When the year is up and she goes back to being Becky, will the Prince accept her or will he throw her out because she is no longer the gorgeous woman he fell for?

I'm not sure exactly what to say here. I liked it? Sorta? Parts of it? Becky is an interesting character, someone I think we can all relate to. For once, the leading lady isn't the prettiest woman on the planet, at least not initially. She's just a normal girl with normal looks and a small town upbringing. And when opportunity knocks giving her a chance to get out of the small town, she jumps at it, after thinking it over. Gregory was also very interesting. The banter between him and Becky/Rebecca was hilarious and kept me giggling with amusement.

The issue? It was all a bit too over the top. Now before you go screaming "But Tabitha, it was a satire, it was supposed to be over the top!," I get that. I do, really. It's impossible to get 20 pages into this without realizing it's a satire and that might be my point. I feel like it could have been a bit more awesome to me if it was sneakier with it. Everything he is meant to be making fun of is exaggerated beyond comprehension. I feel like the magic of satire is when it sneaks up on you but that wasn't the case here. There were too many moments where the outlandish topics where pushing me out of the story. There were moments that had me shaking my head, pulling me out of the moment and away from the story and more towards my thoughts, which isn't a good thing. A great story keeps in enthralled in the content, pushing me to continue, not stopping me with ludicrous plot points. The best example is there is a scene where Rebecca is acting for a movie and the director literally gets off on her just saying her lines really well, which had me rolling my eyes. ****SPOILER****Plus the whole plot idea is a little preposterous in general because not only is it never explained how Tom manages to transform Rebecca simply by having her wear these dresses, but Tom himself is a mystery. At the end, we learn that Tom is Becky's father, which I think we all see coming. We also learn that he died before her birth. DIED. How the blazin' hell is he here now? We never find out. It is never explained how Tom is mysteriously alive for an entire year. It seems to be implied that the great divine thought it necessary to grant him zombie status due to a promise he made Rebecca's mother to make sure she has a good life, but ummm...about that. If people get to rise from the grave for life changing promises they made before their deaths, we'd have a bunch more dead people running around.****END SPOILER****

I did like the ending. Once Prince Gregory enters the picture, things pickup quite nicely, with the mystery of how we are going to get the whole mess with Becky/Rebecca/Gregory sorted out properly. Plus, I'm a sucker for a love story, so things are always that much interesting when romance is involved.  I also liked that some of it was funny.  As I said, the banter between Becky/Rebecca and Gregory was downright hilarious.  

In the end, I'm glad I read it, but it's not my favorite thing ever.  A big reason I decided to request it was because of the Libba Bray blurb on the cover, and I just feel it didn't live up to that.  It had it's funny moments and then it had it's over the top crazy moments.  The beginning is so dull and slow I had a hard time reading it.  Then the rest, while interesting, is a just a bit too much.  I think it was a nice effort but it just isn't for me to love and praise...which sucks because I like the idea of satirizing the movie/model industry with it's crazy life demands.     

****Thank you to Scholastic Press for providing me with an eARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review****


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