Are you tired of all of your "favorite" authors? Need some new, exciting literature in your life? Come in this weekend and let us guide you!
My recommendation is Lindsay Hunter's novel Ugly Girls. This slim novel packs a seismic boom. Rarely have I read a book that creates such a familiar, yet fictional reality. Hunter has the sophistication to write characters with both keen insight and unwavering kindness, a skill that is riveting.
Perry and Baby Girl are teenagers who are facing not only the boredom and drama associated with their age, but also the issues that come with growing up without privilege. Perry lives in a trailer with her mother and stepdad, but she is always sneaking out to get into trouble with Baby Girl. Perry's mother is an alcoholic and her stepfather is a prison guard working third shift. The novel is told from a variety of perspectives, shifting voice and letting you inside the minds of all of the major characters. The voice of Perry's mother is heartbreaking and vulnerable. Without access to her thoughts, her actions would probably make you hate her. The ability to hear her is the ability to understand her, and the brutal honesty might touch places inside of you that are ugly too. Perry's stepdad spends his time working, wishing he had a healthy cohesive family. He feels empty at his job and helpless to save his wife and stepdaughter. These are characters ripped apart by poverty, frustration and desire.
This is not a "feel-good" book, but it is a book that will make you feel. In a world that shoves commodities at us as time-fillers, this is something more and greater. This is literature doing what only the best can do: giving us something that matters, a way to connect. This is literature, big and bold. I wish that I could shake Hunter's hand and thank her for writing this book. Since I can't do that, I will share her brilliant work with you.