My review and an extended sample of the audiobook are posted at Hotlistens.com.
Ah, where to start with this book?? Let’s start with what put this book on my radar. I saw two authors tweeting about it, Andrew Shaffer and Kitty Thomas. If you’re not familiar with these two authors, Kitty Thomas writes some pretty psychological erotica which is pretty amazing, but not for everyone. Check out Comfort Food or Guilty Pleasures to see some books by her. Andrew Shaffer is Tiffany Reisz’s husband. He has written some books like Fifty Shames of Earl Gray and How to Survive a Sharknado and Other Unnatural Disasters. Anyway, their conversation really peaked my interest in this book. It was too long ago to look up, or i would share it with you.
Anyway, this book is written by the author of Fight Club. That is a book that I haven’t read, but I love the movie. I’ve also seen this movie listed on several lists of movies that were better than the book, so that hasn’t made reading Fight Club high on my list. Not to mention that it isn’t a genre a normally frequent. Anyway, Beautiful You, sounded interesting, so I decided to take a chance and read it. I will say that I read it without having read any of the reviews on Goodreads, since no one I follow had read it.
I guess I should talk about this actual book now.This story starts off with Penny Harrigan in a court room where she is raped in court in front of everyone and no one lifts a finger to help her. As I listened to this, I wondered what was going on. Was she having a nightmare? This couldn’t actually be happening. It took me a while to actually figure out how this fit into the story. It was a very brief scene and it left me starting off the book very confused. It only got weirder from there.
Penny Harrigan is an average woman. She is from a small town in Nebraska. She makes her way to the big city of Manhattan working at a law firm trying to make her way into passing the bar exam and becoming a lawyer herself. She meets one of Manhattan’s most eligible bachelors, C. Linus Maxwell, aka “Climax-Well”. He takes her to Paris where he proceeds to work with her to test his new line of sex toys. They have tons of sex while he is as cold and scientific as you can get. She has some of the best sex in her life. She has several brief conversations with one of his past lovers who is a very successful actress, but doesn’t seem to be doing well health wise or emotionally. Then there are several of his other past lovers who seem off, is the best way to put it.
Then he decides he is done with his testing and throws her out and the new line of products come out. Women flock to the stores. They basically become addicts to the feelings that his products are providing. Women are calling in sick from work. Many are going missing. They are basically acting like meth addicts, but with masturbation. Even stopping to eat is something that they aren’t thinking about it. You would think that is where the weirdness comes to a head, but it only gets worse from there. Penny seeks out the old shaman-like woman who Maxwell learned all of his tricks from. There is a court trial where Penny tries to take down Maxwell. Penny learns a very hidden secret. The ending is very weird.
I don’t even know what to make of this book or what genre to put it in (hence just listing it as “fiction”). There are parts I thought were interesting. There were parts where I felt that the author just took things too far as to not be even remotely believable. I liked Penny as a character for the most part. Maxwell was the jerk he was meant to be. You really had to feel for his past lovers, who while looking very successful, you figure out they aren’t very happy. It is not a book that a lot of people will enjoy. I think the idea had merit. I’m just not sure that fleshed out in the best way possible. This book is interesting. I don’t know that I enjoyed it. I believe that the word that caught my eye in the original Twitter convo was “disturbing”, which that it is. I do like some pretty out there books sometimes, but this wasn’t one of them. I’m giving it 2.5 stars because it is written well and it did keep me very interested with what would happen next. I don’t know that I would recommend it unless it something that really sounds interesting to you.
This is the first book that I’ve listened to with Carol Monda. I thought she did a great job with narration. I did listen at an increased speed, but that is not abnormal for me. I thought she did a great job with the men and women. I thought she was great with the cold and calculating Maxwell. I thought she covered some of the downward spiral of several of the women really well. The old crone woman was voiced really well as well. I would look forward to listening to her again.