Book Review: Pretty Is by Maggie Mitchell

Pretty Is Maggie Mitchell Novel

This debut novel by Maggie Mitchell focuses on two women who were kidnapped at the age of 12. Both were picked up by a man who’s car they willingly got into, they then spent 6 weeks over summer with him before being found by police and him shooting himself in front of these girls. Everything from that decision and that moment has changed their life and we join them at age 30 where things that they thought they had forgotten about or moved on from start to catch up with them.

The quieter girl, Lois, who’s now become a university lecturer, wrote a novel about the kidnapping, a book that has become popular enough to be turned into a film. The more confident girl, Carly May is now an actress using a different name, Chloe Savage, this completely different life she’s created stops her past interferring with and tainting the little bit of fame she has. Chloe is the cast as a character in the film of Lois’ book and from that moment both their lives change yet again as the stability they had built up starts to crumble and everything starts to lead to their inevitable meeting.

Pretty Is Maggie Mitchell Extract

With flashbacks to their life before and after the kidnapping, stories from their time with their kidnapper, Zed, and an extract from Lois’ book stuck in the middle of this novel; the story does flit about quite a lot which is quite distracting in places although you do manage to get a plethora of information about both girls. For me though, there may be a little too much information, there are some things that I think I don’t really need to know and some storylines, like the stalker storyline with Lois and creepy student, Sean, seemed a little too long before reaching a conclusion.

However, the writing is good in the main, the language used by Mitchell works so well as it helps you picture the various locations and the characters involved. It is an interesting take on the traditional kidnapping story with a kidnapper who has no intention of harming the girls he takes, there is no abuse and they openly admit throughout the book how much they miss him, wishing their 6 weeks with him would have lasted longer.

This is a good read but I do think some of the many storylines here need to be streamlined to up the interest and thrill that can and is found throughout.

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