Gorgeous by Paul Rudnick
Official Synopsis: When eighteen-year-old Becky Randle’s mother dies, she’s summoned from her Missouri trailer park to meet Tom Kelly, the world’s top designer. He makes her an impossible offer: He’ll create three dresses to transform Becky from a nothing special girl into the most beautiful woman who ever lived. Becky thinks Tom is a lunatic, or that he’s producing a hidden camera show called World’s Most Gullible Poor People. But she accepts, and she’s remade as Rebecca. When Becky looks in the mirror, she sees herself – an awkward mess of split ends and cankles. But when anyone else looks at Becky, they see pure five-alarm hotness.
Soon Rebecca is on the cover of Vogue, the new Hollywood darling, and dating celebrities. Then Becky meets Prince Gregory, heir to the British throne, and everything starts to crumble. Because Rebecca aside, Becky loves him. But to love her back, Gregory would have to look past the blinding Rebecca to see the real girl inside. And Becky knows there’s not enough magic in the world.
A screamingly defiant, hugely naughty, and impossibly fun free fall past the cat walks, the red carpets, and even the halls of Buckingham Palace, Gorgeous does the impossible: It makes you see yourself clearly for the first time.
This is not going to be a very long review, because I do not have much to say about it.
This book starts and it is intriguing. I liked Becky’s voice, felt the pain of her loss and was fascinated by the situation she finds herself in. Famous fashion designer Tom Kelley gives Becky a choice. She can stay with him in Manhattan, he will design her three dresses and she will become the most beautiful woman in the world. Or, she can go back to her trailer in the middle of nowhere America and back to her not so pretty life. Easy enough choice. I kept reading, because this prospect was amazing to me. I expected magic, or a crazy make over or the idea that Becky was beautiful all along.
Here’s the issue with that. There is some kind of magic, or supernatural element that makes Becky become the beautiful Rebecca, but it is not really explained. So, it just seems to me that a fashion designer puts a girl in a dress and she is beautiful. There is no real life lesson, or goal, or anything. This is just a silly book, where silly things happen. Sure, there are some underlying messages about appearance and our culture, but it is nothing new. It is not unique or different. It’s the same old story and it annoyed me.
I am twenty-four years old, so these kinds of books do not effect me. The issue is, that while reading this book, I remembered a 14 year old me. The girl who was not pretty, too tall and wore glasses. The girl who could not figure out what to do with my kinky short hair and the fact that my legs were too long and my thighs too straight to fit into jeans like the other girls. I think about the 18 year old me, who finally put on make up and a nice dress turned to the mirror and just saw me staring back. Books and films like “Gorgeous,” try to teach us to love ourselves for who we are, but first the heroine gets a make over and looks like Rachel Leigh Cook, Lindsey Lohan (red headed, mean girls version) or Anne Hathaway.
It would be great if these books were about normal girls who look normal. Girls who don’t get to look like Hollywood glamour, but just average. It would be nice if hero actually fell in love with the heroine, because she does have an amazing personality.
I know those who love this will tell me that I just didn’t get it or the great message flew over my head. It just is not for me.