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Reviewed by Claudia Robinson

“I don’t know what happens, where the lapse is between thought and action, but I don’t tilt the can the right way. The choice isn’t a choice; it’s pure momentum. I hold the can upright, push out all my breath, insert the plastic nozzle in my mouth, and suck the first spray of sweet sour limp liquid and then the slightly chemical-tasting nothing cold air. Suck and suck and let the poison fill me up and then hold it in my lungs until they ache. Perhpas the lamest relapse in all of addict history–sucking whipped cream cans at Ralph’s.” Bebe Baker

Bebe Baker is a recovering addict working through a second chance at life in a halfway house and beauty school. After the traumatic loss of her boyfriend in a violent, drug hazed car accident, Bebe is left physically and mentally wounded, and completely alone. Dealing with bulimia, mental instability, a new boyfriend who thinks he’s Jesus and a past that keeps snaking it’s way back in to her present, threatening her future, Bebe struggles with finding a new place in a world that has little sympathy for drug addicts and unstable youth, and embarks on a quest to find someone or something to put her faith and trust in.

With the help of her halfway house friends, fellow cosmetology students and Susan, the halfway house enforcer, Bebe’s story unfolds in intimate detail, past and present woven seamlessly together. Painful, brutal, honest, raw and anything BUT pretty, Pretty by Jillian Lauren, deals with the power of addiction, the subsequent consequences of it’s abuse, and the daily struggle to be clean in a world that sober, seems cold, calculating, dangerous and cruel.

Written in the first person, Pretty provides an insider’s perspective of life after addiction and the temptations, deviations, and life choices one is required to avoid and manipulate in order to remain sober. Tenterhooks of sanity and powerhouse cravings make it seemingly impossible to expect someone with an addiction to succeed in their mission for sobriety; wrong turns, short piers and bad friends can, in one second, enable a bad decision and destroy any hope of a second chance. When the past comes knocking, Bebe’s resolve weakens further, and her frail filament of willpower, precariously and rapidly begins to unwind. Will Bebe manage to emerge victorious when all odds are against her? Or will the one person she has avoided at all costs at the expense of her own life, be the ultimate decision in her victory, or lack of? Read it and find out for yourself.

If you, or anyone you know has ever suffered from the disease of addiction and the darkness it brings to relationships, this is a MUST READ. Jillian spins a tale of despair and hope, interwoven, and creates a ‘keep you guessing, only time will tell’ story that keeps the pages turning and the candles burning. Poignant, desperate, deep, quirky, witty and brutal, Pretty promises to take any who indulge, on an emotional roller coaster that succinctly demonstrates the ongoing battle and struggles of a person locked in a life or death duel where the only warriors, obstacles and end result are one’s self.

Rating: 3.5/5

Check out our review of Some Girls: My Life in a Harem, also by Jillian Lauren

Claudia lives on beautiful Cape Cod with her husband and two children.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Plume. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.