Pretty Is fell into the genre of novels that deal with kidnapping, which I am oddly attracted to. I honestly do not know why I reach for those books. Maybe it has to do with people’s motivations, or maybe it serves as a reminder that I won’t always be able to understand why people act the way they do. Regardless, Pretty Is was a psychological thriller that really examined Stockholm syndrome by focusing on two young kidnap victims years after they were rescued. Although Lois and Chloe thought they left the wooded cabin years before, their past was about to come back to haunt them.
Lois, a college professor, changed her name but gave herself away when she wrote a “fictional” book about two girls held hostage in the woods. Chloe lost herself in acting roles, and tried to forget her past by playing other people. The story was told in varying parts, some that focused on Lois and Chloe’s attempt to lead normal lives, and others that came from the book Lois wrote. The book within the book was only slightly fulfilling because Lois went to great lengths to explain that her story was only loosely based on her kidnapping, so I wasn’t sure how much to accept as true. Some of the background given about the women’s lives in the present seemed unnecessary and awkward. Those lengthy portions slowed down the pace of the narration in the present, which was a stark contract from the fast paced tale of how two twelve year old girls survived with a criminal for two months. The girls’ reactions to their captor were eerie but understandable, and made me believe in the plot from the beginning.
I enjoyed this novel, but the huge build up ended in only a few paragraphs, making this more of a portrait about how Chloe and Lois moved on in their lives, as opposed to a thriller where a stalker focused on Lois’ past. Still, I enjoyed the story.