Audiobook Pick of the Month: A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty

10960383Summary (from the publisher) A GROWN-UP KIND OF PRETTY is a powerful saga of three generations of women, plagued by hardships and torn by a devastating secret, yet inextricably joined by the bonds of family. Fifteen-year-old Mosey Slocumb-spirited, sassy, and on the cusp of womanhood-is shaken when a small grave is unearthed in the backyard, and determined to figure out why it’s there. Liza, her stroke-ravaged mother, is haunted by choices she made as a teenager. But it is Jenny, Mosey’s strong and big-hearted grandmother, whose maternal love braids together the strands of the women’s shared past–and who will stop at nothing to defend their future.

 Why I liked it:  There’s a lot of really good women’s fiction writers out there, but Joshilyn Jackson is in a league of her own. She has a knack for describing incredibly complex thoughts and feelings in a way that really connects readers with the characters. For a while there, I almost felt like I was Mosey. I hung on to the narrator’s every word as the story slowly unfolded, always teasing me with more questions than answers about Mosey’s sordid family history.

This author never ceases to amaze me with her intoxicating stories about Southern women with haunted backstories and serious psychological issues. As a fledgling author, I have to admit that I’m rather intimidated by her raw talent for lyrical prose. The last chapter is sheer poetry. I guess if I had to put her in a league, she’d be in the dugout with the likes of Stephen King, Janet Fitch and Robert McCammon

The narrator: You’d think that authors would be ideal narrators, but typically their performances fall flat. They tend to sound like a bored librarian entertaining little kiddies at a story-time reading circle. But much to my surprise, Joshilyn Jackson did a standup job narrating this book. Her authentic Southern drawl really added to the characters’ personalities. There were quite a few characters in this book – which can be really confusing on audio – but she gave each of them a distinct tone. I really loved how she’d lower her voice a few octaves to drum up the suspense. Really well done!

Favorite character: There’s a lot of fascinating characters in this story, but Big (aka Ginny Slocumb) really stole my heart. She is everything a mother should be: Protective, loving and self-sacrificing. I loved how she stopped at nothing to rehabilitate her daughter in defiance of naysayers who swore she’d be a vegetable for the rest of her life. She’s headstrong, feisty and incredibly smart. I especially enjoyed how she handled her family’s tormenter toward the end of the book. Well played, Big!

Summed up in three words: Mesmerizing. Heart wrenching. Poetic.

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