Monday, May 27, 2013

Review: Gorgeous by Paul Rudnick

Click for Goodreads
by Paul Rudnick
Published April 2013
Source: Borrowed
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 

Summary from Goodreads: 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.

Gorgeous was on my radar as soon as I saw Meg Cabot's glowing endorsement. Being a long time fan of all things Meg Cabot touches, I was sure I would fall in love with this book. Unfortunately, it fell short for me.

First: what I liked. Gorgeous is a book with its heart in the right place. The underlying message is that outside beauty is never as important as inside. Even if you are the most beautiful woman in the world, it won't solve all of your problems. Rudnick delivers this age old message in a new and unique way. The magical elements were fun and the sattire was funny, but it never distracted from the message.

Satire isn't really my thing. I've found that the characters often suffer from the efforts taken to both deliver the underlying message and make a statement about our society. Gorgeous was no exception. I just couldn't connect to the characters on the level I would have liked to. Too many felt very superficial and lacked depth. Only Becky and her best friend Rocher actually felt real enough for me to like them.

I also had a problem with the way Rudnick incorporated Becky's mom. We don't get to know her very well before the whole adventure begins, only some superficial details about her celebrity obsession and how nice of a person she was. This bothered me because Becky does everything because of and for her mom. I would have like a bit more of her and Becky's relationship so I could better understand Becky's motivations. We learn more and more about her mother's past throughout the book, but I never got to a point where I felt l understood who she was.

Gorgeous is a great book for those who like satire. There were some things that I found really funny while reading, because they were so true about our celebrity obsessed society. Unfortunately, the characters weren't developed enough for me to really love this novel. If you're looking for a book with heart that will make you think about how we view beauty, and laugh along the way, then this the book for you.


  1. I'm not sure how I feel about satire but I hope this book works better for me as I'm really looking forward to it. I did enjoy Libba Bray's Beauty Queens-have you read that and do you feel it's on similar lines?

    1. I started and didn't finish Beauty Queens, probably because I just can't seem to get behind satire in novel form! If you liked Beauty Queens, then you will probably like Gorgeous :)

  2. Hmmm. This sounds interesting, and I do love satire, but if you can't relate to the characters, it just sucks, right? Awesome review, Taylor!


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