Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Little Beauties, by Kim Addonizio

When I saw that Kim Addonizio is coming to Indy as part of Butler's Authors' Series, I was anxious to check out her work. Addonizio has published poetry and short story collections, but, except on rare occasions, neither of these forms resonates with me, so I bypassed these and nabbed her novel.

In "Little Beauties," Diana McBride, a former child beauty contestant, and Jamie Ramirez, a recalcitrant, pregnant teenager cross paths and change each other's lives. When Jamie wanders into a baby supply store, she purchases a teddy bear. The baby store is Diana's newest place of employment, as each of her other jobs inevitably became sullied by imagined contaminants that sparked her OCD.

"Little Beauties" is a fun, fast-paced, yet thought-provoking story. Addonizio imbues her characters with texture; they do good things with misguided intentions, and bad things when trying to do right. They are, each in her own way, slightly unhinged, yet true to life. Her characters, their dialogue, and the snappy scenes all work together, and something about Addonizio's sensibility reminds me of Anne Lamott, especially her new novel, "Imperfect Birds." In fact, in checking out the inside back cover, I see both women hail from my old stomping grounds: San Francisco's Bay Area.

"Little Beauties" was a great read and I look forward to hearing Kim Addonizio speak this fall. Maybe I'll even crack open some of her poetry.

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