Monday, June 4, 2018

TLC Book Tours Book Review: A Handbook For Beautiful People

About A Handbook for Beautiful People

• Paperback: 260 pages
• Publisher: Inanna Publications (November 24, 2017)

Winner of an IPPY award - bronze in popular fiction

When twenty-two year old Marla finds herself unexpectedly pregnant, she wishes for a family, but faces precariousness: an uncertain future with her talented, exacting boyfriend, Liam; constant danger from her roommate, Dani, a sometime prostitute and entrenched drug addict; and the unannounced but overwhelming needs of her younger brother, Gavin, whom she has brought home for the first time from deaf school. Forcing her hand is Marla's fetal alcohol syndrome, which sets her apart but also carries her through. When Marla loses her job and breaks her arm in a car accident, Liam asks her to marry him. It's what she's been waiting for: a chance to leave Dani, but Dani doesn't take no for an answer. Marla stays strong when her mother shows up drunk, creates her own terms when Dani publicly shames her, and then falls apart when Gavin attempts suicide. It rains, and then pours, and when the Bow River finally overflows, flooding Marla's entire neighbourhood, she is ready to admit that she wants more for her child than she can possibly give right now. Marla's courage to ask for help and keep her mind open transforms everyone around her, cementing her relationships and proving to those who had doubted her that having a fetal alcohol spectrum disorder does not make a person any less noble, wise or caring.


"Wonderful, heartfelt, heartbreaking--I can't recommend this novel highly enough." --Annabel Lyon

"Jennifer Spruit has such a distinct, poignant voice, and her brilliant debut novel A Handbook for Beautiful People highlights this perfectly. Through sharp characters and their complications, a driven narrative develops, enveloping us before we have a chance to judge. Jump into this novel. It will sweep you up." --Joseph Boyden

Purchase Links

Inanna Publications | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Review: Do you want to feel good about your life? The characters in this book are all such a mess that I have to say that it makes me feel so much better about my life.

I really had a hard time with this book, because I absolutely hated all the characters. I haven't read a book like that since The Roanoke Girls, but whereas that book was a page turner, this one dragged with each character sinking lower and lower into the abyss. Marla has fetal alcohol syndrome, her friend/roommate his a druggie/prostitute and then there is her deaf/mute brother with anger issues and lastly her boyfriend Liam, who is in a word a jerk.

So when you combine all of these personalities, you get a book that isn't a pleasant read. I'm not saying that its not a good read, but oh is it a downer. These characters go through EVERYTHING and none of it is good and yet somehow they all start to get things together by the end.

It was an exhausting read. When I finally finished it, I had to step away from my Kindle for awhile to get over it.

Rating: 3 flowers

About Jennifer Spruit

Jennifer Spruit was born in Lloydminster, AB/SK, and now lives in Courtenay, BC. She attended the Creative Writing MFA program at the University of British Columbia. Jennifer enjoys teaching kids, playing music, and paddling a blue canoe. This is her first novel.

Find out more about Jennifer at her website.


Heather J @ TLC Book Tours said...

Thanks for being a part of the tour!

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