cover image Such a Pretty Face

Such a Pretty Face

Cathy Lamb, Kensington, $15 paper (480p) ISBN 978-0-7582-2955-7

A 30-something's makeover hits a few snags in Lamb's wan latest. Stevie Barrett has lost 170 pounds since she had a heart attack at age 32, but she still struggles with the same old dysfunctions: horrifying memories of her insane mother drowning her sister, the toxic uncle who raised her, and deep insecurities that see her sabotaging herself at every turn. Adjusting to her new body, Stevie struggles to carve a self-image as she helps her cousins plan their parents' 40th anniversary party and battles a moral dilemma at the law firm where she works as a legal assistant. Lamb (The Last Time I Was Me) writes with an acute sensitivity in the quiet sections where Stevie plans her garden and contemplates the ramifications of her dramatic physical change, but these pleasant moments are drowned out by extended slapstick sequences in which her uncle and, in flashback, her mother, display the same outrageous behaviors over and over. Stevie's a winning heroine, but the underdeveloped support cast dominate too much of her show. (Aug.)