Title: A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty
Author: Joshilyn Jackson
Genre: Contemporary fiction
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Source: Audiobook from the public library
Audiobook reader: Joshilyn Jackson
First line: I never would have known about the other Mosey Slocumb if Tyler Baines hadn’t brought his mullet head and a chain saw over to murder my mom’s willow tree.
Amazon blurb: 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.
Bottom line? Read this book. Actually, let me rephrase that. If you are a regular audiobook listener, listen to this book on audio. If you are an occasional audiobook listener, listen to this book on audio. If you’ve ever considered, even for the slightest instant, listening to an audiobook – listen to this book on audio.
I have talked before about authors who read their own books on the audio versions – how this is typically a bad, bad idea. There are only two exceptions I can think of off the top of my head. One is Neil Gaiman. The other is Joshilyn Jackson. In fact, I have a couple of her books in print on my to-read shelf, but I keep putting them off in the hope that the library will acquire the audiobooks.
It has been a few weeks since I finished listening to A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty, and I can still hear the voices of Mosey, Liza, and Big in my head. They are three extraordinary women, all completely different, all one hundred percent Southern, and all stronger than they know. I can’t think of a single thing I didn’t love about this book; from the opening sentence to the last page, it was an amazing story.
The writing is pitch perfect, with each character narrating chapters in their own individual voices. There are chapter headings to let the reader know which character is speaking, but they are all so different that I wouldn’t have needed it. There are some authors who have a way of putting words together that simply leaves me breathless (Marisa de los Santos is another one), and while I didn’t notice this in Joshilyn Jackson’s The Girl Who Stopped Swimming, I certainly found myself gasping in sentence-induced pleasure plenty of times while listening to this one.
As I started writing this review, I kept getting choked up, and thinking how weird I am. The reason? I miss these characters! I wish there was a sequel – or two, or three, or four – so that I could spend more time with them. So, I guess this isn’t really a review – more of me spilling my emotional reaction to the book – but it’s the best I can do. Just read it. Or better yet, listen to it.