Review: ‘We All Love the Beautiful Girls’ by Joanne Proulx

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Who do the lucky become when their luck sours?

One frigid winter night, the happily prosperous Mia and Michael Slate discover that a close friend and business partner has cheated them out of their life savings. On the same night, their son, Finn, passes out in the snow at a party — a mistake with shattering consequences.

Everyone finds their own ways of coping with the ensuing losses. For Finn, it’s Jess, a former babysitter who sneaks into his bed at night, even as she refuses to leave her boyfriend. Mia and Michael find themselves forgoing tenderness for rougher sex and seeking solace outside their marriage: Mia in a flirtation with a former colleague, whose empty condo becomes a blank canvas for a new life, and Michael at an abandoned baseball diamond, with a rusty pitching machine and a street kid eager to catch balls in Finn’s old glove. As they creep closer to the edge — of betrayal, infidelity, and revenge — the story moves into more savage terrain.

With honesty, compassion, and a tough emotional precision, award-winning author Joanne Proulx explores the itch of the flesh, sexual aggression, the reach of love and anger, and the question of who ultimately suffers when the privileged stumble.

Review:

Think Jeffrey Eugenides, ‘The Virgin Suicides’. ‘We All Love the Beautiful Girls’ by Joanne Proulx is hardly an easy read but like Eugenides work, Proulx’s work requires your entire attention and a keen eye to look outside of your moral compass code.

‘We All Love the Beautiful Girls’ reads like a thriller film. A cast of characters with a Canadian connection (the setting is in Quebec) whose individual lies are closely examined.  As they begin to untangle and snap, the reader is catapulted into a reality that is not only vivid but jarring to the eye and heart.

‘We All Love the Beautiful Girls’ reads like a television drama. Secrets, denial, compulsions and sexy scenes with a clear intent. If you like ‘Pretty Little Liars’ meets ‘The Secret Life of the American Teenager’, ‘We All Love the Beautiful Girls’ will bring you close to her bosom.

The reader participates in the child’s social pressures and the quest to fit in. While the marital cracks and tears of a parental woes that has its quirks.  A strong mother with a clear vision towards change but also working out her own strife.  A father who is weakened by a loss of a job and perhaps a burnt pride that resonates deeper than just in his unemployment.

Themes of grief, loss and interrupted love are explored in ‘We All Love the Beautiful Girls’. Proulx’s brand of writing is rich, sultry and brimming with verbose detail that takes the reader willingly down the rabbit hole towards a dim light full of whispers and questions.  Digging yourself out of that hole in one piece could be a tad startling.

http://penguinrandomhouse.ca/books/545769/we-all-love-beautiful-girls#9780735232884

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