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BOOK REVIEW: Was She Pretty? by Leanne Shapton


In every relationship there are more than just two players, there are the specters looming in the background – the ghosts of past partners. This is the topic explored by Leanne Shapton in her debut Was She Pretty? This slender volume invites readers to explore the truths of modern love, their darkest fears and secret anxieties through her line drawings and prose.

Tracing a group of interconnected friends, the narrator outlines each ex with unemotional prose, capturing entire relationships in single lines: “Martin had never mentioned his hauntingly beautiful ex-girlfriend Carwai to Heidi.” Shapton’s spare prose leaves room for the reader’s imagination to fill in the blanks based on their own experiences and emotional reaction. Don’t be surprised if she manages to conjure up ghosts from your own past.

The sparse narrative makes for a quick read but Shapton’s novel remains with the reader. She appears to suggest that jealousy refines a relationship, enhancing it – if the relationship survives. Our partners’ exes haunt us while at the same time we ourselves are exes. Was She Pretty? explores this engaging dichotomy, asking: what is it about exes that creates this love/hate relationship? While she offers no answers, the journey into one’s own psyche is a fascinating one.

ISBN10: 0374299269
ISBN13: 9780374299262

198 Pages
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux
Publication Date: November 7, 2006


3 Comments to

“BOOK REVIEW: Was She Pretty? by Leanne Shapton”

  1. On February 13th, 2007 at 12:23 pm karen! Says:

    Ok, I think I definitely need to go put this one on my wishlist. It sounds wonderful

  2. On February 13th, 2007 at 1:43 pm Rashenbo Says:

    An interesting involvement of jealousy it sounds like… :) Thank you for reading and sharing it! :)

    Good luck in the Debut a Debut contest!

  3. On February 13th, 2007 at 10:38 pm littlebirdblue Says:

    I like the sound of the unusual format and style. Thanks for picking this one to review.

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