Monday, June 2, 2014

Guest Book Review: The Beautiful American

By Amber Myers

I am a big fan of history. Therefore, I love it when I find a good book that takes place “back in the day.”

The Beautiful American by Jeanne Mackin goes through the years 1920-1977 and tells the story of Nora Tours and Lee Miller. Nora and Lee were friends as children, but at the age of seven, Lee was raped and they drifted apart. (This part was tough to read as I have a seven year old daughter. If someone had hurt her like that, they wouldn’t be around. My husband is a soldier. With guns.)

When Nora runs into Lee in Paris with her boyfriend Jamie years later, Lee is a mistress of a photographer named Man Ray (the name made me giggle and think of a character from Spongebob Squarepants.) Lee is a model, but soon turns into a photographer. They all become friends, but it seems Lee has still not gotten over what happened to her as a child. Nora and Lee’s friendship isn’t always easy—especially when Nora discovers that Lee has slept with her man, Jamie. Oh, and by the way, Nora has just discovered she was pregnant. Dun-dun-DUN.

I won’t give away too much. Nora does give birth to a daughter, and concentrates on raising her as she comes across photographs that Lee has taken in magazines. They do manage to stay friends, which was a shock to me, because I don’t think I could forgive someone who slept with my dude. Unfortunately Nora’s daughter Dahlia is also raped when she’s a teenager, and then disappears. Lee offers to help find her. Will she?

The book was intriguing to read. Picasso and Charlie Chaplin even make appearances in the book, which made me giddy. I loved the descriptions of Paris—it made me want some French food. I also loved how the story branched out for many years—as I mentioned before, history interests me.

I’d recommend this book to anyone who appreciates reading about history. The book did discuss some hard topics, yes, but I didn’t keep thinking about it since the writing was so good. I wanted to know what would become of Nora and Lee and if Nora would ever see her daughter again.

The ending was satisfying and made me smile.

And still wish that I could have some French food.

Thanks to Penguin/Berkley for the book in exchange for an honest review.

Amber Myers is a military wife and mom to a son with Aspergers and a daughter who is dramatic. She blogs over at Airing My Dirty Laundry, One Post At A Time and loves to read and write when her children allow it.


Connie said...

Oh, lucky you! I would love to read this book and have it on my Wish List! Thanks so much for sharing your review. said...

Hi Amber, yes some of this was tough subject matter. Thanks for the review, and best of luck!