I finished Beautiful Bad a couple of weeks ago but it has taken me until now to decide what I really thought about it. That is often an admirable quality in a book but in this case I have been fighting too very diverse opinions. In many ways that is very typical of the book itself. It is a tale of two halves. One of a domestic suburban American home and the life lived there. The other in war torn countries, of poverty and death and destruction.
The book opens with a police officer responding to a 911 call. A young woman has been attacked in her home, the intruder is still present. It’s a dangerous situation and anything could happen. The police officer enters the home. There is blood. A lot of blood…
Maddie and Ian met when he was serving in the British Army and she was visiting her charity worker friend Jo, writing travel books to keep her income going. Now it is sixteen years later and they are married with a young son Charlie. When an accident leaves Maddie horribly disfigured she begins going to a therapist to help her. The therapy sessions reveal a woman starting to fear Ian’s PTSD and the effect that that and his drinking are having on the family.
In many ways I could understand how Ian felt because just reading about Maddie was driving me to drink! This is a story that frustrated me more than it entertained me. Aspects of the plot became glaringly obvious chapters in advance and others just seemed entirely superfluous. I really wanted to like it as it is just the sort of book I really enjoy but the characters were all largely awful. Deceitful, unstable and eminently unlikeable. It is one of those stories that you either love or hate.
Supplied by Quercus and Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.
UK Publication date: Mar 5 2019. 400 pages.
Prolific reader, enthusiastic theatre and movie-goer and ex-Olivier Awards judge who spent twenty years working in the music industry in London. I love sharing my favourite books with friends - nearly always spoiler-free as I hate reading a synopsis of the whole book in other reviews.