Review of "Everyone's Pretty"
Rumored to be inspired by author Lydia Millet's two-year stint working as a copy editor at Hustler Magazine, ĎEverybodyís Prettyí centers around the world of freelance porn reviewer Dean Decetes. While that may grab your attention, what keeps it is Deanís delusional status.
More than a drunk would-be, Dean believes he is not only superior to everyone in his life, he believes he is chosen by God. Or more accurately, by Earth Mother.
Earth Mother is in all actuality Barbara, a Ďmentally deficientí woman married to Phillip, a hygiene-phobic Christian Scientist who tries to keep her pure in all manner & form. Phillip is so strident in his pursuit of God working on spirit, that he is nearly as delusional as Dean, for Phillip has written numerous letters to PBS about those Ďdeviants one and all, .The Three Tenors. Phillip is also the boss of Deanís spinster sister, Bucella.
Bucella is a devote Catholic with a need for order & cleanliness, and an epic romantic fascination with a co-worker. She has fantasies of this man wearing a crown of thorns & bathing his feet. Dean is Bucellaís cross to bear. He sponges off her, manipulates & belittles her. But hey, thatís Dean. Bucellaís not special that way.
Bucella & Dean live next door to teen-age genius Ginny, whose mother is humiliating for me, and I am no longer a teenager. Ginny runs away, gets picked up by Deanís boss, and after one strange incident, she willingly runs home.
Bucella also works with Alice, a weary blonde bombshell, who becomes the misplaced object of Phillipís attentions. Alice also accidentally befriends Ginnyís mom. As if this werenít confusing enough, enter a midget met in prison, a cross-dressing man, & a foul talking parrot.
But you wonít be confused. Youíll be delightfully charmed!
Told from the point of view of 5 characters (Dean, Bucella, Phillip, Ginny & Alice), all the characters weave in & out of each otherís lives in a strange dance, searching for the meaning of life. Well, if not the meaning of life, searching for something more significant than what they have. Well, if you donít buy that metaphoric crap, then this is a search for God & sex.
God & sex are pitted against each other, mistaken for each other, and viewed as means to one another. Some obsess on Godís ways, while some abstain from Godís ways. Some abstain from sex, some are reborn in sex. Some abstain from God & sex. Some believe the are The Savior because of sex. Some believe in math as The Savior, but have diaphragms anyway.
The author has created the truly bizarre, but itís all plausible. Itís epic & fantastic, yet each character is so rooted in some clinical state that you suddenly feel that itís all too real. Itís sharp & biting, cruel when necessary, and while this certainly exposes the soft underbellies of the people, they retain if not dignity (and I must say, there may be indignant characters, there isnít much dignity!), some sense of respect or warmth, for Millet never goes in for the kill. Well, technically, since there is death, she does kill, but, oh what the hell -- this book is full of contradictions, humor & irony. Above all itís absolutely captivating.
I picked it up, read it almost in one day -- and I was pissed when I had to stop. 'Everone's Pretty' is fast & furious reading that nearly hypnotizes.
This is Lydia Milletís third book If it was inspired by her work at Larry Flynt Publications, I say give her a new job every 6 months, & let her write some more!
Review by DeeDee.