Diana McBride is recently separated from her husband. She also suffers from obsessive compulsive disorder, as well as the overwhelming need to please her mother. Diana just stopped taking her medication and is also Employee of the Month at Teddy’s World baby store.
Jamie Ramirez is a pregnant teen with an uncertain future. Her father suffers brain damage from a workplace accident. Her mother’s new age tendencies are unbearable. Her best friend and sole support system is away at college.
Stella is Jamie’s unborn child. She’s trying to figure out the “before” and what to expect in life.
Diana’s and Jamie’s paths cross at Teddy’s World. Hours later, Stella is born. A series of events leads their lives to interact again.
Little Beauties follows Diana (34), Jamie (17) and Stella (0) as they try and come to grips with their own personal realities. Diana must confront her broken marriage and the strained relationship with her mother while combating OCD. Jamie has decided to keep her baby, but hasn’t planned her life further than that. Stella is just trying to adapt to the transition from the spiritual world.
This is the debut novel of nationally recognized poet Kim Addonizio. The story touches on several heartfelt subjects, but doesn’t delve deeply into any of them. Addonizio commands readers interest with the relationship between Diana and her mother, Jamie and her mother, and the interactions between other characters as well. However, these bonds are not explored further and a fine opportunity to tackle these complexities is missed.
Little Beauties is an impressive debut novel. Addonizio presents Diana’s obsessive compulsive disorder with genuine understanding. The ending takes the path of least resistance but is adequately satisfying. It is very easy to care about these characters. Readers should be pleased with the glimpses of the cast’s futures provided by the author in this moving tale.