Beautiful to the Bone by P.G. Lengsfelder
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
BOOK DESCRIPTION: Who can survive the siren call of beauty?
When four-year old Eunis Kindsvatter leaves her Minnesota farmhouse for the very first time, it’s because her mother drags her to a doctor . . .with the hope he’ll absolve her for Eunis’ face. It’s albino with a grotesque birthmark. “An unnaturally ugly thing,” according to Momma. Though the doctor finds nothing physically wrong, Eunis is kept isolated from the world, Momma filling her with tales of fearful gods, demons and prophecy.
Eunis begins to experience unpredictable hypersensitivity to people and places. She instinctively gravitates to water and to Freyja, the Norse goddess of beauty, Momma’s ideal. Determined to be of value, Eunis embarks on a journey to quantify beauty, to protect future generations from the pain she’s experienced, and someday “make everybody beautiful” —through science.
But Eunis’ obsessive research into beauty draws her into a world of unreliable voices, unforeseen pleasures, dangers and death. In Beautiful to the Bone, Eunis must fight for her sanity and reconcile the gap between the science of beauty and the incalculable qualities that draw us to it. (Goodreads)
MY REVIEW: I really enjoyed this book. The plot is quite different to anything I’ve read before and I was never sure where the story would lead me. The character of Eunis is deeply and richly drawn and I felt the pain of her need to pursue an objective understanding of beauty. The book is beautifully written with evocative language and genuine empathy for the characters. It was thought provoking and its exploration of beauty, and what it is, made me reflect on my own notions of beauty and the tendency I (and perhaps all of us) have to see beauty as only skin deep rather than what is at the heart and soul of an individual. An excellent read.
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