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Pretty Little Mistakes: A Do-Over Novel

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There are hundreds of lives sown inside Pretty Little Mistakes, Heather McElhatton's singularly spectacular, breathtakingly unique novel that has more than 150 possible endings. You may end up in an opulent mansion or homeless down by the river; happily married with your own corporation or alone and pecked to death by ducks in London; a Zen master in Japan or morbidly obes There are hundreds of lives sown inside Pretty Little Mistakes, Heather McElhatton's singularly spectacular, breathtakingly unique novel that has more than 150 possible endings. You may end up in an opulent mansion or homeless down by the river; happily married with your own corporation or alone and pecked to death by ducks in London; a Zen master in Japan or morbidly obese in a trailer park. Is it destiny or decision that controls our fate? You can't change your past and start over from scratch in real life—but in Pretty Little Mistakes, you can! But be warned, choose wisely.


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There are hundreds of lives sown inside Pretty Little Mistakes, Heather McElhatton's singularly spectacular, breathtakingly unique novel that has more than 150 possible endings. You may end up in an opulent mansion or homeless down by the river; happily married with your own corporation or alone and pecked to death by ducks in London; a Zen master in Japan or morbidly obes There are hundreds of lives sown inside Pretty Little Mistakes, Heather McElhatton's singularly spectacular, breathtakingly unique novel that has more than 150 possible endings. You may end up in an opulent mansion or homeless down by the river; happily married with your own corporation or alone and pecked to death by ducks in London; a Zen master in Japan or morbidly obese in a trailer park. Is it destiny or decision that controls our fate? You can't change your past and start over from scratch in real life—but in Pretty Little Mistakes, you can! But be warned, choose wisely.

30 review for Pretty Little Mistakes: A Do-Over Novel

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jen

    Updated Review 9/1/08: I originally gave this book three stars, but when I picked the book up last night and tried reading a few more "lives," I wanted to throw it away. I really like the idea of the book (choose-your-own-adventure), but I feel like the author did a horrible job executing it. Notes: 1) "Shocking" writing does not equal "good" or "interesting" writing. 2) The consequences of the choices you make have nothing to do with what you chose to do in the book. I understand that the different Updated Review 9/1/08: I originally gave this book three stars, but when I picked the book up last night and tried reading a few more "lives," I wanted to throw it away. I really like the idea of the book (choose-your-own-adventure), but I feel like the author did a horrible job executing it. Notes: 1) "Shocking" writing does not equal "good" or "interesting" writing. 2) The consequences of the choices you make have nothing to do with what you chose to do in the book. I understand that the different choices you make should lead you down interesting life paths, but it seems like it doesn't matter what choice you make, something horrible will happen to you. Sometimes you end up with the same outcome no matter what you do. Example: Choice 1: Stay in school and get your Master's degree. Choice 2: Take a job as a pharmaceutical sales rep. Outcome of Choice 1: Become a meth addict. Outcome of Choice 2: Become a meth addict. WTF?! Seriously? Why don't you just write one story if you've already decided where you want it to go? Where is the "choice" that you pretend you are giving readers? 3) No matter what you do, you hate your life the way it is. Each choice you make pulls you further and further into the abyss that is your life until you (a) are randomly murdered on your way home, (b) die of a drug overdose, (c) manage to live the rest of your life and die of old age, but WAIT, you are incredibly lonely because everyone in your life has left you or you murdered them! 4) This book is NOT interesting. This book is ridiculous and a waste of time. Old Review: This is an adult Choose-Your-Own-Adventure book. Each "life" you read starts out right after your high school graduation and leads you to your death (good or bad). The writing isn't that fantastic, and the author seems stuck on trying to shock you. Overall, this is a fun book if you want to just play around and live a few "lives."

  2. 5 out of 5

    Bess

    This book is supposed to be a choose-your-own-adventure for grown-ups, which sounds fantastic in theory (who didn't love those books as kids?) except that it's totally substanceless, plotless, and reads more like a MadLib page than the "novel" it claims to be. I guess it would be cool if a real, established writer attempted such a project, because then at least it might have a fraction of redeeming literary merit, but the author is a radio announcer (or something) from Minneapolis who clearly ju This book is supposed to be a choose-your-own-adventure for grown-ups, which sounds fantastic in theory (who didn't love those books as kids?) except that it's totally substanceless, plotless, and reads more like a MadLib page than the "novel" it claims to be. I guess it would be cool if a real, established writer attempted such a project, because then at least it might have a fraction of redeeming literary merit, but the author is a radio announcer (or something) from Minneapolis who clearly just wanted to cash in on the whole everybody-else-is-doing-a-book-so-can-I thing. I didn't even have exceptionally high hopes for this book -- I thought it would at LEAST be a quick, fun read to serve as a nice light escape from all the heavy-ass Lionel Shriver I've been reading -- but it managed to disappoint me anyway.

  3. 5 out of 5

    jess

    choose-your-own-adventure book for adults. there's one beginning, and 150 different endings. it was good for me to read while traveling, as i could read it during the 3000 miles between pittsburgh and seattle easily. each section is short, quick, and entertaining, so it was easy to pick up and put down in the hustle and bustle of cross-country adventure. in my first life, i killed my rich, abusive doctor husband and lived like a king with his money and my two children. in my second life, i was s choose-your-own-adventure book for adults. there's one beginning, and 150 different endings. it was good for me to read while traveling, as i could read it during the 3000 miles between pittsburgh and seattle easily. each section is short, quick, and entertaining, so it was easy to pick up and put down in the hustle and bustle of cross-country adventure. in my first life, i killed my rich, abusive doctor husband and lived like a king with his money and my two children. in my second life, i was shot in the face in an Arby's parking lot right after high school graduation. the third time around, i became a fabulously wealthy lesbian and married my beloved jewelry-designing lover. i was hooked. i went to art school, married a pastor, became an alcoholic, joined a cult.... all in a few hours. the book is not infinitely amusing, it repeats itself occasionally, but at times is actually laugh-out-loud funny. italy, japan, meth, cocaine, go back to the previous choice and try again. this time, i think i'll turn down the sugar daddy, hijack some antiques, and have a lot of grandchildren around me when i die at 92. i'm not sure if i found every single ending, but i had a good time trying. some questionable portrayals of queer lives, and realistic levels of unempathetic and discompassionate portrayals of different kinds of experiences. great for: ADHD, traveling, indecisive people full of regrets, and bad decision makers.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Dominica Phetteplace

    A Choose-Your-Own-Adventure book for grownups. Why didn't anyone think of this before? The original CYOA books all had a theme, whether it was searching for big foot or getting abducted by aliens. The adventure in this novel is life, with the book starting out at high-school graduation and taking you along various paths until your death. Every decision always presents you with the tough choice of going with or against your better judgment. I liked majoring in the sciences and turning down marria A Choose-Your-Own-Adventure book for grownups. Why didn't anyone think of this before? The original CYOA books all had a theme, whether it was searching for big foot or getting abducted by aliens. The adventure in this novel is life, with the book starting out at high-school graduation and taking you along various paths until your death. Every decision always presents you with the tough choice of going with or against your better judgment. I liked majoring in the sciences and turning down marriage proposals. But the limitations of a book like this is that the author can't involve you in every decision, and every time the protagonist makes a decision without the reader, it's a reminder that you only have the illusion of controlling the narrative, with ultimately minimal input in how things actually turn out. I felt left out of important decisions. I could decide where I wanted to travel, but not if I wanted to become a drug addict, or have sex with the janitor in a utility closet. A sense of disappointment accompanied the realization that the protag is nothing like me. I want this book to be about my life, but there is no way it possibly can. Good decisions often have bad consequences and bad decisions too often get good endings. That's life, I guess, but in fiction it makes for an unsatisfying read. In my books, I prefer good behavior to be rewarded and bad deeds punished. Fiction is about imposing order on an unruly reality (see Ian McEwan's Atonement). The book's "flip to page whatever" format means the protag can never be affected by any of her past decisions. Each piece of the story is nearly independent from all others. A nice speculative touch is the glimpses of the afterlife that occasionally accompany the protag's death. I won't ruin any, just know that they are creative and diverse, and sometimes depend on the manner of death. This book is light, but it's meant to be. It's entertaining without being nourishing.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jamie

    This is, of course, a choose-your-own-adventure book for grown-ups. It's really a hundred or so very, very short but highly inventive stories balled up into a single book. Each "chapter" is only a page or two long, so I do spend a lot of time flipping through the book and holding my fingers in the places of my various decisions so that I can go back to my last decision once the story ends. It's funny, fast-paced, and great for when you need to pass a few minutes of time. You won't like this book This is, of course, a choose-your-own-adventure book for grown-ups. It's really a hundred or so very, very short but highly inventive stories balled up into a single book. Each "chapter" is only a page or two long, so I do spend a lot of time flipping through the book and holding my fingers in the places of my various decisions so that I can go back to my last decision once the story ends. It's funny, fast-paced, and great for when you need to pass a few minutes of time. You won't like this book if you're looking for a thoughtful, carefully written novel that you can devour over a pot of tea. You also won't like this book if you are bothered by the fact that the author lets you make decisions of where to travel and whom to marry, but not whether you shall have unprotected sex in a coat closet with a sexy, unnamed janitor, or whether you will barter sex for the services of a sweaty, unattractive auto mechanic who warns you that he has a "big wiener." This book emphasizes the unfairness of human existence: chance plays a bigger role in the protagonist's life than does my decision-making. Our control over our lives is illusory, though we like to pretend it's not. We study and ponder and move slowly through our decisions to avoid negative consequences, but the fact is that we still can't protect ourselves from some of the most awful aspects of being human. And while we're moving slowly and pondering and studying, we miss the brilliant, unforeseeable joy that comes from spontaneity.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Miranda Medrick

    I loved this book. It seems like just an adult themed choose your own adventure (or a handbook on how to screw up your life at times) but I think it actually becomes a commentary on the way we live our lives and how no matter how many 'right' decisions you make or how many bad things happen to you, you never know if you'll live a long happy life or a short miserable one or any combination there of. There are parts (lots of them) that are not for the squeamish. And a lot of it isn't very probable, I loved this book. It seems like just an adult themed choose your own adventure (or a handbook on how to screw up your life at times) but I think it actually becomes a commentary on the way we live our lives and how no matter how many 'right' decisions you make or how many bad things happen to you, you never know if you'll live a long happy life or a short miserable one or any combination there of. There are parts (lots of them) that are not for the squeamish. And a lot of it isn't very probable, which people who didn't like this book seemed to complain about the most. I find that the neatest part! It's not predictable at any point, and even when it might be it moves so fast that it doesn't matter. I had no expectations for this book. I thought I might like it just as easily at hate it, I was floored that is resonated in the way it did. It makes you think. It grosses you out, and make s you marvel at the fucked up situations someone can end up in and sometimes laugh at the way a 'great' life decision can turn out so terribly terribly wrong! It makes your heart swell at times and ache at others. Anyone who can do that in snippets of stories is a good writer, and I can't wait to read her next one. I recommend post-it page markers to anyone who wants to make sure they don't miss parts of a story. I started using them about halfway thru to mark parts to go back to and read the other choices.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Priya

    The first book of this kind i have read since my Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys combination book days! I appreciate the effort it takes to spin off the various threads based on the choices of the reader and sync them in case they eventually merge as it did for me in one set of choices. The story line begins with a choice of university or travel after school and goes on to a whole lot of options, many of which are actually juvenile to be honest. But I read this to get a feel of the format of choose your The first book of this kind i have read since my Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys combination book days! I appreciate the effort it takes to spin off the various threads based on the choices of the reader and sync them in case they eventually merge as it did for me in one set of choices. The story line begins with a choice of university or travel after school and goes on to a whole lot of options, many of which are actually juvenile to be honest. But I read this to get a feel of the format of choose your own adventure so it was ok.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Lex K.

    Eh. I, like everyone else, was very intrigued by the concept of this book. I am a huge fan of CYOA books, and many impostors, so it would logically follow that I would be lured in by the premise of a book in that style, but geared towards an older audience. Unfortunately, this book fell short of my expectations. Instead of feeling like my decisions actually altered what I was reading, I was presented stories that mostly went in the direction influenced by decisions we DIDN'T make. Example: Go to Eh. I, like everyone else, was very intrigued by the concept of this book. I am a huge fan of CYOA books, and many impostors, so it would logically follow that I would be lured in by the premise of a book in that style, but geared towards an older audience. Unfortunately, this book fell short of my expectations. Instead of feeling like my decisions actually altered what I was reading, I was presented stories that mostly went in the direction influenced by decisions we DIDN'T make. Example: Go to college for art, or science? -->Science. You are on your way to being a doctor! But you are addicted to meth now (yep)! Keep going to school to finish your studies, or go work at a pharmaceutical company as a sales rep? -->Doesn't really matter! Either way, you wind up miserable because of a meth addiction that you automatically got by going to college. Why don't I get to choose NOT to start a meth addiction? I don't think all doctors were required to go through a period of drug addiction as part of their studies. Furthermore, just because I chose science, why do I have to be a doctor? I know these books can't let us choose EVERYTHING, but it seems regardless of what otherwise responsible choices we make, we are drafted into completely irresponsible ones. You just woke up! Do you want to eat breakfast first, or shower first? Eat breakfast? Man comes in to rob you, you tell him to go eff himself, he shoots you in the face, and you did. You shower first? As you reach for the soap, an earthquake happens, your ceiling collapses, and you die. Okay, that last part isn't in there, but it's pretty much how this entire thing reads. But, as we don't have a choice about our drug addiction, reading this summary wouldn't have prevented me from getting this book, and giving it a try.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    I found this book in my library's used book store. I was immediately intrigued by the book because it is a choose your own adventure novel. I loved those books as a kid (who didn't) and the idea of reading one written for adults seemed exciting (key word "seemed"). The sections are really disjointed and pretty far-fetched. Each "story" is very short; only once did I jump more than five times. The stories were neither creative nor did the consequences equal the choices I made. I died in every endi I found this book in my library's used book store. I was immediately intrigued by the book because it is a choose your own adventure novel. I loved those books as a kid (who didn't) and the idea of reading one written for adults seemed exciting (key word "seemed"). The sections are really disjointed and pretty far-fetched. Each "story" is very short; only once did I jump more than five times. The stories were neither creative nor did the consequences equal the choices I made. I died in every ending and depending on the choices I made I was either incredibly happy and at peace or I was some miserable waste of space. The odd part, however, was the choices seemed to lead to some ridiculous and impossible outcomes. Example: In one story-line I became an alcoholic and after beating a baby on the head with a bottle of wine I end up in jail. After three years I am paroled and must choose to be a janitor or a waitress. Choice 1: I chose to be a janitor at a hospital where I was raped by a monkey which lead to me living happily ever after on millions before dying of a rare monkey disease. Choice 2: I chose to be a waitress and worked at the same restaurant for the rest of my life. I was miserable, never married the abusive jerk I lived with and finally died after a pressure cooker exploded on me. What the heck? How is that possible? How does getting raped by a monkey lead to a happier ending? Why is that even an event that occurs? Was that supposed to be funny? I don't even know what to think of that. The novel is also very graphic. I don't have an issue with books that have foul language, descriptions of sex, or excessive gore. The author, however, seems to have included a gratuitous amount just for the sake of it. It's not particularly shocking in my opinion, but it does get a little tiresome after awhile. The novel only had a few redeeming qualities. It was a quick read. It was super easy to read a section of the story on the bus. It has a few humorous scenarios. Overall, though, the books just falls flat. In theory, a choose your own adventure novel for adults is fantastic. I am sure that if a more established writer had taken on this task the novel would have been more enjoyable. However, due to a lack of linear movement from choice to consequence and some downright disgusting and repulsive events and decisions Pretty Little Mistakes is a good idea gone wrong.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jackie

    I ordinarily would not even consider writing a review for a book after only spending 1 1/2 hours with it, but I simply cannot wait to tell people about this book. Heather McElhatton, radio host, producer and now author, may well be a genius. Remember the books when we were kids that made you decide at the end of each chapter where you wanted to go next, letting you chose your ending? Pretty Little Mistakes is the grownup version with literally 150 different possible endings. The story is about y I ordinarily would not even consider writing a review for a book after only spending 1 1/2 hours with it, but I simply cannot wait to tell people about this book. Heather McElhatton, radio host, producer and now author, may well be a genius. Remember the books when we were kids that made you decide at the end of each chapter where you wanted to go next, letting you chose your ending? Pretty Little Mistakes is the grownup version with literally 150 different possible endings. The story is about you--you've just graduated from high school and you must decide whether you want to go to college or you want to travel. From there the stories branch off in several intriguing--and I'll admit addictive--ways. In my short afternoon with this book, I : died of cervical cancer; murdered my abusive husband; was killed by a terrorist attack in Chad; was murdered by a 4 foot albino; died a very old woman responsible for saving/impro ving thousands of lives through free clinics. All of which involved only subtly different choices at the end of some of the same sections. Clearly all of the endings are not "happily ever after", but they are intruiging and page turning. I couldn't help myself--I kept diving back in to see how one or two changed decisions would change "my" life. And I'm not done yet! I just had to stop long enough to tell say "READ THIS BOOK!"

  11. 5 out of 5

    Fahmina

    I was hoping this choose-your-own-adventure book would be fun or at least funny, but no, it's not. Basically, the character in the book, who is supposed to be "you," is kind of a bad person. Either you're a meth head, an adulterer, a thief, a loser, a liar, or someone who will degrade herself for money. I didn't find many redeeming qualities about this book, and I certainly didn't want to choose even one of the paths found in this book in my own real life. Some of the "lives" you lead in the boo I was hoping this choose-your-own-adventure book would be fun or at least funny, but no, it's not. Basically, the character in the book, who is supposed to be "you," is kind of a bad person. Either you're a meth head, an adulterer, a thief, a loser, a liar, or someone who will degrade herself for money. I didn't find many redeeming qualities about this book, and I certainly didn't want to choose even one of the paths found in this book in my own real life. Some of the "lives" you lead in the book have a nice buildup, but then everything comes to a screeching halt in the endings, which usually have you die either suddenly, or fast-forward about 50 years and then you're dead. Also, after each death, you might experience a different kind of after-life. I'm not really sure what the point of all the different after-lives was, was the author trying to tell us something or not? If not, then why not just leave the after-life out of it, instead of describing what our heaven or hell or whatever will look like?

  12. 4 out of 5

    Alyssa

    I really didn't enjoy this book. Mainly because I kept dying after six pages. I never got any where far, except for when I ended up marrying a (what I thought was a creepy) old man, who was rich and took care of me. This book isn't really recommended for someone looking for the fluffy romantic or dramatic angst filled adventures. It's basically for people who have already had reality slap them in the face. Choices that you make in the book may seem very nice, but sometimes they can wind you up d I really didn't enjoy this book. Mainly because I kept dying after six pages. I never got any where far, except for when I ended up marrying a (what I thought was a creepy) old man, who was rich and took care of me. This book isn't really recommended for someone looking for the fluffy romantic or dramatic angst filled adventures. It's basically for people who have already had reality slap them in the face. Choices that you make in the book may seem very nice, but sometimes they can wind you up dead by overdose or dead because a bunch of druggies killed you. The only connection that I have for this book, is that it connect to life it's self. Choices and plans you make now may seem amazing and I bet most of you think that it'll work out the way you planned it, but guess what? Life isn't always what it seems. After all that's why this book is called Pretty Little Mistakes. Make them now and think about them, before they actually happen.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kensie

    Okay, I have to admit, I picked this book up purely because it reminded me of those radical choose-your-ending books I was so enthralled with in elementary school. I found I rather enjoyed the concept of the "modern day" version of such, but it left me wanting a little more. I ended up finishing two of the seemingly endless possibilities; in one I ended up as a lesbian artist living with my girlfriend and cat, happy and wealthy in some cape cod-ish town, and the other a member of a secret team o Okay, I have to admit, I picked this book up purely because it reminded me of those radical choose-your-ending books I was so enthralled with in elementary school. I found I rather enjoyed the concept of the "modern day" version of such, but it left me wanting a little more. I ended up finishing two of the seemingly endless possibilities; in one I ended up as a lesbian artist living with my girlfriend and cat, happy and wealthy in some cape cod-ish town, and the other a member of a secret team of nun-assassins in Rome who scour the world and kill off bad men to do God's justice. Pretty epic tales, really. But I wasn't entrigued enough to try any more options. Take that as you may... It still could be worth figuring out if you have as tits decision-making skills as I do. :)

  14. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

    I think I read this entire book, but it's a little hard to tell given the choose-your-own-adventure format. I really wanted to like this book. I decided to read it after an interview with the author regarding her new book appeared in the newspaper and made it sound interesting. But there's really nothing "pretty" about the mistakes "you" make in this novel. Almost every choice leads to rape and/or meth addiction. I also expected there to be more plot since this is for adults; I think each story w I think I read this entire book, but it's a little hard to tell given the choose-your-own-adventure format. I really wanted to like this book. I decided to read it after an interview with the author regarding her new book appeared in the newspaper and made it sound interesting. But there's really nothing "pretty" about the mistakes "you" make in this novel. Almost every choice leads to rape and/or meth addiction. I also expected there to be more plot since this is for adults; I think each story would've been more interesting if the sections had gone into more detail and had more dialogue.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Carolee Wheeler

    I find it hilarious that people criticize this book for being too shocking, or that all choices end up with you dying. OMG! Like, real life isn't like that! Personally, I give the author a ton of credit for crafting so many different outcomes that are bound to be outside many readers' experiences. Many people do sleep around, have substance abuse problems, and even nice people meet bad ends. If I had to read a choose-your-own-adventure book that mirrored a "conventional" or "appropriate" life, I I find it hilarious that people criticize this book for being too shocking, or that all choices end up with you dying. OMG! Like, real life isn't like that! Personally, I give the author a ton of credit for crafting so many different outcomes that are bound to be outside many readers' experiences. Many people do sleep around, have substance abuse problems, and even nice people meet bad ends. If I had to read a choose-your-own-adventure book that mirrored a "conventional" or "appropriate" life, I'd be bored to tears. And for the person who commented negatively that "all the choices make you unhappy," I say: that's right. In some way or another.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Gary Lee

    Some time ago, something about this book appealed to me. However, once I started I soon realized this book was nothing more than a 'Choose Your Own Adventure' type for the Chick Lit crowd. Every third decision found "you" fucking someone, marrying someone, divorcing someone, deciding whether or not you want to meet your current lover's family, or crashing on an Italian tranny's couch...until you either die tragically or find something resembling a 'happy ending.' Oh, there's supposedly a sequel Some time ago, something about this book appealed to me. However, once I started I soon realized this book was nothing more than a 'Choose Your Own Adventure' type for the Chick Lit crowd. Every third decision found "you" fucking someone, marrying someone, divorcing someone, deciding whether or not you want to meet your current lover's family, or crashing on an Italian tranny's couch...until you either die tragically or find something resembling a 'happy ending.' Oh, there's supposedly a sequel in the works as well.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Karina

    I tried about six adventures from beginning to end, and skimmed some endings and was very disturbed: anytime the heroine acted maturely, she ended up badly or disastrously. And the choices were often extreme. The book's a cute premise, but the author seems to imply that you're better of behaving badly, which I don't think is accurate or appropriate. Just my two cents... I tried about six adventures from beginning to end, and skimmed some endings and was very disturbed: anytime the heroine acted maturely, she ended up badly or disastrously. And the choices were often extreme. The book's a cute premise, but the author seems to imply that you're better of behaving badly, which I don't think is accurate or appropriate. Just my two cents...

  18. 5 out of 5

    Zoë

    I think I've had enough of this now. 'Choose your own adventure' for adults - fantastic concept (albeit not original) but the story/stories were just ugghhhhhhh. Cosmopolitan magazine is probably the best descriptor. I want this to be so much better. I think I've had enough of this now. 'Choose your own adventure' for adults - fantastic concept (albeit not original) but the story/stories were just ugghhhhhhh. Cosmopolitan magazine is probably the best descriptor. I want this to be so much better.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Shams Alizada

    This book entertained me. Funny way to kill time and boredom.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    2.5 Stars. I was given a copy of "Million Little Mistakes" several years ago for my birthday and when I saw this one in a donation pile, I snagged it. Who doesn't love a choose your own adventure book?! Fast forward until now, where it's been sitting on my shelf gathering dust for quite some time. I needed a book to read on the plane and since I was going to a geeky event, it seemed fitting to take a choose your own adventure book. Just like the choose your own adventure books of my childhood, th 2.5 Stars. I was given a copy of "Million Little Mistakes" several years ago for my birthday and when I saw this one in a donation pile, I snagged it. Who doesn't love a choose your own adventure book?! Fast forward until now, where it's been sitting on my shelf gathering dust for quite some time. I needed a book to read on the plane and since I was going to a geeky event, it seemed fitting to take a choose your own adventure book. Just like the choose your own adventure books of my childhood, this starts out with a scenario and gives you two options for how to proceed: in this case, I have just graduated high school and must decide to go to college or travel first. I first chose the college route and all the various twists and turns that took before going back and taking the travel route. (Overall, I liked the college route better - it seemed to have more choices along the way). Some of the adventures were nice and long (meaning several choices/"branches"); others ended right away without having to make any additional choices beyond the first one. At 501 pages, it was hard at times to trace back routes when it came time to choose a new path, or with the way I read it, choose the other option at the last decision point. I finally started to put faint pencil marks on the pages I'd read. And then at the end, I made a list of all the pages I hadn't read yet, crossed them out as I read them or made a check mark next to the page number if that page had been a "decision" page, crossing the page number out after I'd made both decisions. This approach worked well as I could see what the largest page number with a check mark was and work backward that way instead of going back and forth through the pages of the book. All scenarios ended with death, of course - some after a long life, others rather young. It seemed most ended with dying alone, but maybe it just felt that way. There were several sections in which the text was copied directly from another section and a few in which depending on how your choices were made, you had endings for beginnings that had not yet occurred (i.e. I returned home from Europe due to a crushing series of events, including ending my relationship with the lying, cheating bastard Filippo, but because of how I chose my path, I had not yet met Filippo). There were some fun and inventive scenarios, and this book did make me think about how I do and don't want to live out the rest of my life so while likely not meant to take readers to a deep place, this one, at times did. I haven't read "Million Little Mistakes" yet but I do look forward to seeing how that one compares the next time I need a little adventure in my life to help pass the time or a plane ride.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Shelley Pearson

    This book is odd. I chose it for the Popsugar Reading Challenge, since one of the prompts is a choose-your-own-adventure book. I was immediately turned off by the first chapter, which talks about how your boyfriend (it’s written in second-person, like classic choose-your-own-adventure books, which I liked) “annihilated your virginity” and about what a huge dick he has. It was kinda gross right off the bat. But after I read the first storyline, I was curious about where else the story would go, s This book is odd. I chose it for the Popsugar Reading Challenge, since one of the prompts is a choose-your-own-adventure book. I was immediately turned off by the first chapter, which talks about how your boyfriend (it’s written in second-person, like classic choose-your-own-adventure books, which I liked) “annihilated your virginity” and about what a huge dick he has. It was kinda gross right off the bat. But after I read the first storyline, I was curious about where else the story would go, so I kept going. Then it turned into kind of a challenge to myself, to read all the stories. Plus, I didn’t want to have to find and start a new choose-your-own-adventure story. And I’m pretty sure I finally did it! I read all the stories! There were moments that I liked, and about a third of the endings were actually kind of nice. But there was also a lot of bullshit. Like a lot of body shaming. Not just all the big dick = good dick talk, of which there was a lot (including one paragraph that was just “size counts” all in caps, over and over), but also references to “birthmark people” lying about themselves on dating sites, and lots of fat shaming. Even when you start a group called “Fat Grrrls” that gets national attention, the group is focused on diet tips and people have to be weighed to attend meetings (no one under 200 lbs allowed). There are a lot of big things you don’t get to choose. Like (view spoiler)[ whether to have sex in exchange for auto repairs, whether to have sex with a monkey, or whether to start doing meth (hide spoiler)] . I would also say that the writing isn’t that great. It read more like a list of things that happened than like an actual story. I thought the most interesting parts were the after-death snippets, like how sometimes you go to heaven, sometimes hell, sometimes you’re a ghost or get reincarnated. It was kind of fun to see all the afterlife possibilities.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Sassafrass

    This was goofy but fun. I don't know what the other paths did but I took two and on one I died in France after a pretty happy life with a guy I met on my first day there and the other I died in Bali after eating some scallops I was allergic to. Man, I guess I was destined to die. LOL I was never a fan of the the choose your own adventure books when I was a kid because every time you started getting into the story you had to stop to pick another path, and I felt the same way here. I did this book This was goofy but fun. I don't know what the other paths did but I took two and on one I died in France after a pretty happy life with a guy I met on my first day there and the other I died in Bali after eating some scallops I was allergic to. Man, I guess I was destined to die. LOL I was never a fan of the the choose your own adventure books when I was a kid because every time you started getting into the story you had to stop to pick another path, and I felt the same way here. I did this book for a challenge that I am doing (Pop Sugar) so I doubt I'll seek another one of these books out in the future. When I read, I prefer being led down a path, I don't want to have to pick it.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Bearss

    I am clearly not the target audience for this type of book as I found it to be ridiculous. Based on the options I chose everything was either sex or violence related. I didn't care enough to go back and try different choices to see how this could have turned out. These were much more fun as a kid based on child like adventures instead of mundane adult issues. I am clearly not the target audience for this type of book as I found it to be ridiculous. Based on the options I chose everything was either sex or violence related. I didn't care enough to go back and try different choices to see how this could have turned out. These were much more fun as a kid based on child like adventures instead of mundane adult issues.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    The concept is fun, but the writing is very amateurish. The scenarios are really over the top and many of them have the exact same ending which I felt was lazy. It’s okay for a while but I ended up not making it through all the scenarios because it started to get old. I mainly read it for a reading challenge prompt. Should be subtitled 1000 overly exaggerated ways to die.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Sara Bakhshi

    It was ok

  26. 4 out of 5

    Nakisha

    This was a fun read. I one day, I came up with 3 different stories.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Anne Hawn Smith

    This seemed a little simple. I wish there had been more complicated choices. It is very similar in content to the books for middle school kids.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Tracy Torres

    2019 POP Sugar Challenge - A book that includes a wedding

  29. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    Really??? 150 endings, & I wind up with ... killed by Aussie drug dealers? Watching the love of my life blown up by terrorists? Working as a clown? Hit by a Mack truck yet charged with the manslaughter of the driver??? I get the point - no life is without complications & compromises. But I remember Choose Your Own Adventures being a LOT more fun than this one 😕. Not sure I want to try more paths - doesn’t seem I could make a good choice🤷🏻‍♀️

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jess

    I was trawling my local library earlier this week and stumbled across this book. The drap cover (which is more gold in person that this image) and purple writing didn't stand out in the colourful shelves and I'm not really sure what drew it to me initially. But upon discovering it was a choose your own adventure story for adults, I simply had to give it a go. No two persons ever read the same book. –Edmund Wilson Pretty Little Mistakes is simply put a choose your own adventure type story for ad I was trawling my local library earlier this week and stumbled across this book. The drap cover (which is more gold in person that this image) and purple writing didn't stand out in the colourful shelves and I'm not really sure what drew it to me initially. But upon discovering it was a choose your own adventure story for adults, I simply had to give it a go. No two persons ever read the same book. –Edmund Wilson Pretty Little Mistakes is simply put a choose your own adventure type story for adults. There is one beginning and 150 possible endings, and the story you read is completely up to your own decisions. In part this book is depressing, as many of the lives I discovered within the covers, are humourless and well a little bit disappointing, but hey I guess that's life and why the book is called Pretty Little Mistakes in the first place. There were a lot of options though - endless ones really - and the multiple adventures I took were a lot of fun in hindsight because of how crazy and different they were to my real life experiences. In my first life I travelled Europe disastrously, before getting a call from my mum to return home because she was sick, and my plane literally falling out of the sky on its homeward journey. In another I found myself accidentally discovered by a talent agency, before being cast in a Hollywood movie that made me a superstar - which I all gave up for my lesbian jewellery making lover sometime later before moving to Galway. Another life I was a painter set up for life after a tragic shooting at a grocery store ... oh and I lived to a 102 in this one. Another I joined the circus, visited Germany, fell in love. The possibilities for this book are endless. A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one. - George R. R. Martin The writing isn't fantastic in this book. But then again, I've never read a book for adults with a second person narrative where the reader chooses their own story, so I don't really have anything to compare it too either. Yes, I read Andy Griffith's earlier books when I was a child and loved the options and craziness of the story, but those books are written for children and thus work rather differently in this case in terms of style and content. I do want to commend McElhatton however on constructing this book, as I don't image putting this book together would have been an easy task. In terms of the writing itself, there's a lot of telling (obviously - it's second person) and not a lot of description. With each section ranging from half-a-page to at most a page-and-half, there isn't a lot of room for character or plot development. It does however make it a quick read, as each life can be read in roughly five minutes depending on the choices you personally make. What's more the chick-lit aspect of this book will appeal to many readers, but it's not for the faint hearted; there are just as many references to genitalia, sex, drugs and random one-night-stands in this book that make it outlandish and over the top. But then again what do you really expect from a choose your own adventure book? The real world is often boring in comparison. A book is a version of the world. If you do not like it, ignore it or offer your own version in return. –Salman Rushdie All in all, Pretty Little Mistakes is a little book of fun. In many ways it encompasses the notion that life isn't about the destination, but the journey you take getting there as it embodies the little mistakes we make and our stories develop from there. It's a book you can live your what-if's through without having to leave the comfort of your own lounge or reading chair. Pretty Little Mistakes isn't a book that made me think particularly hard, or one that will stay with me for a long time. It was however a bit of fun and a lovely little ode to my childhood and the style of books I loved back then. Despite not being my favourite book by a long stretch or even a particularly profound one, this book does leave you with one clear and valuable message: The choice is yours. The Future is yours. Make of it what you will. This review was originally posted at The Never Ending Bookshelf on Wednesday 27th April 2016, and can be found here: http://wp.me/p3yY1u-TG

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