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Hope Donahue seemed to have it all: beauty, wealth, social status. She was an only child who grew up with the best private schools, debutante balls, and a home in Hancock Park, Los Angeles's old-money enclave. But beneath the family's façade of "keeping up appearances," Hope hid a host of ugly truths, including a mother increasingly jealous of her daughter's good looks, an Hope Donahue seemed to have it all: beauty, wealth, social status. She was an only child who grew up with the best private schools, debutante balls, and a home in Hancock Park, Los Angeles's old-money enclave. But beneath the family's façade of "keeping up appearances," Hope hid a host of ugly truths, including a mother increasingly jealous of her daughter's good looks, an uncle's sexual advances, and a father who cowed to the demands of his wife and coolly reserved parents. Hope became addicted to a quest for physical perfection in place of her self-esteem—, and by the age of twenty-seven she had undergone seven plastic surgeries. In riveting, unflinching prose, Hope recounts her downward spiral that alienated her family and friends, and led her to theft, bankruptcy, and a sadistic relationship before she began her recovery. A powerful response to a culture obsessed with extreme makeovers and risky procedures that promise flawlessness, Beautiful Stranger is a timely, cautionary tale. Her story will inspire the countless women and men like her who struggle every day in a culture that feeds us dangerous images of unattainable perfection. Beautiful Stranger is a dark, scary, and important story of how broad social trends shape the suffering of individuals; how, in the author's case, the beauty addiction of a whole culture is mapped onto a dysfunctional family and an obsessive compulsive disorder. Donahue perfectly captures the predatory style of a certain kind of surgeon -- at once seductively flattering and solicitous and yet always on the prowl for access into the faces and bodiess of the vulnerable. --Virginia L. Blum, author of Flesh Wounds


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Hope Donahue seemed to have it all: beauty, wealth, social status. She was an only child who grew up with the best private schools, debutante balls, and a home in Hancock Park, Los Angeles's old-money enclave. But beneath the family's façade of "keeping up appearances," Hope hid a host of ugly truths, including a mother increasingly jealous of her daughter's good looks, an Hope Donahue seemed to have it all: beauty, wealth, social status. She was an only child who grew up with the best private schools, debutante balls, and a home in Hancock Park, Los Angeles's old-money enclave. But beneath the family's façade of "keeping up appearances," Hope hid a host of ugly truths, including a mother increasingly jealous of her daughter's good looks, an uncle's sexual advances, and a father who cowed to the demands of his wife and coolly reserved parents. Hope became addicted to a quest for physical perfection in place of her self-esteem—, and by the age of twenty-seven she had undergone seven plastic surgeries. In riveting, unflinching prose, Hope recounts her downward spiral that alienated her family and friends, and led her to theft, bankruptcy, and a sadistic relationship before she began her recovery. A powerful response to a culture obsessed with extreme makeovers and risky procedures that promise flawlessness, Beautiful Stranger is a timely, cautionary tale. Her story will inspire the countless women and men like her who struggle every day in a culture that feeds us dangerous images of unattainable perfection. Beautiful Stranger is a dark, scary, and important story of how broad social trends shape the suffering of individuals; how, in the author's case, the beauty addiction of a whole culture is mapped onto a dysfunctional family and an obsessive compulsive disorder. Donahue perfectly captures the predatory style of a certain kind of surgeon -- at once seductively flattering and solicitous and yet always on the prowl for access into the faces and bodiess of the vulnerable. --Virginia L. Blum, author of Flesh Wounds

30 review for Beautiful Stranger: A Memoir of an Obsession with Perfection

  1. 5 out of 5

    Olivia Parsons

    Many people said they disliked this book because they could not relate to the author who they thought was just a spoiled rich girl who had everything handed to her. But--I disagree. Yes, Hope was rich and living in a materialistic family, her mother especially being superficial. But she was raised this way, and the fact that she was handed everything only goes to show how money and beauty will never truly give you real happiness. I loved this book, I loved the truthfulness of Hope's words and fe Many people said they disliked this book because they could not relate to the author who they thought was just a spoiled rich girl who had everything handed to her. But--I disagree. Yes, Hope was rich and living in a materialistic family, her mother especially being superficial. But she was raised this way, and the fact that she was handed everything only goes to show how money and beauty will never truly give you real happiness. I loved this book, I loved the truthfulness of Hope's words and feelings, and it just opened my eyes to a lot of things. If you have not been in this kind of situation, I think that it even more so opens your eyes. Those of us who have less tend to look at people who have more in a hateful way, despising them because they have money, beauty, or whatever it is that we don't have. In the end, we're all searching for the same thing: Happiness. And sometimes it takes going down dangerous paths to realize what is going to really make you happy, as Hope experienced through out the course of her journey of trying to find herself. This book gave me a haunting feeling inside; It was just awful to know how much your mind can hurt you. Your own mind. No matter if you're poor or rich or extremely gorgeous or just average, None of it matters and none of it ever will. I've seen dirt poor people who are happy in comparison to Hope who had everything and was absolutely miserable with herself. It's really all about perspective and knowing who you are; not letting the pit falls break you down. Life is a challenge. Even for those who seem to have it so easy.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Glenda Stansell

    Ok I know some people did not like this book. But it's not just about plastic surgery, it's about obsession and how it dominates the mind and sques the perception of ourselves. It is about a woman who grows up privileged in a family of obsessive people. She lives a large part of her life looking for perfection in order to seek approval. Mostly, she needs her own approval and never gets it. It's a good book for anyone who fights their own demons every day and for those who don't understand it Ok I know some people did not like this book. But it's not just about plastic surgery, it's about obsession and how it dominates the mind and sques the perception of ourselves. It is about a woman who grows up privileged in a family of obsessive people. She lives a large part of her life looking for perfection in order to seek approval. Mostly, she needs her own approval and never gets it. It's a good book for anyone who fights their own demons every day and for those who don't understand it

  3. 4 out of 5

    Alicia

    "It has come down to this: I have only my body & face to offer. I am so caught up in my physical self that I believe it is all I have to offer, all that I am. Even my needs & intentions feel naked, stripped of illusion; I cannot fool myself anymore that I am improving my life, that I am on a path to something significant..." Page 210 I found this book at Chamblin's Uptown, in late January, early February, along with another book by another female author, who writes of being alone. And I began th "It has come down to this: I have only my body & face to offer. I am so caught up in my physical self that I believe it is all I have to offer, all that I am. Even my needs & intentions feel naked, stripped of illusion; I cannot fool myself anymore that I am improving my life, that I am on a path to something significant..." Page 210 I found this book at Chamblin's Uptown, in late January, early February, along with another book by another female author, who writes of being alone. And I began this one, but I had to put it down. It is a hard read. Hope is a beautiful young Angeleno. She grew up in Hancock Park, she was a debutante & had her photo with her father published, in the LA Times during her Debutante's Ball. But she is constantly living in a fear of not being loved, of not being safe. Her mother showers 2 to 3 times a day & is indifferent to her, cruel to her & then sometimes loving to her. But always distant. Her mother takes her shopping & insists on perfection. Her father is busy making a living & working & trying to do damage control when it comes to Hope's mother ~ his wife. Hope goes to USC & then to UC Berkeley, she wants for nothing, but she can never quite figure out what she wants to do. Nor who she is, & most especially if she really matters or has value. We go with her to medical offices so that she can have her lips damaged & done & redone. We go with her to the shady MD who is quite clearly a shyster who continues to wreak havoc on her body & keeps telling her how dazzling she is. He does her eyes & her nose & then her cheeks & she is only 23. Through it all, Hope tries to reconcile her relationship with her mother, which is indeed fraught. She lives off the monies of her parents & yes their credit cards, but she never finds herself anything but loathsome. I picked this book up again yesterday, read into the night & completed this read today. And it is harrowing. We go through another procedure, we go through a terrifying & awful sexual relationship, that she allows to veer into violence & then she is tossed out by her roommates. She doesn't understand what she has done & they tell her she has to go. They cannot put up with her anymore. She is confused. Finally one of them dares to reveal the truth ~ "We felt sorry for you". Yes, they were aware she did not work, she drank their wine & ate their food & rummaged through their things & invaded their privacy, but they put up with it. Until she brings violence into their apartment. Only when she hears they feel sorry for her, does she allow her REAL emotions to surface & she gets enraged. She gets MAD at them!!~ She hid from people & only saw her parents & maybe these roommates. When they toss her out ~ she asks for a reprieve. Why? She is getting breast implants & will need 4 weeks to recuperate. Holy Cow! At this point, she falls down into a darker place, which I will not give away. Clearly she had body dysmorphia, but in the mid 1990's did she know this? Could no one tell her? I read late into the night. I HAD to know that somehow she came out of this. And she does. She marries, she gets those horrific implants taken out. She moves to the east coast. She has 4 children. She sees an MD. She gets on medication. She reevaluates the family tree & realizes that the brain chemistry is her why. But she still has to sort things out. Still her body troubles her~even though she knows it is perfectly beautiful. She still makes appointments for procedures that she cancels. She understands that they are caused by stress & that is the only outlet she has, but she recognizes she cannot continue this way. She watches her children & does not want them to become damaged by her actions. Whew!! What a read. I cannot say that enough. I kept yelling out to her a response, knowing full well she would not RESPOND in the right way. And damage would follow. I was now totally invested & determined to get to the last page & see how she fared. ~ " But feeling safe & whole has to come from within. It has very little to do with inner beauty. This fact is astonishing to me, but it is freeing, too. Profoundly freeing". Amen Sister ! This read made me wince, but reading her digging deep & coming to terms was really worth it.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Teri

    This one was ok. Definitely not great. It had moments where the author really seemed to open up about the obsessive compulsive thoughts and tendencies that drove her to so much plastic surgery. But much of the book just seemed like a spoiled brat who didn't really have to work and she could indulge her pity party through self-destructive behavior. In fact, the most insightful and interesting part of the book was the last few pages in the Epilogue. Also, the copy of the book I read had three pict This one was ok. Definitely not great. It had moments where the author really seemed to open up about the obsessive compulsive thoughts and tendencies that drove her to so much plastic surgery. But much of the book just seemed like a spoiled brat who didn't really have to work and she could indulge her pity party through self-destructive behavior. In fact, the most insightful and interesting part of the book was the last few pages in the Epilogue. Also, the copy of the book I read had three pictures of the author on the back of the book: one before plastic surgery, one after quite a few procedures, and one that was her "now." The difference between the three photos is miniscule, at beast. So, for a book about obsessing over plastic surgery to strive for perfection, and because of all of the procedures mentioned in the book, the three comparative photos are rather anti-climactic. This book seemed interesting before I read it, but by the end it felt more self-indulgent and void of any true drama. I never felt any compassion for the author, and never felt like I learned anything new as a result.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Edel

    This is the story of Hope Donahue a daughter of a wealthy family and this is the story of what it was like to grow up not feeling good about yourself while living in an area where looks are important. I read this book really quickly but looking back there was alot going on but Hope almost seemed detached from alot of it. Surgery and bad guys and wanting approval and to be loved come across the most in this book of going from one disaster to another .Although there was alot of personal details in This is the story of Hope Donahue a daughter of a wealthy family and this is the story of what it was like to grow up not feeling good about yourself while living in an area where looks are important. I read this book really quickly but looking back there was alot going on but Hope almost seemed detached from alot of it. Surgery and bad guys and wanting approval and to be loved come across the most in this book of going from one disaster to another .Although there was alot of personal details in this book it came of as being cold. Like Hope was telling the story about someone else and with little interest. Alot of the things that happened in the book were horrid esp some of the men mentioned. I had to wonder how she came to meet these people. I felt nothing after finsihing the book until I came across what was written about her near the back that she was married and had a family now . I was relieved as I hoped her younger years were her worst and that that was all behind her now.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Koren

    Have you ever looked at someone who obviously has had a lot of plastic surgery and wondered what they were thinking? That's what this book is about. This gal has a serious self-esteem problem and thinks the only way to feel better about herself is to alter her looks through surgery. Then you get an unscrupulous doctor who will do whatever you want as long as you have the money. I will say I wasn't so sure she was being truthful about the doctor. I realize this is a memoir and this is the way she Have you ever looked at someone who obviously has had a lot of plastic surgery and wondered what they were thinking? That's what this book is about. This gal has a serious self-esteem problem and thinks the only way to feel better about herself is to alter her looks through surgery. Then you get an unscrupulous doctor who will do whatever you want as long as you have the money. I will say I wasn't so sure she was being truthful about the doctor. I realize this is a memoir and this is the way she remembered it, but I had a hard time believing that the doctor could be as inappropriate as he was. This book reminded me of the Twilight Zone episode where the women all came out of the surgery looking alike.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    Why write a memoir when you have such little self awareness? Did I really just read 200+ pages of someone with pretty serious mental issues surrounding her looks and plastic surgery, just to have her spend the epilogue justifying her decision to have MORE PLASTIC SURGERY? But she's aging, so she NEEDS to get more work done? This is an okay read, but the epilogue is seriously disturbing to me. Speaking of disturbing, how about the fact that the author's boyfriend tries to (view spoiler)[ rape her Why write a memoir when you have such little self awareness? Did I really just read 200+ pages of someone with pretty serious mental issues surrounding her looks and plastic surgery, just to have her spend the epilogue justifying her decision to have MORE PLASTIC SURGERY? But she's aging, so she NEEDS to get more work done? This is an okay read, but the epilogue is seriously disturbing to me. Speaking of disturbing, how about the fact that the author's boyfriend tries to (view spoiler)[ rape her roommate (hide spoiler)] and then she gets all pissy about her roommates kicking her out? I don't know, this was a really strange trip.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Lameo

    Hope becomes so strong from her former, obsessive, weak self at the end of the book that it is amazing to see her transformation, her journey. We get to see her step away from her need for perfection which is motivated by fear for the future and what seems to be a dependent personality. Her mother pushed her to be a star child, applauding her for her looks. As an adult, Hope seeks to please SO much that she is willing to undergo unnecessary surgery to try to win the favors of her plastic surgeon Hope becomes so strong from her former, obsessive, weak self at the end of the book that it is amazing to see her transformation, her journey. We get to see her step away from her need for perfection which is motivated by fear for the future and what seems to be a dependent personality. Her mother pushed her to be a star child, applauding her for her looks. As an adult, Hope seeks to please SO much that she is willing to undergo unnecessary surgery to try to win the favors of her plastic surgeon. Hope isn't unattractive, she has a drive to make herself look better despite not really needing it. What's under that isn't vanity but depression and OCD, she discovers. She is also afraid to get a job and will date anyone who comes along, even the dangerous Hank who lives a double life. Her therapist pushes her to make decisions on her own and to be strong. In the Hope gets a job at an animation company, forcing herself to do it. She meets her husband there. After getting married and having a baby, plastic surgery is less of a priority for Hope. Her children are her main focus. She also realizes how foolish her breast implants were and how ridiculous her plastic surgeon is. The surgeon was focused only on money. This doctor that was so important to her life doesn't even remember Hope in the end. She realizes all the damage he caused her by encouraging surgeries that she didn't even need. She begins to see him for a fraud when she discovers he even pushes her to get plastic surgery for her six month old son! She realizes how foolish she was, how she doesn't need surgery anymore, and eventually becomes strong enough to stand on her own.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Leila Summers

    This book is not easy to review, nor was it easy to read. That's not to say it's not well written or interesting, it definitely is! The book presents some shocking realities regarding the LA cosmetic surgery industry as well as mental illness. The author, Hope, is brutally honest and I commend her for this. She tells us her deepest, darkest thoughts, which are not endearing at all, yet she is still brave enough to voice them. The story is not really about the extremes that the author will go to This book is not easy to review, nor was it easy to read. That's not to say it's not well written or interesting, it definitely is! The book presents some shocking realities regarding the LA cosmetic surgery industry as well as mental illness. The author, Hope, is brutally honest and I commend her for this. She tells us her deepest, darkest thoughts, which are not endearing at all, yet she is still brave enough to voice them. The story is not really about the extremes that the author will go to in order to perfect outward beauty, although they are described in shocking detail. Rather, it is about the horrifying depths she will go to in order to try to fill an inner emptiness. Hope eventually goes to therapy which does help, and towards the end of the book she visits a psychiatrist who diagnoses obsessive compulsive disorder and she receives medication for this as well as for her depression. I imagine that the writing of this book, provided additional healing. The only thing I kept hoping was that she would be able to fill some of her emptiness, not with a wonderful husband, or four children, or medication, but with the genuine love and peace that comes from an inner spiritual journey. Although this wasn't the case in the book, this is my wish for Hope. I truly commend her for sharing her sincere story and I think it will be helpful to so many other woman.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Annick

    This book is quite depressing and reminded me why I dislike plastic surgery so much. It's ok if you had a car accident or so, but why change a perfectly healthy body and risk all the complications if you don't need to?! We all have imperfections, that's what makes us us. But we're constantly bombared with photoshopped images and so on, trying to convince us we are abnormal and need to fix that. -------------------------------------- At the end of the book she wrote that her illness has nothing to This book is quite depressing and reminded me why I dislike plastic surgery so much. It's ok if you had a car accident or so, but why change a perfectly healthy body and risk all the complications if you don't need to?! We all have imperfections, that's what makes us us. But we're constantly bombared with photoshopped images and so on, trying to convince us we are abnormal and need to fix that. -------------------------------------- At the end of the book she wrote that her illness has nothing to do with (her) self-esteem but I feel it does. The way she judges/d other people and the way she let people use and abuse her made me feel like it has A LOT to do with her self-esteem. She also has/d the inability to say no. Like when her partner wanted to have children and she didn't know what she wanted so she just let 'nature' decide. I knew an anorexia patient who loved getting pregnant because then she didn't have to worry about food or getting fat. The author seemed to have a similar feeling while being pregnant, since she felt she didn't have to worry about how she looked anymore.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Tracy

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This is about a woman from a well-to-do wealthy family who struggles with depression (it runs in the family) and "deals" with her problems through an addiction to cosmetic surgeries. By the end of the memoir, she sees pictures of herself and doesn't even recognize herself. Hope Donahue is this beautiful, thin rich debutante whose own family thinks that she's a promisicious slut (she's not) because of her beauty (and constant surgeries); her mother thinks that she's having an affair with her fath This is about a woman from a well-to-do wealthy family who struggles with depression (it runs in the family) and "deals" with her problems through an addiction to cosmetic surgeries. By the end of the memoir, she sees pictures of herself and doesn't even recognize herself. Hope Donahue is this beautiful, thin rich debutante whose own family thinks that she's a promisicious slut (she's not) because of her beauty (and constant surgeries); her mother thinks that she's having an affair with her father (she's not) and tries to get Hope to confess during a psychological session with a therapist. (Hope thinks that they are going because her mother was trying to convince her that Hope's father was sexually abusing her). Hope also uses alcohol to cope with her obsessions and depressions. She ends the memoir married with a child, and still obsessed with getting procedures done, anything from breast augmentations to eye lifts to liposuction to you name it. It's a poignant story, geniune, honest, easy to relate to on some levels (like if you've ever been depressed).

  12. 5 out of 5

    Bonnie Brody

    This book is about a woman who has a series of plastic sur- geries, one after the other. Whenever anything is wrong with her life she attempts to fix it with an operation. She finds her first doctor through an advertisement in the back of a free weekly magazine. For a self-described smart girl, she does some very stupid things. Her obsession with herself make her unlikable and very lonely. The author appears to have a fixation on plastic surgeries as a way to solve all her problems. She examines her fam This book is about a woman who has a series of plastic sur- geries, one after the other. Whenever anything is wrong with her life she attempts to fix it with an operation. She finds her first doctor through an advertisement in the back of a free weekly magazine. For a self-described smart girl, she does some very stupid things. Her obsession with herself make her unlikable and very lonely. The author appears to have a fixation on plastic surgeries as a way to solve all her problems. She examines her family of origin's connection to her body dysmorphic disorder, ties it to obsessive compulsive disorder and depression, but these explanations seem too glib. Her surface explanations appear to mirror her surface re-do's through surgery. Her therapy is assigned less than 10 pages of the book and then all is happily ever after once she is 'cured' and leaves the world of self-loathing and sado-masochism, living happily ever after. Could this be phony balogna? Or......could it be a romanticized account by someone not yet in true recovery? I think the latter is more likely.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    This is a memoir by a woman who by all accounts, had everything. She came from a wealthy family, never needed anything, although her parents were definitely far from normal and her mom could have benefited from therapy. The author fell into the world of plastic surgery and became addicted, partially because of her self-loathing and her quest for perfection and partially because of the "plastic surgeon" she chose who actually was not board certified. This book is interesting and I would classify This is a memoir by a woman who by all accounts, had everything. She came from a wealthy family, never needed anything, although her parents were definitely far from normal and her mom could have benefited from therapy. The author fell into the world of plastic surgery and became addicted, partially because of her self-loathing and her quest for perfection and partially because of the "plastic surgeon" she chose who actually was not board certified. This book is interesting and I would classify it as a "summer read". The moral of the story is to love who you are because everyone is different and there is no such thing as the perfect body or the perfect face. I enjoyed this book, I tend to like memoirs like this. It is not a heavy read and I would think only women would enjoy the topic.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Mandy

    Reading this book after Mutant Message Down Under was extrememly depressing for me. Where MMDU made me analyze myself and my life, it left me feeling hopeful and uplifted. Reading this was heart-breaking and slightly disturbing. While I appreciate the message she is trying to share, it feels a little too raw for my taste. From a writing-style perspective, it feels like it jumps around too much for the first two-thirds of the book. It became very confusing trying to keep the timeline straight. Ove Reading this book after Mutant Message Down Under was extrememly depressing for me. Where MMDU made me analyze myself and my life, it left me feeling hopeful and uplifted. Reading this was heart-breaking and slightly disturbing. While I appreciate the message she is trying to share, it feels a little too raw for my taste. From a writing-style perspective, it feels like it jumps around too much for the first two-thirds of the book. It became very confusing trying to keep the timeline straight. Overall, I would recommend MMDU much faster than this book for a introspective result. It's not awful, but can be hard to read at times.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Alvi Harahap

    Here is my fave part of the book. "The young, beautiful models in fashion magazines do not represent the norm. In fact, these freakishly beautiful women make up less than one percent of the population. Their looks are the result of a genetic gift. And yet, they are the standard against which we are told to measure ourselves. The magazines tell us that we, too, can be as lovely and desirable as they are if only we have the right beauty regimen, exercise program, or plastic surgery. And despite th Here is my fave part of the book. "The young, beautiful models in fashion magazines do not represent the norm. In fact, these freakishly beautiful women make up less than one percent of the population. Their looks are the result of a genetic gift. And yet, they are the standard against which we are told to measure ourselves. The magazines tell us that we, too, can be as lovely and desirable as they are if only we have the right beauty regimen, exercise program, or plastic surgery. And despite the bold claims of anti-aging treatments, there is no way to recapture youth. It’s a profoundly unfair ideal that leads women on an impossible quest."

  16. 5 out of 5

    Ronya

    It took me a long time to get through this...not sure if it was because it bored me or I had better things to do. Guess I never really felt attached to Donahue so I thus didn't care what she did to herself...the issues that led to her decisions to have plastic surgery are what were more interesting to me and I wish she would've talked more about those than she did. All that crazy within her family would've been a great story. It amazed me that she went to a plastic surgeon who wasn't board certi It took me a long time to get through this...not sure if it was because it bored me or I had better things to do. Guess I never really felt attached to Donahue so I thus didn't care what she did to herself...the issues that led to her decisions to have plastic surgery are what were more interesting to me and I wish she would've talked more about those than she did. All that crazy within her family would've been a great story. It amazed me that she went to a plastic surgeon who wasn't board certified and kept returning to him despite knowing this. I guess the premise of the book is a good one. But overall, it was kind of boring.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Velia

    I could relate to Hope...at least on the side of beauty related compulsions. It is very hard to find a memoir from a person I can relate to and one that is so well written. Hope's story is realistic. I think her story is rare in the sense that SHE ACTUALLY ADMITTED IT. She admitted that she wasn't cured and still struggles with her compulsions. With mental illness a person can go to extremes to cope with the cognitions and compulsions, no matter how smart the person is. I will try to remember her I could relate to Hope...at least on the side of beauty related compulsions. It is very hard to find a memoir from a person I can relate to and one that is so well written. Hope's story is realistic. I think her story is rare in the sense that SHE ACTUALLY ADMITTED IT. She admitted that she wasn't cured and still struggles with her compulsions. With mental illness a person can go to extremes to cope with the cognitions and compulsions, no matter how smart the person is. I will try to remember her story when those thoughts pop into my head about cosmetic surgery. Thanks for sharing your story Hope and I wish you the best.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Hannah

    "Wanting fills up the emptiness inside you as much or even more than actually having something. Wanting is hope. Having is disappointment." The author has some background in writing, so the writing isn't terrible. I like the above quote. However, I didn't particularly like this book. I was excited by the premise but found the author to be fairly unlikeable, from the way she described torturing her bird to treating her roommates horribly, and she conveys almost no remorse for anything. I did empha "Wanting fills up the emptiness inside you as much or even more than actually having something. Wanting is hope. Having is disappointment." The author has some background in writing, so the writing isn't terrible. I like the above quote. However, I didn't particularly like this book. I was excited by the premise but found the author to be fairly unlikeable, from the way she described torturing her bird to treating her roommates horribly, and she conveys almost no remorse for anything. I did emphasize with her at times and wish her the best but wouldn't really recommend this book to anyone.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Lizzie

    Another crap memoir. She had a crazy mother and family and, unsurprisingly, grew up to have a lot of plastic surgery. When she started posing nude to pay for more, she knew she had a problem. I quit reading before that point. Helpfully, the book cover has photos of her before, during, and after her surgeries (I mean after she had her implants taken out, etc.). She's an ordinary pretty girl in all of them. Now if Joyce Wildenstein wrote a book about what possessed her to have all her plastic surge Another crap memoir. She had a crazy mother and family and, unsurprisingly, grew up to have a lot of plastic surgery. When she started posing nude to pay for more, she knew she had a problem. I quit reading before that point. Helpfully, the book cover has photos of her before, during, and after her surgeries (I mean after she had her implants taken out, etc.). She's an ordinary pretty girl in all of them. Now if Joyce Wildenstein wrote a book about what possessed her to have all her plastic surgeries, and what she really thinks about how she looks - I'd definitely read that to the end!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jen

    I found this book to be mediocre. I finished it because I do not like to abandon a book before I finish it but I found the main character to be dreadfully meek and indecisive. It was furstrating and annoying how she never stood up to anyone, even herself. Just when I thought she was going to let someone have it, she backed out and cowered inside herself. I'm glad I read to the end because I understand her a little more now but I was still annoyed and frustrated by her inability to speak her mind I found this book to be mediocre. I finished it because I do not like to abandon a book before I finish it but I found the main character to be dreadfully meek and indecisive. It was furstrating and annoying how she never stood up to anyone, even herself. Just when I thought she was going to let someone have it, she backed out and cowered inside herself. I'm glad I read to the end because I understand her a little more now but I was still annoyed and frustrated by her inability to speak her mind, stand up for herself, or feel comfortable in her own skin.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Hila

    I really tried to empathize with the author, but her struggles just came across as pathetic. I've noticed the phrase "poor little rich girl" in a handful of reviews and I wholeheartedly agree. I couldn't even finish this book. The timeline is extremely jumbled although she remains in the present tense throughout the entire book. If it weren't for her age in the book jacket I would be completely in the dark about when the events written about have taken place. This book is about 200 pages too lon I really tried to empathize with the author, but her struggles just came across as pathetic. I've noticed the phrase "poor little rich girl" in a handful of reviews and I wholeheartedly agree. I couldn't even finish this book. The timeline is extremely jumbled although she remains in the present tense throughout the entire book. If it weren't for her age in the book jacket I would be completely in the dark about when the events written about have taken place. This book is about 200 pages too long. Save yourself the trouble and skip this book

  22. 4 out of 5

    Sam Manning

    It is absolutely terrifying how one's own mind can set fire to their entire being. How it can rip every ounce of joy right out from under them. This surpassed pure vanity and provoked an obsession beyond any reasonable level of endurance. It was an exhausting and inspiring read, although there were times her thoughts and actions seemed incomprehensible. I suppose this comes with the territory of a (however long or short term) mental illness. But then, all of a sudden, she was healed. Meee thinks It is absolutely terrifying how one's own mind can set fire to their entire being. How it can rip every ounce of joy right out from under them. This surpassed pure vanity and provoked an obsession beyond any reasonable level of endurance. It was an exhausting and inspiring read, although there were times her thoughts and actions seemed incomprehensible. I suppose this comes with the territory of a (however long or short term) mental illness. But then, all of a sudden, she was healed. Meee thinks the real healing happened for Hope while writing this memoir.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Malinda

    I am not sure why I keep picking up these books about plastic surgery. Hmm, well at least this one was nonfiction. There were some things that really bothered me about this book. One was that some of the parts were repeated. The other was that all of a sudden the book was over and all these revelations (that sounded more interesting than most of the book) were proclaimed. Not anything to rush out for...

  24. 4 out of 5

    Hauntie

    A typical screwed-up-childhood memoir. Interesting enough, light enough to breeze through. Doesn't live up to the jacket promise that this is the story of a plastic surgery addict -- she's no Jocelyn Wildenstein. But she's pretty messed up and so is her family, especially Mom. Read it to feel better about yourself, to feel angry at a girl who has everything but isn't satisfied or to pass time on the beach. A typical screwed-up-childhood memoir. Interesting enough, light enough to breeze through. Doesn't live up to the jacket promise that this is the story of a plastic surgery addict -- she's no Jocelyn Wildenstein. But she's pretty messed up and so is her family, especially Mom. Read it to feel better about yourself, to feel angry at a girl who has everything but isn't satisfied or to pass time on the beach.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Nicole Alison

    This was a pretty quick read. I finished it in 4 days. It really gave me perspective on what life would be like to long for perfection. The author did a great job expressing the hurt and emotion of this sad obsession. I would recommend this book to anyone who has felt the need to have plastic surgery, felt the emotions of needed to look perfect or has been affected by this disease in one way or another.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kathryn

    I teach English and guide students in analyzing literature all day long. I love that, but this book is not that, and that's why I enjoyed it. It deals with heavy and important issues, but does so in a light, fresh, and entertaining way. I would file this under a "beach read," but a good one. One I looked forward to picking up each day. I very much enjoyed it and felt entertained as well as educated on these topics (plastic surgery, anxiety, OCD, etc.) with each read. I teach English and guide students in analyzing literature all day long. I love that, but this book is not that, and that's why I enjoyed it. It deals with heavy and important issues, but does so in a light, fresh, and entertaining way. I would file this under a "beach read," but a good one. One I looked forward to picking up each day. I very much enjoyed it and felt entertained as well as educated on these topics (plastic surgery, anxiety, OCD, etc.) with each read.

  27. 5 out of 5

    mpfrom

    Not particularly awesome. I just felt myself pissed off at her more than much else. I guess she truly had some type of psychological disorder. Okay, I'll give her that. But she led a life of privilege and had so many more choices than any of us ever have. I guess a golden life isn't always what the have nots think it is. Not particularly awesome. I just felt myself pissed off at her more than much else. I guess she truly had some type of psychological disorder. Okay, I'll give her that. But she led a life of privilege and had so many more choices than any of us ever have. I guess a golden life isn't always what the have nots think it is.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    I finished the book, but wasn't "wowed" by it. It felt like I still wasn't getting the "real" Hope, but a glossy, superficial version. She openly describes her obsessions, compulsions, her multiple plastic surgeries and the dynamics behind them, but it just doesn't connect on a visceral, emotional level. It feels stilted and plastic. It's an interesting memoir, but not memorable. I finished the book, but wasn't "wowed" by it. It felt like I still wasn't getting the "real" Hope, but a glossy, superficial version. She openly describes her obsessions, compulsions, her multiple plastic surgeries and the dynamics behind them, but it just doesn't connect on a visceral, emotional level. It feels stilted and plastic. It's an interesting memoir, but not memorable.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    I didn't feel sorry for her. I had a hard time relating to a girl who had everything from money, an education and amazing looks who was a wreck on the inside. There are people in the world who are in far worse situations. I just didn't relate or feel sympathetic. In fact, I can't believe I even gave it the time to finish it. I didn't feel sorry for her. I had a hard time relating to a girl who had everything from money, an education and amazing looks who was a wreck on the inside. There are people in the world who are in far worse situations. I just didn't relate or feel sympathetic. In fact, I can't believe I even gave it the time to finish it.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Tara

    It is a disconcerting story, the narrative bounces around constantly and uses the present tense to describe the past (in such a way as to keep me off-balance anyway.) I found it depressing (and far too smutty to continue reading, but I was deluded that there had to be a better conclusion) and the rise at the end was not enough to maintain the dark feelings.

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