I received this book for free from ARC in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
“I’m not naive. I know I don’t get the happily ever after. My knight in shining armor took the highway detour around this god forsaken shit hole. I’ve made peace with that. That doesn’t mean I’m going to lay down like a doormat and let every cocky prick in the trailer park have his way with me.”
Cass lives a depressing life in a small trailer park in Eddington, Georgia, with her mother and abusive boyfriend Jackson. She works hard to barely make ends meet. But everything changes when Tucker White, the lead singer in the band Damaged, walks into her diner. He tries to show her that there is more to life than the hand she has been dealt, but Cass soon learns that being with Tucker will come at a high price.
I know for a fact that most people who read this story will walk away with tears in their eyes and hope in their hearts. Sadly I’m not one of them.
Domestic abuse, drug abuse, poverty, co-dependency and abandonment are just a few of the very real and heavy topics contained within White Trash Beautiful. A book filled with so much angst and wrong should have been an easy tear-jerker and should have had me screaming at the topic of my lungs for that happy ending the underdog deserves. White Trash Beautiful had the potential to be the kind of book that steps completely away from the crowd and opens the eyes of readers everywhere, it had the potential to put me in the fetal position while I silently endured a book hangover. But it didn’t. And no matter how hard I wanted to love this book, cry for this book, shout at every injustice. I just couldn’t.
Let me be upfront with you. I am completely and irrevocably desensitized. Violence (excluding anything to do with kids), drugs, prostitution, guns, random acts of evil, none of it bothers me in the way a normal human-being should be bothered by it, and for that reason alone, I’m going to say something I’ve never said about a book that I’ve rated poorly.
I STILL RECOMMEND THIS BOOK
Before you break out the “what the hell?” let me explain.
The main focus of White Trash Beautiful is the horrible domestic abuse Cass is subjected to from her heroine addicted boyfriend (Jax), and the responsibility of taking care of her mother. Who is also a heroine addict, thanks to prince flipping charming. This is the kind of topic that will make many of you reach for the Puff’s and ice cream. It’ll break many of your hearts, and it’ll spark sympathy in every single one of you. But I’ve seen this story. I’ve stepped over the needles on my way to school. I’ve watched kids run down the street in a blizzard in search of a phone, because “he hit mommy again”. I’ve witnessed the power company come out and shut electricity off to a house that’s occupied with small children. So these aspects, these trials and tribulations just didn’t rub me raw. They didn’t show me something new. And they didn’t spark that sympathy that Cass didn’t need but definitely deserved.
“So why did you request it you heartless bitch?”
I requested it because I had hope that a different light would be shined on a story I’ve seen. I thought that maybe, an author would be able to capture the true angst involved with living under those circumstances and strip me bare with its intensity. I guess, on some very fucked up level, I wanted to see if anyone else got it. And White Trash Beautiful had the right elements. It had the good writing. It even had decent characters. But the overall delivery was just a bit too hollow for me. I never really felt the desperation that Cass felt in her situation. I never felt her helplessness when it came to getting Jax to change his ways, or determination to just leave it all behind. And when Mummert threw in Tucker as Cass’s knight in shining armor I knew right then this wouldn’t be the story I was hoping for. I know it’s teaching a sense of hope, and I’m so happy that Cass was able to experience that hope, but it just didn’t fit to me. Hope should have come in the money she saved up to leave that hell hole. Hope should have come in her mom attempting to get clean. But instead hope came from a budding rock star that loved her at first sight? I know I’m being selfish here. I do! But let’s be honest! It doesn’t fit! We went from a plausible storyline with real issues to your run of the mill, novel. And that broke my heart.
I do my best not to leak spoilers, and this review is no different. But please understand that there was so much potential for this to be a true “realistic fiction” novel. It was so close! I loved Tucker, I really did. But what I was yearning for and what I got were polar opposites, and that’s the only reason I’ve rated it 1.5 stars. Like I said above, I STILL RECOMMEND IT. You will probably enjoy this book. You will cry. You will mourn. You will get frustrated, and then you will remind yourself that Cass is as much of an addict as Jax and her mom. Then you will see that hope, and your mood will start to lift. You’ll start the happy what if scenarios. You may even squeeze in a aww or two.
And why wouldn’t you?! The characters are strong and realistic (to a point). The plot is original (at least for the 1st half). The writing is great. The pace is perfect. You may very well like it. And I’m utterly jealous of you because of that.