• Amanda

Book Review: Pretty as a Picture by Elizabeth Little

Updated: May 2, 2020

A funny and genuinely surprising Hollywood Whodunit. 4 1/2 out of 5 Stars

Friends, I had never heard of Elizabeth Little before this book and I feel as if I have a lot of catching up to do. The latest from Little takes place on an island off the coast of Delaware and follows Marisa Dahl, an awkward, possibly on the spectrum film editor asked to rush to the set of a mercurial filmmaker's latest piece. Little does a great job of good-naturedly poking fun at modern Hollywood tropes. The lead actor is an intense method actor known for his days starring in a teen fantasy franchise a la Robert Pattinson. The lead actress is a young Oscar winner known for being aggressively relatable--Marisa notes that she recently waxed her mustache on Facebook live-- akin to Jennifer Lawrence. When Marisa finds out that the movie is a murder mystery based on an unsolved case that happened on this island and life-threatening accidents occur on set, Marisa tries to find out what took place on this island twenty years ago to save the movie--and possibly her life.

I loved this book. It was equal parts funny and exciting, with clever send ups of Hollywood, particularly in light of the Me Too movement. It shows the unglamorous parts of making a film that most "Hollywood" books do not actually go into. The lead, Marisa was a fully flushed out person, not just a your average #awkardgirl. She had real limitation and social hang ups, ones that interfere with her life and unwitting investigation. I would read a whole series with her as the lead.

As for the mystery, I've read stacks of them and am usually pretty good at sussing out the truth, and I only solved about 25% of the final solution. All in all, it was an almost five star for me. I can't wait to read more from her. Disclaimer: There is a lot of coarse language in this book, so if you're sensitive to that, this may not be for you.

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