“She sees the teenage girl on the train platform, standing in the pouring rain, clutching an infant in her arms. She boards a train and is whisked away. But she can’t get the girl out of her head…
Heidi Wood has always been a charitable woman: she works for a nonprofit, takes in stray cats. Still, her husband and daughter are horrified when Heidi returns home one day with a young woman named Willow and her four-month-old baby in tow. Disheveled and apparently homeless, this girl could be a criminal—or worse. But despite her family’s objections, Heidi invites Willow and the baby to take refuge in their home.
Heidi spends the next few days helping Willow get back on her feet, but as clues into Willow’s past begin to surface, Heidi is forced to decide how far she’s willing to go to help a stranger. What starts as an act of kindness quickly spirals into a story far more twisted than anyone could have anticipated.”
Thoughts on the Novel: In Pretty Baby, Mary Kubica tackles the sensitive topic of homelessness and society’s responsibility towards any one person living on the streets. Willow and her haltingly-told story shines the spotlight on the problems of the foster system and the ease with which such kids can slip through the cracks. It is every bit as uncomfortable as it should be.
Pretty Baby is another one of those novels where to delve too deeply into specifics during a review is to set expectations. To set expectations, in turn, ruins the very nature of the story for it is the unknown elements which build suspense. The less one knows about the story and the characters in advance, the more powerful the final piece of the puzzle becomes.
Pretty Baby does more than highlight certain social justice issues. Through the seamless back-and forth between all three characters, past and present, readers get the full impact of the butterfly effect in action – how one seemingly random event can have shocking results down the road. Morever, Pretty Baby reminds readers how interconnected we are to our fellow human beings, for better or for worse.