Saturday, March 21, 2009
"Physical beauty wasn't the same as True Beauty, any more than pretty ugly meant truly ugly or Magnetic North meant True North."
Few books can make me cry and even fewer can make me cry more than once. North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley is one of those books. Terra Cooper, the main character, seems perfect. Tall, thin, blonde=beautiful. Her face, however, is half covered with a port wine birthmark that she carefully covers with layers of make-up each day. Terra, an artist, has been made to feel inadquate by her father for her entire life; she's not pretty enough, not smart enough, and not talented enough, according to his standards. She is working toward one goal: escaping her father and the small town in which they live. However, even though she works to control her future, she thinks she is powerless to the commands of her father. When Terra and her mother unexpetedly meet Norah and her son Jacob, they decide to journey to China to visit Terra's brother and the orphanage from which Jacob was adopted. Will Terra and her mother realize that they don't have to suffer the terror under which they have been living? There are scenes between Terra and her family that made me want to throw this book because I was so gripped by the writing and the strange understanding of what one person can do to another with words alone. The relationships between Terra and her family, as well as her friendship with Jacob, are complex and interesting and they made me want to read this cover to cover in one sitting. North of Beautiful was published in February, 2009.