Simon & Schuster, 2005
A San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of 2005
A Target Break-Out Author Selection
Diana McBride, a thirty-four-year-old former child pageant contender, now works in a baby store in Long Beach, California. Between dealing with the failure of her marriage, a catastrophic haircut, and relentless phone calls from her alcoholic mother, Diana has gone off her OCD medication and is trying to cope via washing and cleaning rituals. Then, when pregnant teenager Jamie Ramirez enters the store, Dianaís already chaotic world is sent spinning. Jamie canít stand being pregnant. She canít wait to get on with her normal life and give the baby up for adoption. But her yet-to-be-born daughter, Stella, has a fierce will and destiny to fulfill. And, as the magical plot of Little Beauties unfolds, these three charactersí lives become linked in ever more surprising ways. With a poetís ear for fresh, evocative language and a deft humor that exposes her charactersí foibles, Addonizio perfectly captures the messiness and unexpected beauty of life.
"If there's justice in the world, this summer Kim Addonizio is going to step in where Alice Sebold and her Lovely Bones left off....Little Beauties encases a real, thumping heart between the pages. Let the lovefest begin."
"A wonderfully optimistic, quirky testament to the power of chance encounters."
"Like Anne Lamott...Addonizio seems to sense how to pull back from sentimentality, be it with humor, honesty or clarity of vision."
-Regina Marler, The Los Angeles Times
"I found myself rooting for them--a neat trick for the novelist to pull off--rooting for each, especially that new baby..."
-Alan Cheuse, NPR's "All Things Considered"
"Kim Addonizio's first novel is one of those rare books that is both a complete departure from a writer's previous work and a natural extension of it. Like her four books of poetry, rawly beautiful examinations of the body and heart's excesses, Little Beautiestackles tough subjects -- unequipped mothers, the loss of love, mental illness -- with unflinching clarity, lyricism and humor."
- San Francisco Chronicle
"In her first novel, poet and short story author Kim Addonizio tackles characters dealing with obsessive compulsive disorder, teenage pregnancy and an unwanted baby, all of whom have their own voice in this taut yet lyrical story....Little Beauties has a lot of soul."
-The Boston Herald
"Surprisingly deep for a comedy, Addonizio's first novel charts three eccentric female personalities as they struggle with their individual frailties....[T]he book is distinguished by hard-nosed spirituality: These peoples' lives are messy and often painful, but never without humor or hope."
-The Baltimore Sun
"In her fiction debut, noted poet Addonizio (Tell Me was a National Book Award finalist) makes an impressive transition to prose, revealing a wonderful imagination as she describes the struggles of each character with both a touching reality and an edgy sense of humor. This is a funny story, but it's about more than comedic characters and bizarre twists of fate-it's about being born and reborn, dying and almost dying and wanting to die, and learning how to live life in between."