We All Love the Beautiful Girls, by Joanne Proulx, is a very different story from what I normally read and what I am attracted to. However, the synopsis intrigued me and, given the fact that she is a Canadian author, I added it to the top of my TBR pile. I am so glad I did. From Proulx’s strong prose to the different narrative voices that are portrayed, I found myself hanging on to every word.
The novel opens and builds slowly with the introduction of several different characters that all have a point of view within the story. Mia (the family matriarch) Michael (her husband who has just been cheated by his business partner) and Finn (their teenaged son, who is in love with a girl he cannot have). After an evening with a terrible accident and some personal revelations, they find their relationships tested and their boundaries pushed as each character deals with the loss in a different way.
One of the main things that drew me into the story, pretty much immediately, was how real, dark and raw Proulx’s story telling is. There is no sugar coating or dramatic flourish within these pages. There is heartache, there is loss and there is the undeniable feeling that this could potentially happen to anyone. As their family unit unravels, I felt emotionally compelled to continue reading. I have read other reviews that state this story is too slow, I, however, felt the complete opposite. I felt like I settled into this story easily and was completely entranced throughout. I couldn’t put it down.
One of my favourite features of the book was the setting. Obviously, any book that takes place in Canada, I find myself incredibly biased towards. I love being able to read a story and understand the setting. At the first mention of Silver City (a movie theatre chain in Canada), I was hooked.
Overall, this book reminded me a little bit of Beartown by Fredrik Backman. It starts with a tragedy and then the reader gets to see how each character is personally affected. They had a very similar vibe.
Readers of contemporary drama will find this one completely compelling.