Beauty Queen Review

Beauty Queen
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Written as a young girl's diary, the book immediately immerses you as Samantha's best friend, the one she will tell everything to. I found myself liking Sam right away, I imaged her as having an innocence, or gullibility to her that was sweet but not annoying; and right away we see that her feelings run deep beneath the surface of her pretty face.
Sam starts her diary immediately following her break up with her boyfriend, who she cared deeply for and who abruptly informed her that he was seeing a woman 15 years his senior. He broke her heart, and so at her psychiatrist's suggestion, she begins to write down her feelings for us. In light of being her only confidant, right away we discover that her mother is a well-off alcoholic, a former model falling into her decline, with a handsome boyfriend who would like nothing more than to get to know Sam a little better while her mother is passed out. Right away we glimpse Kevin Reed's intentions as Sam returns home to find him in her bedroom watching porn flicks and asking her to join him.
Sam knows she needs a change in her life, but her low self esteem tells her she is not smart enough for college, that no one could possibly love her, and that she will never be able to even take acting classes to become the actress she dreams of being. She and her best friend Nicole do find a nice place and move in, taking Sam's diabetic cat with her. Then Sam decides to take a job in a topless club, leaving behind her low paying fast food job. She is very nervous at first, and a fellow dancer turns her onto the "relaxing" effects of heroin, telling her that her modesty and uneasiness will dissolve, making the job more tolerable. Which it does.
And so begins Sam's decline. Still heart-broken over her ex-boyfriend, she meets a man named Angelo who has ties to the mafia but treats her with respect and affection. She also meets Blaine, a handsome and reckless cop who frequents the strip club. I found these two relationships of particular interest in reading Ms. Glovach's story, because Sam is at heart an innocent girl, she readily trusts the cop and not the mafia thug; and the good/bad roles here are reversed, only magnifying Sam's naiveté when judging character. Her desire to be loved is heart wrenching, and manifests in all the love that she pours out to others who become close to her. In the case of her ailing cat, the love is justified. But in the case of Blaine, this love is used against her in a thoughtless and heartless manner by a man who is seeking only his own gratification for his own sick uses.
Finding a release from her pain, boredom, dejection, and feelings of inadequacy with the heroin, her usage increases at an alarming rate while we listen in helpless silence to her denial of addiction. Eventually, she is unable to even finish a diary entry without shooting up, and yet still she offhandedly dismisses her habit as recreation rather than real addiction.
This sad tale of a beautiful girl becomes all the more depressing when you realize that it has truly poured from the heart of Anygirl in Anywhere. Our daughters, our sisters, our nieces, our friends; they all manifest feelings of inadequacy somewhere in their life, and this story could be theirs. On a quick note, the author, Linda Glovach, tells of purchasing and using heroin in order to "get the feel of the book", and found herself addicted and almost dead in a hospital. Her amazingly articulate vocalization of her experience should be noted. Of her own experience with heroin addiction, she said, "In truth, you make a deal with the Devil. He takes away your pain, but he owns you. You live for the next fix."
Poetic and real. Don't be fooled into believing that this is a book only for teens, do yourself a favor, especially if you have a daughter, and pick this up. It's a quick, poignant, unforgettable read. Enjoy!

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