Cover image for God don't like ugly
God don't like ugly
Monroe, Mary.
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Publication Information:
New York : Kensington, [2000]

Physical Description:
344 pages ; 23 cm
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FICTION Adult Fiction Open Shelf
FICTION Adult Fiction Open Shelf

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In her richly drawn debut novel, Mary Monroe brings to life the bond between two girls from opposite sides of the track--and the shattering event that changes their lives forever.

At the heart of the story is Annette Goode, a shy, awkward, overweight child who keeps a terrible secret. Mr. Boatwright, the boarder her hardworking mother has taken in, abuses her daily. Frightened and ashamed, Annette withdraws into a world of books and food.

But the summer Annette turns thirteen, something incredible happens: Rhoda Nelson chooses her as a friend. Dazzling, generous Rhoda, who is everything Annette is not--gorgeous, slim, and worldly--welcomes Annette into the heart of her eccentric family, which includes her handsome and dignified father; her lovely, fragile, "Muh'Dear;" her brooding, dangerous brother Jock; and her colorful white relatives--half-crazy Uncle Johnny, sultry Aunt Lola, and scary, surly Granny Goose.

With Rhoda's help, Annette survives adolescence and blossoms as a woman. But when her beautiful best friend makes a stunning confession about a horrific childhood crime, Annette's world will never be the same.

Set on the streets, porches and parlors of 1960s and 1970 Ohio, God Don't Like Ugly sparkles with clear-eyed wit and uncompromising honesty. Readers will find this remarkable new novel full of laughter, inspiration, and pure enjoyment.

Author Notes

Mary Monroe is the third child of Alabama sharecroppers, and the first and only member of her family to finish high school. Mary never attended college or any writing classes.

Her first novel, The Upper Room, was published in 1985 and was widely reviewed throughout the U.S. and in Great Britain. She is a recipient of the PEN/Oakland Josephine Miles Award for her novel God Don't Like Ugly. She has just finished the fourth book in this series, God Ain't through Yet. (Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

Annette Goode, born in the racist South of the 1950s, is the heroine of Monroe's strong second novel (after The Upper Room), a coming-of-age journey depicted with wit, poignancy and bite. Up until 1963, when 13-year-old, overweight Annette Goode meets beautiful Rhoda Nelson, only daughter of the Richland, Ohio, town undertaker, Annette's life has been a nightmare. After Annette's father left her mother (Muh'Dear) for a white woman, Muh'Dear has scraped by as a domestic, stealing leftover food from her employers' kitchens; Annette overeats to compensate for her father's abandonment. Annette is only seven when she asks their boarder, Mr. Boatwright, to be her daddy. Soon after, he begins raping her. Annette, who considers herself fat and ugly, endures silently, thinking no one will believe her. She suffers the attacks for years until Rhoda befriends her and decides the man must be stopped. Monroe's characters are well drawn, full-bodied and not all bad. Monroe paints sympathetic portraits of Judge Lawson, the honorable white man Muh'Dear works for; Mr. Nelson, the undertaker; Scary Mary, who runs a brothel but has a good heart; and Pee Wee, Annette's young gay friend. However, it is the convincingly depicted friendship between Annette and Rhoda that drives the narrative and gives Annette the courage to end her abuse. In using a young girl's innocent voice to narrate, Monroe recounts a tale of extreme hardship with a hopeful, uplifting tone. Some readers will find the characters more enjoyable than the plot, which occasionally lapses into predictable melodrama, but readers of contemporary African-American literature will discover a highly satisfying page turnerDand one that will stand out on bookstore shelves with its bold, purple-hued cover. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved