You may think the reason I loved All the Beautiful Girls is because a large part takes place in Las Vegas which is where I live. While it is always fun to read about the place you live in, to hear streets and places you are familiar with and can easily picture, that is not the reason I loved All the Beautiful Girls by Elizabeth J Church.
All the Beautiful Girls is the story of Lily told in three parts. In the first part we learn of what life was like for Lily as a young girl. When she was eight years old she was in a car accident that took the life of both her parents and her older sister. She then goes to live with her mother’s sister and her husband. We see how Lily’s aunt and uncle not only give her no love but her uncle sexually abuses her. We follow her as she learns what love means to someone with a life that begins as hers has. When Lily is eighteen she leaves her aunt and uncle and goes to Las Vegas to live her dream of becoming a dancer. The second part of the story tells of Lily while living in Las Vegas during the 1960’s where Lily becomes a much sought after showgirl. We follow Lily as she makes friends and accumulates wealth. We follow her as she gets to know many Las Vegas celebrities and as she makes decisions based on her past experiences as a child and her constant desire for love. The third part of the story is Lily learning about who she is. Learning how her childhood influenced choices she made while in Las Vegas. Learning how to come to terms with those choices and learning from them.
I loved All the Beautiful Girls because I loved the journey Lily went on. It is a difficult journey and it is a difficult story to read. But I loved the journey of Lily feeling like her whole life was disappearing, feeling that she did not fit anywhere, that something was wrong with her to learning what love is and discovering who she is and what she is capable of doing. There were times when Lily was making choices that were so difficult to watch her make but she learns from those choices.
I thought the book was so well done. There is a scene at the end when Lily must tell the man who has stood by her of what happened to her as a child and I felt that I was in that room with them. It was a powerful scene I thought was very well done.
This book has so many triggers and warnings. There is sexual abuse, self harm and pretty explicit sexual scenes. I don’t normally like reading explicit scenes and I don’t usually recommend books with them. But I am recommending this book because I didn’t feel like the scenes were there to arouse but were there to help in the development of Lily. Without them I don’t think I would have understood Lily and how she viewed love. I would not have understood how she thought or where she was coming from.
My copy of All the Beautiful Girls was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thanks!
I think difficult books are important for us to read. Do you have a favorite difficult book that you feel is important to read?