Shelby, the narrator, is the practical one, and her ideas about the difference between her mother's world of outside beauty and the real world are solid. The problem, though, is that they are just that: ideas. There is no major revelation, no realization among the characters that they are living shallow, unfulfilled lives. Even after her disfiguring accident, the girls' mother goes back to her flirting, man-chasing ways, leaving her daughters with their fathers over the Christmas vacation so that she can take a trip with her doctor. The one saving grace is the relationship that is built between Shelby and her father--a man who at first appears to be dull, boring, ugly, and embarrassing, but who turns out to be the only person who understands Shelby and her sisters’ need to be together. The premise of the story is a good one; in my opinion, however, the execution of the ending could have been better.
Recommended for grades 7-10.