Pretty Baby is another one of Mary Kubica’s twisted pieces of mysterious, suspenseful fiction.
Set in Chicago like all of her novels are, we are exposed to darkness as we become a part of the serious struggles of loss, betrayal, and mental illness. Pretty Baby is told from the first-person perspective of three characters: Heidi, Chris, and Willow.
Heidi is the mom of a teenager who “hates” life. She is constantly doing for others, pushing away the deep mental wounds of her hysterectomy, loss of her unborn child, and the death of her father. Her story unfolds when she begins to help Willow, a homeless girl found on the streets of Chicago.
Chris, Heidi’s husband, is focused on one thing – money. That is until his wife, Heidi, goes extreme and instead of bringing home a stray cat, brings home a homeless teenager and her infant daughter. Chris is forced to see the flaws in his marriage and take serious steps to save his family.
Willow is the source of all the drama. Although she has zero desire to cause conflict, trouble follows her wherever she goes, allowing the story to continue moving forward. Willow, a sixteen-year-old teen in the foster system, runs off to Chicago with what appears to be her daughter conceived out of wedlock. She has no money, no food, and no family. As the story unfolds, we learn more about the baby she has with her and more about Willow’s time in foster care. How did she get away from her guardians? What was her time like in their watchful eye? These questions are answered, and they will leave you frustrated with a broken system and the destruction one human can cause.
Personally, I think I will always love Kubica’s work, but this story could have been cut shorter. So with that being said, if you have not already, check out The Good Girl and Don’t You Cry first. Then, pick up this read.