“Once he’s gone, I return to my mirror. It is my altar. My cheekbones, my xylophone ribs, my flat stomach, my thigh gap–these are my sacraments.”
Los Angeles fashion model Helen Troy wasn’t always skinny. Drastic weight loss has given her everything–money, confidence, attention, respect. Being thin has legitimized her, and starvation has become an addiction.
Following an encounter with a seemingly “perfect” rival model who destabilizes Helen’s shaky self-confidence and shatters her fragile illusion of control, she’s sent into a tragic tailspin that will take her to the lowest depths of hell. Nightmarish versions of herself begin materializing in mirrors, and her tried-and-true coping mechanisms stop working. Reality comes apart at the seams as Helen’s disease manifests in increasingly self-destructive fashions, forcing her to ask herself…
What does perfection look like, and how much would you sacrifice to obtain it?
We follow Helen Troy, a beautiful model living in Los Angeles in this dark novella that explores beauty and love. Helen used to be overweight, and the world despised her appearance when she was. Now – in her new emaciated and attractive body she is despised for her beauty and thinness but also adored for those very same reasons. Life is going great for her until she meets a thinner and prettier model at a photo shoot, which quickly has her derailed into obsessive perfectionism as she tries to become thinner and more beautiful. All this while she’s haunted by the images of her former self (a slug-like abomination) and her possible future (a corpse girl).
The author perfectly depicts the malaise and boredom of LA youth – where parties feel more like funerals and no one really sees you because they’re too busy scrolling their Instagram feed. The characters that inhabit this novella live in their sunglasses as though they wish to hide from the world and people around them because all that matters is youth and material possessions are the only way they feel fulfilled since even the sex depicted is lackluster and boring.
Helen’s descent is harrowing and dark – and not for the faint of heart.
Pick this up if you’re a fan of fatally flawed beautiful people en route to self-destruction.
*Thank you so much to Nightworms for the digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!
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