Not Logged in.
Book Jacket
Cruel Beautiful World
Cruel Beautiful World examines the intricate, infinitesimal distance...
Summary and Reviews
Excerpt
Reading Guide
Author Biography

Overall, what do you think of Cruel Beautiful World?

Created: 08/04/17

Replies: 31

Posted Aug. 04, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 1318

Expert

Overall, what do you think of Cruel Beautiful World?

Overall, what do you think of Cruel Beautiful World?


Posted Aug. 06, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Rosieglitter

Join Date: 10/16/16

Posts: 17

RE: Overall, what do you think of Cruel Beautiful World?

Overall, I thought this was a well-written, entertaining book. It kept my interest and I was rooting for Lucy and her family. I grew attached to Lucy, Charlotte, Iris and Patrick. It was easy to see how William seduced Lucy. Lucy was young and had lost her parents when she was only five-years-old. She had probably always longed for love and a father figure. The characters were well-written and believable. There is only one small thing that bothered me - and this has nothing to do with the author. All through the book Lucy is described as having lots of curls and wild hair. The girl on the cover of the book has perfectly straight hair. I wondered if whoever chose the cover of the book had even bothered to read the story. It bothered me every time I picked up the book and saw the cover.


Posted Aug. 06, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
sweeney

Join Date: 05/24/11

Posts: 71

Expert

RE: Overall, what do you think of Cruel Beautiful World?

There are so many things in this book that could scream trite and predictable. Instead the characters are fleshed out so that you care about them as people. You find out throught their own voices why and how they have come to the places that they are. And you you start to live in their world and care for them. and that's what made me stay up late and read this through to the end, which is one of the best compliments I can give to a book.


Posted Aug. 06, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
reene

Join Date: 02/18/15

Posts: 212

Expert

RE: Overall, what do you think of Cruel Beautiful World?

Cruel Beautiful World held my interest and called me back when I had put the book down. It was interesting, but more importantly you cared about the characters. You rooted for Lucy even when you knew she was making a huge mistake. You wanted to take her and shake her, you felt for Iris when she had to give up her house. They became characters in your world.


Posted Aug. 06, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
jennie r

Join Date: 08/06/17

Posts: 4

RE: Overall, what do you think of Cruel Beautiful World?

Overall I enjoyed reading Cruel Beautiful World. There were a few places where the storyline was bungled...one example I recall was when Charlotte was at Lucy's house, sitting in the police car with an officer. Next thing you know, she crumples to the ground, without exiting the car! There were one or two other similar mistakes I caught, and to me, those mistakes make a book feel a bit sloppily-written. And it was a bit predictable, but overall I really liked the character development...really wanted Lucy to be smarter and get herself out of the situation. I thought the twist about Iris being the girls' older sister was interesting and surprising.


Posted Aug. 07, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
alwaysdaddygirl's Gravatar
alwaysdaddygirl

Join Date: 09/04/16

Posts: 32

RE: Overall, what do you think of Cruel Beautiful World?

This is a book that I will reread. I find this book awesome. Why? Gals like me with troubled pasts, can releate to so many things in the book. This book helps you find the closure in life.


"Here's to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes... the ones who see things differently -- they're not fond of rules... You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can't do is ignore them because they change things... they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do."
Steve Jobs
Posted Aug. 07, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
susiej

Join Date: 10/15/14

Posts: 57

Expert

RE: Overall, what do you think of Cruel Beautiful World?

I liked the first half of the book - the portion that had Lucy meeting and going off with her teacher. Of course, it was obvious from the beginning that he would not be good for her, that the situation was not a good one in general. But as the book developed, I became less interested. It seemed to make too many twists and turns. Its initial focus was on Lucy. I thought this was her story. Suddenly it became more about her sister, and when that happened, I felt it lost focus or intensity. There were also times in the narrative - toward the end of Lucy's life - that her story became almost too bizarre. She thought she loved the farmer, but she stole from him. How far away from her home was his market/farm? How could she ride there, work, get back home - all in a day without discovery. I know, she had a bike, but.... The author seemed to want to cover so much here that it felt out of control after awhile.

Nevertheless, I liked this book - characters were compelling and the plot was interesting, continued to develop and keep me reading. I thought that perhaps Leavitt was attempting to do a bit much more here than she was able to handle - but she tells us that is part of her plan ultimately. Not to handle, I mean, but to leave it up to us, the readers to decide. This is an intriguing technique, not necessarily a comfortable one, but an interesting one, nevertheless. I liked this book a lot - it was not an easy read and for some reason I expected it to be. Perhaps the title should have forewarned me! As a result, I did not love it - but maybe I did!


Posted Aug. 07, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
terriej

Join Date: 07/28/11

Posts: 135

Expert

RE: Overall, what do you think of Cruel Beautiful World?

I thought it was a very well written book and I read it quickly - it really held my interest. I will definitely read other books by this author.


Posted Aug. 07, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
PiperUp

Join Date: 10/27/15

Posts: 62

Expert

RE: Overall, what do you think of Cruel Beautiful World?

I really enjoyed it. I cared about each of the sisters & was completely engrossed from the first page. The characters, the plot, the setting - all are beautifully written. I'm looking forward to reading more by this author.


Posted Aug. 07, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
norahp

Join Date: 04/27/13

Posts: 22

RE: Overall, what do you think of Cruel Beautiful World?

Has anyone read any of Caroline Leavitt's earlier work? Any recommendations for "what to read next"?


Posted Aug. 07, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
valeriec's Gravatar
valeriec

Join Date: 10/20/10

Posts: 19

RE: Overall, what do you think of Cruel Beautiful World?

The cover. Where is Lucy's wild hair??


Bluemotmot
Posted Aug. 07, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
norahp

Join Date: 04/27/13

Posts: 22

RE: Overall, what do you think of Cruel Beautiful World?

A couple of people have mentioned their frustration at the cover image not matching their own image (or the book's description) of Lucy. Did that irk anyone else? Any other "favorite" examples of jackets/covers that fail to capture the essence of the book within?


Posted Aug. 07, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
suelizbeth

Join Date: 01/15/17

Posts: 12

RE: Overall, what do you think of Cruel Beautiful World?

This book started out as one story but ended up as another. It's a weird mixture of evil/creepy/stalkerish romance novel, obsessive/guilt-ridden murder mystery, everyone and their step-sister coming of age story, amidst a background of Charles Manson murder trial, hippies, Nixon, the Vietnam War protests and chickens and I really, really liked it. Caroline Leavitt weaves everything together in an easy to read style.


Posted Aug. 08, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
laurap

Join Date: 06/19/12

Posts: 163

Expert

RE: Overall, what do you think of Cruel Beautiful World?

This book does not make my favorites list for several reasons. I found it very predictable. I felt like I knew what was going to happen to Lucy from the moment she left with William. The only questions were when and how. The spreading impact of her action in leaving to her family and others was predictable as well. That said, even predictable books can be winners if they show you something new, but I didn't get that here. Additionally, the late 1960s overlay with the Manson murders and Kent State seems artificial, and the writing was a bit pedestrian. On the plus side, the switching points of view was a plus, making the story more interesting and allowing the author to let the reader draw some conclusions about what was going on, and characters were generally well developed.


Posted Aug. 08, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
lauriew

Join Date: 08/11/16

Posts: 15

RE: Overall, what do you think of Cruel Beautiful World?

I loved the story! Of course I wanted a few things to end differently, but life isn't always what we want. A few thoughts that I pondered are:

1. Did Charlotte have a right to be mad at Lucy? Should she have dropped everything to go and get her, even the possibility of losing her job? What would I have done in that situation? I am not sure. I have difficulty forgiving people as I feel Charlotte did.

2. When Charlotte finds Lucy's journal she reads it in its entirety. Should we read journals that people leave behind or should they be private? Should we even keep journals about personal thoughts?

3. Should we live and take chances or is it better to be safe and just exist? (See page 351, 2nd paragraph)

Did anyone else reflect on the content of the book?


Posted Aug. 08, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
beckyh

Join Date: 05/08/11

Posts: 58

Expert

RE: Overall, what do you think of Cruel Beautiful World?

I thought the writing itself was good. The character development was good. I thought the story itself tried too hard. You knew immediately that William would become too controlling and harm Lucy (either physically or mentally or both). You knew immediately that Lucy would make mistake after mistake leading to her own destruction. You knew Charlotte would try to remake Lucy and fail and then blame herself. One person said the story(plot) was trite. I agree with that assessment.
I also noticed that the cover picture was totally wrong -- This book needed an editor for the mistakes in continuity others have pointed out and the poor cover art.


Posted Aug. 08, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
lynnw

Join Date: 09/01/11

Posts: 124

Expert

RE: Overall, what do you think of Cruel Beautiful World?

I would not say I enjoyed the book, it's just not a happy story in any way. I think the author has great potential as a writer, this book was a bit predictable and I personally like to have at least one character that I can like and identify with.


Posted Aug. 08, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
rebeccak

Join Date: 05/26/12

Posts: 39

RE: Overall, what do you think of Cruel Beautiful World?

To be honest, as I began the novel I though it was very slow and worried I wouldn't want to finish reading it. However, the story quickly picked up pace and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. All of the characters were compelling, and though I was most interested in the William/Lucy storyline, I also enjoyed reading about Iris and her history, as well as Charlotte and her experience in college and at the vet clinic. While it's definitely more "women's lit" than "psychological thriller" I had a noticeable uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach as the storyline between Lucy and William progressed. As he became more controlling and she became more restless, I had a feeling something was going to blow up.


Posted Aug. 09, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
smsh

Join Date: 05/03/16

Posts: 12

RE: Overall, what do you think of Cruel Beautiful World?

I liked this book overall but am not sure I would give it a top endorsement to a friend looking for a great read. It did hold my interest, after a slow start. But it also just seemed a bit unreal at times.


Posted Aug. 10, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
ritai

Join Date: 02/15/17

Posts: 5

RE: Overall, what do you think of Cruel Beautiful World?

I agree with previous posts that in the beginning the book was a little "trite" and I didn't think I was going to like it but I ended up being totally engrossed in the story. I liked the fact that it was told from the various characters' points of view. You knew that something was going to blow up between Lucy and William but you weren't quite sure what. I also enjoyed reading about Charlotte, Patrick and Iris's lives.


Posted Aug. 13, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
carolt

Join Date: 03/25/17

Posts: 7

RE: Overall, what do you think of Cruel Beautiful World?

Well written. I will look for more by Leavitt.


Posted Aug. 14, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
RRO

Join Date: 07/18/11

Posts: 8

RE: Overall, what do you think of Cruel Beautiful World?

It took me a couple of chapters to really get into it, as my first impression of Lucy was a silly, immature girl doing something really stupid. What she did WAS really stupid, but overall I really enjoyed the book. I am going to read some of this author's backlist since I found this one interesting.


Posted Aug. 14, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
alycet

Join Date: 04/23/12

Posts: 77

Expert

RE: Overall, what do you think of Cruel Beautiful World?

Overall I liked the book. It is not my usual choice of reading as I like historical novels and mystery thrillers. However this book had enough twists and turns to keep me interested and turning pages. The characters were well developed and I would recommend it.


Posted Aug. 15, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
tswaine

Join Date: 09/14/11

Posts: 37

RE: Overall, what do you think of Cruel Beautiful World?

I enjoyed this book. I won an advanced reader copy on Goodreads a few months ago. The book kept my interest. I wondered how long it would take Lucy to realize she made a mistake and want to get away from William. I passed my book on to friends who also enjoyed reading it.


Posted Aug. 15, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
jenniferf

Join Date: 06/13/11

Posts: 3

RE: Overall, what do you think of Cruel Beautiful World?

I can't say that I enjoyed this book. I didn't find the story compelling enough to keep me going.


Posted Aug. 15, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
jeannew

Join Date: 04/23/11

Posts: 82

Expert

RE: Overall, what do you think of Cruel Beautiful World?

At the beginning I thought I had it all figured out, but I was wrong. Yes, it was pretty obvious that Lucy and William's affair wasn't going to end well, but I was shocked that Lucy was killed. I just wasn't expecting that. I found the story compelling and it got better the more I read. I liked all the characters, but I thought Charlotte was a bit boring (sorry, Charlotte! I feel bad saying that because she was likable.) I liked the novel being told from all the different viewpoints; different perspectives can really enhance the effect of a story.


Posted Aug. 15, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
melindah

Join Date: 12/25/12

Posts: 48

RE: Overall, what do you think of Cruel Beautiful World?

I found the story predictable. Luckily, the writing was engaging and entertaining, so I had no trouble reading it quickly. Unfortunately, I read it a couple of weeks before the forum opened, and quickly forgot many of the details. It would make a great beach read.


Posted Aug. 16, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
elise

Join Date: 04/22/11

Posts: 30

RE: Overall, what do you think of Cruel Beautiful World?

I have two daughters fairly close to the ages of Charlotte and Lucy. As I read the story and thought of my daughters plus all of their friends and my girl friends growing up, I found it very difficult to accept that a 16 year old girl would not at some point call her mother. I have seen many mother/daughter fall outs that never lasted that long and Lucy never even had a falling out with Iris. This really ruined the story for me because with the relationship that the author developed between Lucy, Charlotte and Iris - I just found this part of the story unrealistic.


Posted Aug. 19, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Lerrgoo

Join Date: 03/02/17

Posts: 3

RE: Overall, what do you think of Cruel Beautiful World?

I loved the book!


Posted Aug. 22, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
alwaysdaddygirl's Gravatar
alwaysdaddygirl

Join Date: 09/04/16

Posts: 32

RE: Overall, what do you think of Cruel Beautiful World?

I have this book on my read again lists. This is a book that I mention to friends. I love this book so much!


"Here's to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes... the ones who see things differently -- they're not fond of rules... You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can't do is ignore them because they change things... they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do."
Steve Jobs
Posted Aug. 25, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Navy Mom

Join Date: 04/12/12

Posts: 183

Expert

RE: Overall, what do you think of Cruel Beautiful World?

I liked the book. The characters were developed well with lots of depth and edges to them. The situation was compelling and believable.


Posted Aug. 27, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
lisar

Join Date: 07/25/16

Posts: 5

RE: Overall, what do you think of Cruel Beautiful World?

Overall I enjoyed Cruel Beautiful World. I looked forward to reading the book and did not feel as though it lagged. Even though the plot was predictable, the characters were well developed. I did not find the book memorable, but a quick "summer" read.


Reply

Please login to post a response.