Such a Pretty Girl
Award-winning author T. Greenwood explores the often-flickering line between woman and girl in this vividly lyrical drama alternating between an West Village artists community in 1970s New York and present day, as a former child actress is forced to confront the darkest secrets of her youth when a controversial photo taken of her as a preteen on the night of the 1977 blackout ignites a media firestorm.
Living peacefully in Vermont, Ryan Flannigan is shocked when a text from her oldest friend alerts her to a devastating news item. A controversial photo of her as a pre-teen has been found in the possession of a wealthy investor recently revealed as a pedophile and a sex trafficker—with an inscription to him from Ryan’s mother on the back.
Memories crowd in, providing their own distinctive pictures of her mother Fiona, an aspiring actress, and their move to the West Village in 1976. Amid the city’s gritty kaleidoscope of wealth and poverty, high art, and sleazy strip clubs, Ryan is discovered and thrust into the spotlight as a promising young actress with a woman’s face and a child’s body. Suddenly, the safety and comfort Ryan longs for is replaced by auditions, paparazzi, and the hungry eyes of men of all ages.
Forced to reexamine her childhood, Ryan begins to untangle her young fears and her mother’s ambitions, and the role each played in the fraught blackout summer of 1977. Even with her movie career long behind her, Ryan and Fiona are suddenly the object of uncomfortable speculation—and Fiona demands Ryan’s support. To put the past to rest, Ryan will need to face the painful truth of their relationship, and the night when everything changed.
EARLY PRAISE FOR SUCH A PRETTY GIRL
“Fans of The Comeback and Carry the Dog will want to snap up a copy of Such a Pretty Girl. T. Greenwood's haunting novel of showbiz parenting is a must-read. Stories of friendship, mothers and daughters, and the moments that shape our entire lives are layered with finesse, immersing the reader in the pages. The perfect book club book. – Mary Webber O’Malley, Skylark Bookshop (Columbia, MO)
“Former child actress Ryan Flannigan is forced to confront her difficult past when a risqué childhood photo is made public, leading to the suicide of a dear, old friend and causing her mother to go into hiding. T. Greenwood’s exquisite storytelling ability is showcased in this coming of age/coming to terms with one’s past, dual time period page-turner. Wrought with emotion and brimming with suspense, this will appeal to fans of Jodi Picoult and Diane Chamberlain.” – Cyndi Larsen, Avon Public Library (Avon, CT)
“T. Greenwood puts her exquisite literary skills to the test in this mother/daughter drama. Analyzing the questionable lines between exploitation and ambition, this novel will have readers on the edge of their seats. Ryan Flannigan is so much more than SUCH A PRETTY GIRL. She becomes a woman who must reckon with her past and demand the truth.” – Pamela Klinger-Horn, Valley Bookseller (Stillwater, MN)
“Diane Arbus said “A photograph is a secret about a secret” and T. Greenwood brings this to light in her new novel…Such a Pretty Girl will suck you into a world of secrets, betrayal and greed of advantage yet seeped with familial love that is even more fragile than it ever was. Many try to run from our past but when a photograph appears that exposes it all, escape becomes nearly impossible.” – Annie Philbrick, Mystic Books (Mystic, CT)
“Ryan Flanagan’s quiet life in Vermont is turned upside down when a private photo from her childhood turns up in a raid on the home of a billionaire sex trafficker and pedophile. Even more disturbing, she learns that her mother was the one who gave the photo to him. Moving back and forth between the 1970s and the present, this is a compelling and sensitively written story of a negligent, self-serving mother and an extraordinary young girl, of surviving childhood and moving beyond a painful past.” – Vicki Nesting, St Charles Parish Library (Louisiana)
“An evocative, haunting, lyrical novel of mothers and daughters, truth and lies, art and life… Greenwood makes you feel what young Ryan feels, as she acts, as she studies the adults around her, as she poses for famous photographer Henri Dubois, and especially as she wanders lost and scared through Westbeth during the 1977 blackout. Adult Ryan’s vision is just as vividly portrayed, whether she’s thinking about her 18 year old daughter’s future or remembering childhood events and old friends.” – Kate Reynolds, Colgate Bookstore (Hamilton, NY)
“PRETTY BABY meets MOMMY DEAREST…Right away I thought of Brooke Shields as a real life model for Ryan - a child model and actor whose innocence was stripped when she was made to act and look older and seductive. Kiddie porn, stage moms and the power of childhood friends to save you all play out in this powerful and disturbing look at manipulation and innocence lost..” – Kim McGee, Lake Travis Community Library (Austin, TX)
“T. Greenwood doing what she does best! A thought-provoking novel of complicated mother-daughter relationships, interwoven with famous, salacious headlines from today and decades ago.” – Julie Slavinsky, Warwick’s (La Jolla, CA)