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“Diary of an Ugly Duckling ”

Written on: 29/05/2006 by Harriet Klausner (18637 reviews written)

Diary of an Ugly Duckling

Karyn Langhorne

Harper Torch, Jul 2006, $6.99

ISBN: 0060847557

Corrections Officer Audra Marks is ashamed that she is fat and ugly. She hides her feelings of inadequacy from friends and her family with an upbeat humorous front using her knowledge of classic movies as a tool to further hide her insecurities. Her peers at the facility think she is the toughest sister on the cell block, but she knows better.

The new brother to join the staff is hunk Art Bradshaw who Audra believes is her soulmate as he is an old film buff. However at a birthday party he invites her to attend, she is humiliated when she realizes he asked her to a teen party and only as an example to the birthday girl, his six foot muscular daughter Penny, of the importance of a positive friendly personality. Vowing to rid herself of her fat and ugliness, she applies and is accepted on the reality makeover TV show The Ugly Duckling whose perfect young producer Shamiyah Thomas must have come from hell. As Audra changes from an ugly duckling into a gorgeous swan, her mom, niece, Art and Penny are disappointed because the essence of Audra vanishes.

Combining the Ugly Duckling fairy tale with the reality show The Swan, Karyn Langhorne provides a strong contemporary tale that emphasizes the importance of self confidence in remaining true to one's nature. Audra is the straw that stirs the story line with her efforts to become pretty and her doubts via letters to her sister serving with the military in Iraq (nice touch). The support cast, especially her mother, her niece, Art and Penny augment a terrific tale that reverberates throughout to "respect yourself" and frankly don't give a damn what others think about you.

Harriet Klausner

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