Book Review: Prettier if She Smiled More by Toni Jordan

About the Book:

One perfect life. One disastrous week. The brand-new novel from bestselling, acclaimed and beloved author Toni Jordan.

As the eldest child in a single-parent family, Kylie’s always had more important things on her mind than smiling for random strangers. Controlling her job, her home, her romantic life and – most importantly – her family takes all her concentration. She’s always succeeded, though, because that’s just who Kylie is.

When her fiercely independent mother breaks an ankle and needs help, it’s up to Kylie, as usual, to fix things. She reluctantly packs her bags and moves in, but back in her childhood home, things start to unravel. Could it be that Kylie’s carefully curated life is not so perfect after all?

Prettier if She Smiled More will make you laugh and make you cry. Is it too late to start over?

Published by Hachette Australia

Released 29th March 2023

My Thoughts:

Last year, Toni Jordan gifted us with Dinner with the Schnabels, which was an absolute laugh out loud delight from start to finish. This year, she’s gifted us Prettier if She Smiled More, a return to the Schnabel family but this time, from the perspective of eldest daughter, Kylie. We spend one week with Kylie and her family, and what a week it is!

‘Dogs only like us because they know we’re bones on the inside,’ said Mia.

Comedy, that comes across well on the page, is no easy feat, yet Toni Jordan makes it look effortless. Prettier if She Smiled More is just as funny as Dinner with the Schnabels, yet possibly a bit more cutting and on point. This can be attributed to Kylie herself, who was just the most terrific character, and Gloria, her mother, who was incredible in every way, and I don’t mean that entirely as a compliment! Their dynamic was truly hilarious at times.

‘The family photos taken when the children were young though, couldn’t be replaced – which led to a crisis. In those years before Photoshop, what could be done about David, who was in the centre of many of the said photos and who Gloria wished dead several times a day in a variety of painful ways? Facing the grinning face of her ex-husband every day in her own home was untenable.

Gloria’s solution had been to cut out a range of Kevin Costner heads of varying sizes from different magazines and glue them over similarly sized David heads. Now the family photos lined up on the mantel were of Gloria and Kevin, standing proudly behind their children, young Kylie, Tansy and Nick.’

I could relate to Kylie in so many ways and really enjoyed walking in her shoes for the week that this novel spanned. It was entertaining to see her handle each new curve ball thrown her way, and also, uplifting, to see her reinvent herself over the course of the week and arrive at a place where she was ready to live her life with a different intention. I also found it deeply moving when the family all realised just how much of a sacrifice Kylie had made for them all as a teenager during her parents’ divorce, a sacrifice that had changed the course of her life. I went from laughter to tears in an instant during that moment.

I loved this novel and recommend it far and wide. Five big golden starbursts!

Thanks to the publisher for the review copy.

5 thoughts on “Book Review: Prettier if She Smiled More by Toni Jordan

  1. *wry smile*
    I needed this.
    Today there is news of a book prize I’ve been keeping an eye on, but I could tell from the Sad Author Photo that it was going to be another Sad Girl novel.
    I reckon Toni Jordan’s success with comic novels is because people are so over The Sad Novel now.
    (Well, I am, that’s for sure.)

    Liked by 1 person

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