At fourteen, Miranda Ford inadvertently discovered beauty
pageants, as well as all the lies and cheating that go
along with them. Her career was short-lived, but when
Miranda, now Ford Miller, became a mother, she
concentrated all her energies on making her dream come
true through her daughter, Bailey. It's a more difficult
task than she ever envisaged, Bailey being pudgy and
rather reluctant. Miranda's long-suffering husband Ray is
a nurse, mostly because he failed epically as a doctor;
he works more hours than he should as the Millers are
deeply in debt because of the financial expenditures of
the never-ending pageant parade. Ray's main distraction is
gobbling various medications without knowing what they
are, the unexpected effects providing much sought-after
entertainment. Ray also works two jobs, and it is while
fulfilling hospice duties that things snowball out of
PRETTY UGLY is most a biting satire on, obviously,
children beauty pageants and their stage mothers, but Mr.
Butler spares no one. Think of every preconceived notion,
every stereotype associated with beauty pageants, and
multiply tenfold: they're white trash, rednecks; the
American Dream Miranda yearns for is the twenty-first
century version, sorely distorted by the media, but
she'll do her darndest to succeed. PRETTY UGLY is a
screwball comedy of a book, and it is wildly funny.
Nothing happens the way you expect it, there are twists
of plots and turns of event the likes of which you could
never imagine. The characters are eccentric, colourful,
and even secondary characters are quite entertaining,
mostly Miranda's mother Joan (pronounced Joanne!). She's
a hilarious, misguided religious fanatic who means well,
truly she does, but her conversations with Jesus Himself
are not precisely what one would expect! But amidst all
the zaniness and slapstick, let's not overlook Mr.
Butler's superb writing and keen ear for dialogues.
PRETTY UGLY is a fast-paced, very quick read that will
have you laughing out loud!
From a writer/producer of Family Guy, a satirical look at
dysfunctional southern family complete with an overbearing
stage mom, a 9 year-old pageant queen, a cheating husband,
his teenage girlfriend, a crazy grandmother, and Jesus.
After eight-and-a-half years and three hundred twenty-
pageants, Miranda Miller has become the ultimate stage
mother. Her mission in life is to see that her nine-year-
daughter, Bailey, continues to be one of the most
child pageant contestants in the southern United States.
lately, that mission has become increasingly difficult.
Bailey wants to retire and has been secretly binge eating
make herself “unpageantable;” and the reality show Miranda
has spent years trying to set up just went to their
But Miranda has a plan. She’s seven months pregnant with
fourth child, a girl (thank God), and she is going to make
damn sure this one is even more successful than Bailey,
if the new girl is a little different.
Miranda’s husband, Ray, however, doesn’t have time for
pageants. A full-time nurse, Ray spends his days at the
hospital where he has developed a habit of taking whatever
pills happen to be lying around. His nights are spent
working hospice and dealing with Courtney, the
seventeen-year-old orphan granddaughter of one of his
hospice patients who he has, regrettably, knocked up. With
pregnant wife, a pregnant teenage mistress, two jobs, a
hobby, and a mountain of debt, Ray is starting to take
desperate measures to find some peace. Meanwhile, the
Millers’ two sons are being homeschooled by Miranda’s
mother, Joan (pronounced Jo-Ann), a God-fearing widow who
spends her free time playing cards and planning a murder
with Jesus. Yes, Jesus.
A bright new voice in satirical literature, Kirker Butler
pulls no punches as he dissects our culture’s current
of affairs. It’s really funny, but it’s also pretty ugly.