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Was She Pretty?

Leanne Shapton

Sarah Crichton Books

A SINGULAR EXPLORATION OF MODERN LOVE AND ALL ITS DEMONS, IN WORDS AND DRAWINGS

In this brilliant gem of a book, artist/writer Leanne Shapton weaves together a voyeuristic tale of love and life through epigrammatic vignettes and sleek line drawings. Entire relationships are encapsulated in a few, stingingly perfect lines: "Colleen was Walter's ex-girlfriend from med school. She loved to dance with men at weddings." Pricking our insecurities, Shapton introduces us to Kim, whose ex "kept a drawerful of love letters in a kitchen drawer . . . She would stare at it while she cooked." And Ben's ex, "a physiotherapist for the U.S. men's and women's Olympic swim teams. She wore small white shorts year-round."

Fascinated by her own jealousy, Shapton interviewed acquaintances about their anxieties and peccadilloes, and the result is a book of surpassing originality: one of those unusual books that comes along to delight us all, like An Exaltation of Larks or Love, Loss, and What I Wore or Griffin and Sabine. Was She Pretty? can also share the shelf with the work of the legendary William Steig, whose early, psychologically revealing work inspired Shapton. An unflinching observer of human behavior, she invites us to peer into the hearts and minds of her characters--while reminding us that we shouldn't be surprised if we see ourselves staring right back.

BOOK EXCERPTS

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Was She Pretty?
Jason's ex-girlfriend was Taylor. She was from the South.Leo's ex-girlfriend had a cult following.Monty's ex-girlfriend Weronika taught him how to speak Polish.Nicholas's ex-girlfriend was a writer's writer.Colin's ex-girlfriend Heather was an independent feature film director who sometimes did videos. She once stated in an interview, "I couldn't make a blockbuster if I tried!"Heather's ex-boyfriend Joel wrote a novel based on their tempestuous and passionate relationship.Joel's ex-girlfriend Marie was a concert pianist. He described her hands as "quick and deft." Her nails were
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Leanne Shapton

  • Leanne Shapton is an art director, illustrator, artist, and publisher based in New
    York. She has contributed work to The New York Times, Harper's, The New Yorker, GQ, Jane, Flaunt, and Seventeen, among others. She runs J&L Books with the photographer Jason Fulford.

  • Leanne Shapton Brica Wilcox
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Was She Pretty?

Leanne Shapton

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