Review of A Beautiful Struggle by Lilliana Anderson

A Beautiful Struggle - Lilliana Anderson

Awkward prose and repetitive languish makes A Beautiful Struggle just that, awkward and repetitive. Although if awkward prose can be covered with an engaging plot, that is not happening in this case, and despite the little twist in the end, A Beautiful Struggle fails in most elements.

 

The story begins with showing Katrina, our MC, being in a less than heathy relationship. Fast forward a while, we find her boyfriendless, but now employed. At her workplace she meets Elliot, a man we're told is the standard amount of perfection. This makes him the most wanted man alive for the female population. Despite a policy against dating within the company, Katrina and Elliot develop feelings for each other.

 

This is a delicate situation for all parties involved and there is so much an author can do with it. So many aspects can be played in here to make this an engaging read. However, it never gets that far. The issue of them risking getting caught it downplayed, and that's it. Between not getting any good drama or obstacles, the book focuses on Katrina and Elliot, how Katrina can't seem to balance between her new fling and her old time best friend David, and Katrina's mother pushing her to get back into the dating pool. 

 

Here are a number of elements in the story going wrong. The first is all the shallow relationships between every single character. There is no depth in them, and I can't for the life of me figure out why David and Katrina are friends from the beginning, or why they have stuck together this long. It's not only this relationship that is shallow, but the point where the supposedly most complex relationship is a puddle of shallowness says more about the rest of them. 

 

Then there is the whole mother situation playing in. Katrina's mother is egging her, almost pushing her, to dive back to find a fish in the sea. This was the most disturbing aspect seeing as Katrina was in the hospital after her last boyfriend got her hurt. I have a hard time seeing any mother being this pushing on her daughter to date again. Just one more relationship that is shallow and unrealistic. 

 

Let's move on to the next issue. How quickly Katrina falls for Elliot is also quite disturbing. After all, Katrina was the one in the abusive relationship. More often than not, this kind of situation leaves scars and mental obstacles to overcome before jumping into a relationship, even when her best friend asks her to be cautious.

 

All of the above is strictly about the plot, not about the narrative, that was choppy and awkward. Yes, the book is written in first POV so the "I" is granted, but there is a limit for how much one should need to use this. Also, more than once the narrator is aware of more than she should in this POV. She can't see how she blushes or tiny personal quirks, yet she is all too aware of this for the POV to be decent.

 

These things aside, the little twist at the end is not that surprising, I just didn't expect it from reading the blurb. However, said twist made the rest of the plot seem rather pointless, another reason for the book feeling like it was put together on a whim and not thoughtfully planned. In whole, the plot has been told hundreds of times, and in much better ways, with incredibly more interesting character dynamics.