Lifestyles of the Super Privileged: We Could Be Beautiful

Catherine West has done it all and now she wants to get married. It seems that finding a husband is as easy as the rest of her life has been. She is a trust fund baby who never had to worry about money. She meets William Stockton at an art gallery and after a brief courtship they are engaged.

As Catherine busies herself with arrangements, she begins to feel that things about William don't add up. And then there's her mother's reaction to William. She knew his family when he was a child. Even though she suffers from Alzheimer's and can't remember a lot, she has a strong aversion to him. Catherine has a hunch that there is more to the story than the one William gives her. She starts snooping around into her mother's past to learn the truth. Does she really want to know? Or does she want to keep pretending in order to maintain her beautiful life?

I know a lot of reviews are "Ugh, this woman!" and yes, Catherine is insufferable at first. She's created a life for herself where she never has to experience discomfort of any kind. Her money can buy her anything and she never has to worry. She spends the first few paragraphs trying to convince the reader that she is a good person. Some of the things she says and does, particularly in her interactions with her sister, tell us otherwise. But Catherine is not a monster. She is someone who tries and she has moments of clarity about herself that are refreshing. She's relatively harmless and she can't help being born who she is.

It's not like she's Mr Burns

Yes, I am a Catherine apologist. She's a flawed human being for sure. But she's good to the people who work for her and I think she'd be a loyal friend. That's why reading about her attempts to shape herself into the kind of person William wants her to be is so frustrating. She could do better.

We Could Be Beautiful was a bumpy start for me. There are chapters that follow the mundane schedule of this overprivileged New Yorker: her massage appointments, her gym appointments, her dinner and shopping dates. It's a little dull at first, but it's leading up to something. You just have to hang in there. The ending is bonkers.

The blurbs for the book make it sound like it's some crazy thriller, but it's not. It has a mystery, yes, but at times it's very funny. There's a lot of family drama as well. I really enjoyed seeing Catherine grow as a person. And, I have to admit, I felt some Schadenfreude as well.

If you don't take this book too seriously, you'll enjoy it. Be prepared to roll your eyes...a lot.

Don't hurt yourself
About the Audio:  Cassandra Clare does an awesome job, as usual. I think her William voice may have been too good. Did I instantly hate him because he sounds like a pretentious jerk or was he just a pretentious jerk anyway and any voice would have made him the same?

Thanks to Penguin Random House Audio for the review copy. All views are my own.

We Could Be Beautiful


  1. You've caught my attention with your review. Catherine sounds like someone I'd love to hate.

  2. Idk, this actually sounds pretty fun! I heart schadenfreude

  3. Hahahaha, I think I'm basically done reading about rich New Yorkers. I read a book like that recently that I was given to understand would be interesting on the topics of privilege and friendship, and it was NOTTTTTT. So I think from now on, no more rich people books. I can't take the eye-rolling! :p


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