Beautiful Stranger: A Memoir of an Obsession with Perfection
Hope Donahue seemed to have it all: beauty, wealth, social status. She was an only child who grew up with the best private schools, debutante balls, and a home in Hancock Park, Los Angeles's old-money enclave. But beneath the family's facade of "keeping up appearances," Hope hid a host of ugly truths, including a mother increasingly jealous of her daughter's good looks, an uncle's sexual advances, and a father who cowed to the demands of his wife and coolly reserved parents. Hope became addicted to a quest for physical perfection in place of her self-esteem--and by the age of twenty-seven she had undergone seven plastic surgeries. In riveting, unflinching prose, Hope recounts her downward spiral that alienated her family and friends, and led her to theft, bankruptcy, and a sadistic relationship before she began her recovery. A powerful response to a culture obsessed with extreme makeovers and risky procedures that promise flawlessness, Beautiful Stranger is a timely, cautionary tale. Her story will inspire the countless women and men like her who struggle every day in a culture that feeds us dangerous images of unattainable perfection.