A very clever book, horribly named.
Holly the perky divorced real estate agent shows Bill a very very big house after Bill’s partner tells him to buy Tara for their new law office. “Think what this house says about the people who live here….!” she says.
It says that they have spent a lot of money on a really big house and now they will spend even more money to keep it from falling slowly to bits. It says that they probably want to brag about owning the house to a lot of people they don’t like very much, so that those people will envy them and feel bad that their own houses are not so grand. This house could generate a lot of bad feelings…
Meanwhile, Bill’s newly widowed and melancholic sister, Elizabeth, has checked herself into a mental asylum, where she meets Emma O., who explains that she’s inside for the same reason that most women are: “I’m in here for not being beautiful.”
When you get right down to it there is only one universal currency, says Emma.
And that is?
Beauty. Beauty is the one status symbol that cannot be taken away. If you’re beautiful you can be set down anywhere in the world without your ID or your credit cards and people will treat you well… Anyhow, pretty people matter. The rest of us don’t.
Elizabeth thinks that Emma O would probably be a lot more useful to therapists outside the institution, drumming up business by making homely women even more depressed….