Hairdos of the Mildly Depressed
Brad Orville has always wanted hair - lots of it, preferably thick and wavy - but he started going bald in the seventh grade. What makes it worse is the fact that his smart and charming brother Compton has a full head of gorgeous locks, still going strong as they enter middle age. But then Compton suffers a traumatic brain injury and Brad must take care of him 24/7. Yet Compton - even in his addled state - seems to somehow thrive, marrying the woman of his dreams, Peaches, while Brad turns to booze, Internet dating, and a toupee for solace. Happiness however might be a lot closer than Brad ever imagined, and it doesn't even involve fake hair.
- Paperback | 288 pages
- 134.62 x 205.74 x 22.86mm | 90.72g
- 04 Jun 2010
- Ebury Publishing
- Virgin Books
- London, United Kingdom
About Doug Crandell
The Flawless Skin of Ugly People, a finalist for the William Faulkner Prize, is Doug Crandell's first novel. He is author of two memoirs, Pig Boy's Wicked Bird and The All-American Industrial Motel, and lives in Douglasville, Georgia.
"Kirkus": Unhappy Georgia man responsible for the care of his brain-damaged older brother yearns for a different life. It is understandable why Brad Orville would feel like he got something of a bum deal. Holding down a soulless job, he's prematurely bald and lives in a somewhat dilapidated, albeit charming, country spread with his disabled brother Compton. A one-time ladies man now reduced to shattered motor skills and emotional outbursts, Compton suffered a grisly beating at the hands of a woman's jealous husband. Some, including Brad in his darker moments, would argue that he brought it upon himself. Shortly before the beating, Compton used his considerable charms (and glossy head of hair) to seduce Brad's fiancee, ruining, Brad believes, his chance at happiness. Brad's simmering resentment boils over when Compton suddenly marries a young African-American woman named Peaches that he meets at his rehabilitation center. Pregnant with Compton's twins, Peaches moves in with the brothers, upsetting their routine. Claiming to want what is best for his brother and Peaches (and terrified of having three new people to support), Brad plots to have their marriage annulled and the babies put up for adoption. What he really wants is to have a life of his own, and he takes several ill-fated steps (purchasing an expensive "hair system," Internet dating) to those ends. He is also approached by zealous developers eager for his and Compton's land. Brad really starts to spin out of control, though, after he drops his antidepressants in favor of alcohol, with blackouts and other self-destructive behavior following. Meanwhile, Compton and Peaches fix up the place, oblivious to the developers, andCompton starts to remember what a jerk he was to Brad in his previous life. This realization leaves room for the healing that both brothers sorely need--if it isn't too late. Crandell's character-driven follow-up to "The Flawless Skin of Ugly People" (2007) might occasionally overdo the sentimentality, but Brad, by turns self-pitying and selfless, makes for an especially relatable hero. Tragicomic Cain and Abel variation, with a reassuring hopefulness."Publishers Weekly": Somewhere between comedy and tragedy lies the second installment to Crandell's Beauty Knows No Pain trilogy (after "The Flawless Skin of Ugly People"). Brad Orville is stuck in a rut in the middle of Witchfield County, Ga. He lives with his brother, Compton, a former playboy turned mildly brain-damaged dependent after his head was cracked open by a man angry at him for sleeping with his wife. Bald Brad, meanwhile, must look after Compton while coming to terms with a betrayal Compton committed years ago. His days are frequently a blur of booze, bad hairpieces and interactions with strange women he meets online. As forest fires and real estate developers encroach on the brothers' family land, Compton and his pregnant wife, Peaches, spend their summer fixing the family farmhouse in preparation for the new addition. The story is painfully believable-from the characterization of two brothers who can't quite connect to the description of what happens to a man's skin when a toupee is left on too long-and has the perverse charms readers of Augusten Burroughs and David Sedaris will recognize. ""