The Ugly Truth
By Pat Cunningham
By Pat Cunningham
I really meant to write a funny story. C’mon, look at the plot: a werewolf enters herself in a dog show as a joke, and wins. How can you take that seriously?
But a funny thing happened, and it wasn’t the story. I started exploring my werewolf’s motives. In order to enter a dog show, she’d have to look more dog than wolf. And if she didn’t look that much like a wolf, what did the other wolves think of her? We all know how the reindeer felt about Rudolph, and all he had was the nose.
That’s when I realized: far from being the mischievous, let’s-stick-it-to-the-monkeys shifter I’d been planning to write about, Adele Chase was an insecure young woman with low self-esteem and serious body-image issues, so desperate for others’ approval she was willing to trot around a show ring on the end of a leash for the sake of human applause. If her own kind wouldn’t give her what she craved, she’d go find it elsewhere. Even, as the plot turned out, risk her life to get it.
It must be hell, growing up as a girl these days. Not that it was ever easy, but geez. All that advertising, TV and magazines and now on the Net, bombarding girls with images of unattainable physical perfection. I know Tyra Banks is out there telling viewers her looks are the result of make-up, lighting, professional stylists and a healthy dose of the airbrush, but is anybody listening to her? Or do they just look at the pictures? Their attitudes are shaped by what they see all around them, and what those images tell them. I thought the women’s movement was supposed to free us from the idea that a girl’s worth depends on her appearance. The statistics on teenage eating disorders, depression and even suicide tend to say otherwise. Don’t even get me started on beauty pageants for 5-year-olds. Ye godz.
A lot of ugliness of different varieties crept into this story. The hero despises his own ethnic background and it’s twisted him up inside. The villain is into racial purity and has taken his sick beliefs to a violent extreme. Fortunately, there are bright spots. Adele has the emotional support of her brother, and wins the hero’s heart with her courage as well as her appearance. She, in turn, helps him accept his heritage. The bad guy gets what’s coming to him. Of course, this is fiction. Real life doesn’t always get the happy ending. Ask the 95-pound woman who thinks she’s fat.
The dogs have it right. They’re not the ones obsessing over their looks. They leave that to us. As long as the food dish is full and they can sleep on the couch, they’re happy. There’s a lesson in there somewhere.
The next story will be funny. I promise.
BEST OF BREED
It started out as a joke: a werewolf entering a dog show. Adele Chase has always believed herself ugly, with her doggish wolf form and non-shifter blue eyes. But in the show ring she’s discovered a place where she can be beautiful.
Now, poised on the brink of her biggest win, nothing can deter her-–not even the presence of Bowie, the notorious werewolf hunter. He’s stalking the show in search of a werewolf and found what he thinks is a woman. Adele realizes he could be her destined mate–-or, if he uncovers her secret, her death.
With Best in Show within her reach, she plays a dangerous game with a man who might either love her or kill her…with neither aware of the enemy who’s out to destroy them both.
Now available from BookStrand ~ http://bookstrand.com/best-of-breed ~
Plus, take a look at COYOTE MOON by Pat Cunningham ~ Can a half-werewolf woman, unaware of her wolf nature, come to love the WereCoyote determined to free her wild side and make her his mate? ~ http://bookstrand.com/product-coyotemoon-14959-330.html ~