Beautiful Stranger: Memoir Of An Obsession

I just finished reading this haunting book and I’m struck by Hope’s story.

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 façade 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.
Always wanting to please others, always wanting to be accepted, the girl who is beautiful on the outside is empty inside. Her continual quest for acceptance moves her to continually change her face hoping that the “new” nose, cheeks and lips will solve her problems.

Dealing with, and having a crush, on her non-board certified plastic surgeons add fuel to the fire as they slice and dice and literally bankrupt Hope (such an ironic name). Faced with a $6000 dollar bill, Hope turns to “modeling” and descends into the porn business sub-culture.

As she states in the final chapter of her book, there is no Hollywood ending to her story. She marries, has children and continues her facial makeovers.
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.

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