I LOVED Mona Awad’s Bunny. It was one of the weirdest, fever dream inducing books I’ve ever read. I had such high hopes for Rouge and I’m not sure it really did it for me. This modern gothic loose retelling of Snow White, has everything in it. Cults, a magic mirror, roses, magic, confusion, desires, mystery, and most of all facials and beauty regimes. I honestly had no idea what this story would be about other than a commentary on the dark side of the beauty industry, and after reading it, I still barely understand the story.
Filled with Awad signature mix of magical realism and dreamlike style of writing. The toxic vanity of the beauty culture has really thrived in society especially with the rise of social media. Awad dives deep into how cultish the beauty industry can be and uses wonderfully dark and layered symbolism to portray the length people will go to be beautiful and keep their beauty. While Rouge explores the depths we go to for beauty and the darkness that it covers; at its core it’s a story about mother/daughter relationships and the way our perspectives and vanities impact them.
I listened to Rouge via audiobook, and while the narrator was good, I would have enjoyed this story more by reading, I think. I prefer my dreamy books to be my sole focus, and I tend to be doing other things when listening to audiobooks. While I still enjoyed Awad’s creativity and her brilliant writing, I ultimately didn’t find myself obsessed with the story, as I did with some of her previous tales. If you are looking for a fever dream to immerse yourself in, than pick this up!
3.5 stars rounded down to 3.
Rouge is out now.. Huge thank you to S & S/ Marysue Rucci Books for my advanced copy and Libro.fm for my audiobook in exchange for my honest opinion. If you liked this review please let me know either by commenting below or by visiting my Instagram @speakingof.books.