The Real vs. Imaginary “Beautiful Children”

books_021108_beautifulI just raced to the end of author Charles Bock’s “wide-ranging portrait of an almost mythically depraved Las Vegas” (Publisher’s Weekly). It’s not often that I have the pleasure of living in the same universe as a book. This convergence between fiction and non creates the odd sensation of putting a book down only to continue “reading.”

I was going to complain that Bock created a darker Vegas than the one I live in, until I happened to drop by a CVS on Flamingo Road, about an hour east of the Strip. When I stopped in, I couldn’t tell if I had walked into the store or if I had walked into Bock’s head. Just like the many tattered runaways that populate his book, a sad homeless girl loitered at the entrance. She unfurled a cardboard and marker SOS just for me as I passed. Spurred by Bock’s insiduous moralism, I tried to smile at the girl, recognize her humanity, just as he said she would have wanted. But she looked away. And when I exited the store, she was gone. It was an ending as unsatisfying as the book’s.

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One response to “The Real vs. Imaginary “Beautiful Children”

  1. Here is how another Las Vegas writer viewed Bock’s book: http://www.lasvegascitylife.com/articles/2008/03/28/news/cover/iq_20529807.txt

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