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.

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

  1. Here is how another Las Vegas writer viewed Bock’s book:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s