Getting the Pretty Back by Molly Ringwald

August 14, 2011

Synopsis (from the publisher): To her millions of fans, Molly Ringwald will forever be sixteen—having defined teenage angst, love, and heartbreak as the endearing star of the John Hughes classics Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, and Pretty in Pink. Facing a completely new, angst-inducing time in her life—her forties—Molly is embracing being a woman, wife, mother of three, actress, and best friend with her trademark style, candor, and humor.

Getting the Pretty Back is Molly’s unforgettably personal, refreshingly outspoken take on life, love, and, of course, finding that perfect red lipstick. Whether she’s discussing sex and beauty, personal style, travel and entertaining, motherhood, or friendship, Molly embodies the spirit of being fabulous at every age—and she encourages every woman to become “the sexiest, funniest, smartest, best-dressed, and most confident woman that you can be.”


  • I listened to the audiobook version, which was read by Molly herself. She delivered an excellent performance, and really made the book sound as though she was talking directly to me as a girlfriend. It was quite pleasant, actually.
  • This is a very short, quick read (or listen). It mostly breezes right by, with just a few boring parts scattered along the way.
  • I thought Molly’s advice was mostly sound. Granted, there wasn’t anything earth-shattering in the pages and most of this stuff could probably be found in other self-help books, but still. I particularly enjoyed her fashion tips and wardrobe advice. I so need to get rid of my sloganed t-shirts, don’t I?
  • The chapter about parenthood was interesting, too. It sounds like Molly and I are the same kind of parents. We don’t completely ban our children from fun things like TV and video games, but we don’t buy them every last DVD or xbox wireless adapter that they beg for. It’s called balance, people!
  • Maybe it’s just because I listened to Molly read this instead of seeing stark print in an impersonal page, but the advice really sounded sincere without being preachy. I’m more willing to listen to stuff like that than the usual dictatorial commands issued by similar books.
  • I loved Molly’s anecdotes about friendship, especially the one about her friend Jenny. The two were inseparable in elementary school, but then drifted apart. After years and years of no contact at all, Molly called her friend (now an OB/GYN) after a heart-wrenching miscarriage. Jenny listened and gave advice as if nothing ever happened. What a lovely woman!


  • The chapters on food and cooking weren’t really my thing, as I’m not interested in either of those two activities.
  • Molly frequently said to buy the “best you can afford,” whether talking about food from the supermarket, fashion accessories, shoes, or dermatology treatment. I’m not sure I agree with that approach, though. For example, I can afford a $385 Hermes scarf (which she recommends by name), but does that mean I really need to get it? Wouldn’t a $50 silk scarf from a no-name manufacturer accomplish the same thing?


I thought Getting the Pretty Back was a delightful book that helps show those of us in our late thirties or early forties how to be the sexiest, most confident woman possible. While I won’t be following all of Molly’s advice, there are definitely some useful tidbits that will help me make minor improvements here and there. If you want a light, fun self-help type read this is a good choice. I give the book 4 stars out of 5.

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