The Beautifully Worthless
"The Beautifully Worthless" recounts the slow descent into mental illness of an unnamed waitress as she goes on a roadtrip from Brooklyn, NY to Camus, Idaho. Our unnamed Narrator packs her Dalmatian, Rorschach, a roadmap and her broken psyche into her truck and drives towards a town revealed to her in a dream. It is with blind hope that the Waitress leaves a hasty goodbye note to her ex-girlfriend and drives into the mid-West. She doesn't know if the town really exists but she hopes to find healing for her crippled mind and soul while finding out.
We learn that the narrator, Waitress, has skipped from dead-end job to dead-end job since she barely graduated from high school. She is half-crazy - just crazy enough to know that her mind is slipping into dark depression but doesn't know how to prevent it - and has no hope for the future. As Waitress feebly reaches out for help, we reach out with her. Time is not chronological and passes in unspecified increments. Our narrator reveals herself to be unreliable. The reader can't be certain of what is and is not real.
Liebegott's work captures the loneliness and inevitability of mental illness. Her poetry is heavy with grotesque images and metaphor that can prick at the skin like a pinchers. These elements play equal roles in "Beautifully Worthless." The letters express passage of time and context of her trip whereas the poetry acts as an emotional barometer. Each stanza is a translation of Waitress' inner world. Her letters sound upbeat and hopeful, but the poetry reveals how she dangerously navigates the boundaries of sanity. This is not a book that one should read while experiencing personal flux.
"The Beautifully Worthless"
by Ali Liebegott