A closer look at Miss Wyoming, by Douglas Coupland, reveals that one's struggle for material wealth does not guarantee happiness. The novel begins with a focus on Susan Colgate, who is the dominant character throughout the book. The book opens in the present day with Susan, a washed up television actress in her early thirties, dining at Ivy's restaurant in Beverly Hills. The story soon breaks away to a parallel plotline involving John Johnson, who is also at a turning point in his life. The characters are both going through the motions of life like robots, simply appeasing those around them. At this point, Susan and John meet each other at the restaurant. They have an immediate connection and walk off together, talking about their lives as they travel on for miles and miles. When they finally do part for the day, John is left feeling euphoric. His happiness proves to be short lived because Susan mysteriously disappears.
The title character Susan Colgate, grew up competing in the beauty pageant scene. Her mother Marilyn teaches Susan early on that winning is everything; there is no runner-up in Marilyn's eyes. A runner-up is the same as a loser. Susan is motivated by her mother's words and strives to be perfect throughout her childhood. Hoping that titles and crowns will buy her mother's affection, Susan wins title after title. Unfortunately, nothing ever seems to please her mother. In her teen years Susan has plastic surgery on her jaw because her mother does not think that she photographs well. Then Mommy throws in a nose job as a birthday present. This shows the vanity that her mother possesses in living vicariously through her daughter and not caring about the emotional and physical damage inflicted on Susan. When Susan finally comes of age,