Ruch White’s novel Belle Prater’s Boy begins with Belle leaving her husband and son. As Belle is elsewhere, it’s difficult for her to give her point of view on her relationship with Love. Instead, the relationship between the two sisters is illuminated by Granny, Grandpa, and other family members. Through their words, Love and Belle’s relationship is recounted and described.
The common view is that Belle was jealous of Love. Love is hailed as a “natural beauty” while Belle is labeled “plain.” The gulf in appearance agonized Belle. Looks were the “most important thing in the world” to Belle. She badly wanted to be as attractive as her sister and have as many boyfriends as her. No matter how much effort Belle put into her looks, she couldn’t seem to reach Love’s level.
When Love went to college, Belle didn’t feel like she had to compete with Love anymore. With Love gone, boys wouldn’t inevitably choose Love over Belle. Now, boys would stick with Belle. One boy that Belle fell especially hard for was Amos. Unfortunately, Love came home, and, as Grandpa predicted, Amos defected from Belle and fell in love with Love.
What happened with Amos reinforces the hurt and anger that has marked Love and Belle’s relationship. After Belle lost Amos, Love says Belle behaved like a “whipped dog.” She stayed in her room, cried, and was uncommunicative. From Love’s point of view, their strained relationship played a big part in Belle's decision to run off with Everett.