Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Sunday, July 13, 2008
Oh did I love this book. This is a first book as well but I found it much better written than my previous choice. It too is a story about going home and reconnecting with family. It is the story of a woman who fled her home town in Alabama as soon as she graduated high school, believing she had killed someone. She promised never to have sex and never to tell a lie again if God would just make everything okay.
She has created a new life in Chicago and only had contact with her family by phone over the last 10 years. She is content with her life, having fallen in love with a good man . Into her life drops an old high school peer and everything changes. In order to head off what she believes will be a catastrophe in the discovery of her secret, she heads home to Alabama with her boyfriend in tow. She is justifiably anxious about her return, fearful her secret is going to be exposed and what will happen when her relatives find out her boyfriend is black.
By alternating chapters, the author provides the backstory to Arlene's life as well as what happens when she returns home. I loved the use of this technique and was just amazed at this author's talent and voice. I truly felt the "southerness" through the quirkly family characters, sayings and descriptions. An amazing book with a great ending, showing that no matter what, family is the most important thing in life. I can't wait to read this author's additional books.
I've got one more to go with this challenge so stay tuned!
While I enjoyed the book, I felt there were too many character lines to follow to give the book meatyness. I think it would have been much better if the author and narrowed her focus a bit and more fully developed just a few of the characters. And I just didn't find this book very Southern feeling to me. All in all, it was an enjoyable read by a first time author. I plan to get the author's latest book out of the library as I've been told her writing is much better developed with this.
Monday, June 16, 2008
Arlene is talking about a local "make out" place at the start of the book:
The woods, mostly scrub and loblolly pine with a few sycamore and oak trees, ended on the hilltop. There was a little grassy clearing where you could spread a blanket and get on with it. The clearing ended in a track of gravel at the lip, and where the hill started its descent on the other side, the heaps began.
"Heaps" was our name for kudzu, a fast-spreading vine that climbed anything it could find and turned it into a shaggy, amorphous mound. The heaps had eaten the woods in the pit at the center of the ring of hills, creeping over the ground, coating the trees. They formed piles and climbed up themselves when nothing else was offered. In some places they loomed up higher than the hilltops. Roach Country, Clarice called it. Roaches love to nest in kudzu.
I found the photo at this website - kudzu is a really scary plant! Be sure to check out the photos in the Kud - Zoo!
Deep Dish is the lastest book by Mary Kay Andrews and I guess I'd call it a cooking romance. The two main characters both have small regional cooking shows in Atlanta and are pitted against each other in a "cook off" for a national cooking show similar to the reality shows you can see on the Food Network and Bravo. Regina Foxton takes traditional Southern cuisine and makes it healthier while Tate Moody catches whatever he cooks. In a fairly traditional story, boy and girl end up together and cook up their own show. The book includes some traditional southern eccentrics and some pretty tasty sounding recipes. A great summer each read for sure but not necessarily my favorite Andrews book. I think I like her first two the best.
In order to meet some singles in Greensboro, his real estate agent suggests he join a church singles group. He ends up at a Presbyterian church where he falls for a young church missionary in the singles group. Over the course of a beach trip to Myrtle Beach during Labor Day weekend, Jay gets to know Allie better and forms a more solid friendship with the other singles in the group. It's a humours piece of Christian fiction that turned out to be quite entertaining, giving a good message without being preachy. I loved the author's ability to bring me back to Myrtle Beach and Pawley's Island as well as paint a small slice of missionary life in an Ecuadorian village in the rain forest through his descriptions. My library doesn't have the next book in this series (I think there may be three?) but I will see if it can be ordered. I feel the need to know the rest of the story....