Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Grown Up Kind Of Pretty

Joshilyn Jackson can do no wrong in my eyes; in fact she’s one of my favorite modern Southern writers. Being a Southern myself, her characters always feel like neighbors I bump into at the Piggly Wiggly.

In this latest novel, you’ll find all the familiar themes present in her former novels such as lost innocence, secrets, child-molestation, dead bodies, drug use, white trash-ness, family and unconditional love.

This is the story of three generations of women living in the same house:

Jenny Slocumb (aka Big) 45-year-old grandmother

Liza Slocumb  (aka Liza Little) Big’s 30-year-old, ex-junkie, semi-mute, sexually generous daughter that recently just had a stroke.

Mosey Slocumb  Liza’s 15-year-old daughter and the light of Big’s life.

When Big decides to have an old tree in the yard removed, the bones of a long-dead baby are found when the stump is finally pulled from the ground while Mosey and her friend, Roger watch on from her tree house. Big recognizes the receiving blanket wrapped around the bones and immediately puts two and two together. Afterwards, Big and Mosey both separately go on different journeys to unravel Liza and the dead baby’s secrets (which isn’t easy since Liza’s post-stroke vocabulary is four words).

Rating: 8.5

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Goddess Of Fried Okra

This is one of those charming “road” novels, folks. Grieving over the loss of her big sister and believing that her sister will be reincarnated, Eudora Pea O’Brien decides to leave Texas and head to New Mexico where she believes her sister will be reborn.

One the way, Eudora picks up strays around every bend until her car is full and finally breaks down in the tiny town of Jewel after a night with Glory, the eccentric (and possibly repressed lesbian) owner of a gun shop on the outskirts of town.

The strays are:

Isis (Cat rescued from crummy convenience store)

Alex (Pregnant, goth teen-ager rescued from a truck stop)

Valentine (Good-looking, womanizing con artist that’s trying to go straight.  Pretends that Eudora has struck him with her car in order to get a free ride out of town)

In Jewel, while she waits several weeks for a part to come in so her old car can be fixed, Eudora takes a job at the local diner to pay for the part. The kindly, grandmotherly owner feels sorry for them and lets them move into her old RV parked in the backyard. The strays soon get involved with the town folks and get a taste of small town life, love, hate, bigotry, hard work and just what it means to be a family after a devastating fire nearly destroys them all at the end of the book.

I liked this book. A nice, light read and author Jean Brashear should be very proud to call this book her own.

Rating: 6.5