Sunday, July 19, 2009
Publisher Comments:By turns hilarious and poignant, the lives of three vibrant and unique Southern women — a proper Atlanta matron, her rebellious teenage daughter, and their housekeeper's young daughter — intersect in unexpected and extraordinary ways in this richly compelling debut novel of family, friendship, and folly.
Folly. Yeah, I can get behind that description. Quite a bit of this book was over the top for me, including the characters. This was an entertaining read, but I found myself shaking my head at the direction it went. Not that I had a particular direction in mind, it just seemed so determined to contradict the stereotypical white Southern matron character that it went it a bit far.
Louise is the stereotypical white Southern matron. She’s settled into the role society and her parents expected of her. She’s got the perfect house in the perfect neighborhood and two kids, although one is not-so-perfect. Her daughter Caroline is a bit rebellious, and Louise isn’t quite sure what to do with her. Also popping in and out of the story is Missy, the housekeeper’s daughter. Nobody seems to know quite what to do with poor Missy.
As I mentioned, there were things in the story that just didn’t work for me. I felt that Louise ran hot and cold with her daughter. I also felt that time moved too fast for the story. It seemed rushed as we went from Caroline’s rebellious teenage years, through her independence in San Francisco, then on to her marriage and divorce and discovery phase. And keep in mind that she was only one of three main characters. Also, since I’m on the topic of our three alleged main characters, I felt Missy got a bit of the short end of the stick when it came to character development. Although Louise is the primary focus of the novel, I think either too much or too little focus was given two the other two women. Whichever way you look at it, I think it detracts from the overall story. Especially since Louise has a pretty ambitious back-story going on at the same time.
Overall, I think this novel attempted too much. Too many characters with too many stories in too short of a novel.