Well, since I enjoyed my last book of Southern pleasantries so much, I stayed in the same vein for my next book.
This book reads like an old-fashioned story. You kind of feel like you're sitting on a porch swing drinking sweet tea listening to some old lady tell you about her life. That was undoubtedly author Kaye Gibbons' intention, and she executed it quite well. Gibbons is known for writing about women, and this book is no different. She tells the story of the life of Betty Davies, a young Southern woman who was very close to her overbearing mother, Lottie. The story is set during the Depression, a time period when many young women were married in their teens. Betty is slow to mature in terms of finding a man and starting a life of her own. Instead, she spends most of her teenage years in their small farming community with her mother and her mother's friends, all of whom have had their fair share of plight.
I didn't realize it until after I finished the book, but another novel by Gibbons, A Virtuous Woman, was featured in Oprah's Book Club. I'd like to read it sometime; I think Gibbons has a gift for writing about strong women, although I can't think of a single positive male character in this book. They were all stupid or crooked or cruel or deadbeats. Or all of the above. There's a lot to be said for celebrating women, but I hate it when men are made out to be the bad guys all the time. Not saying that would be the case in all her books, but it would've been nice to see a decent male in here somewhere. I had some small issues with the writing style, especially in the beginning, but I think I just needed to get used to it. Not only does it feel like it's coming straight out of someone's mouth, it really does feel like it was written in a different time, which is quite an accomplishment for a modern writer.
The story itself wasn't as good as the writing. I found it a little lacking, but it certainly wasn't boring. I guess it just leaves you wanting more. Though it takes you through three generations of women, it's a short book. Hard to tell as much as the reader wants to hear in 170 pages.
Read from December 16, 2010 to December 21, 2010