Wow, there is a seriously crazy cast of characters all crammed into this tiny town. I am going to just cut the suspense and say that everything the publisher’s blurb claims is true — it is an uproarious and unforgettable cast, and I did not want to leave them when I finished the final page. Their story stays with me despite the books I’ve read since, and I shake my head even now when I think about some of it.
This is not highbrow literary drama; this is real life from all angles, taking its punches from all comers. There is a lot of pretty, and a whole lot of despicable. There is hilarious and there is heart-stopping sadness, sometimes in the same few pages. After reading about the author in this extraordinary debut, I couldn’t help but think he was cribbing from his own story, but protecting those townies he left behind. No matter, it is all great. The setting is as much a character as the people inhabiting it — I would love to hang in a bar called, “The Dirty Shame”. It reminded me of a few of my favorite small-town stories, including Fried Green Tomatoes, A League of Their Own, and Cold Sassy Tree. But truly, this book stands on its own.