Monday, July 07, 2008

The whole truth

I just finished reading gods in Alabama (by way of Heather's suggestion - Thanks, Heather!), and I thought it was a great read. Author Joshilyn Jackson (There is surely no more obvious way to let your daughter know you were hoping for a boy than to name her "Joshilyn," is there?) introduces us to Arlene, a 27-year-old from Posset, Alabama, now living in Chicago. We learn early in the story three things about Arlene: 1.) she is celibate, 2.) she will not lie, and 3.) she will not return to Posset (and hasn't in about a decade), even though her whole family still lives there.

In the following 250 pages or so, Jackson tells us why Arlene crafted these three cardinal rules for herself, slowly revealing the secret she's been hiding from her family and her sweet boyfriend, Burr, all this time.

This novel is much about the truth and lies. How, when we don't know the full truth, we fill in the blanks in a way that makes sense to us. How we can *technically* tell the truth but still be deceitful. How we lie to ourselves about our pasts and what will make us whole.

The colorful cast of characters includes Arlene's drug-addicted mother, her iron-willed Aunt Florence, her beautiful, bubbly cousin Clarice, and high school quarterback Jim Beverly, who figures heavily into Arlene's rationale for abandoning the small Southern town where she was raised.

While not groundbreaking fiction, the novel is entertaining and reads quickly and pleasurably. There were some interesting twists at the end, and some of the characters had some really funny lines. Worth reading.

1 comment:

Alice said...

I enjoyed this book and also gave it to a friend who doesn't read as much as me...and she did as well!