Saturday, February 9, 2008

Something? and what kind of stars?

The curse of the most recent library haul has continued. You know, I really thought I'd chosen well, as I was leaving the library that day. A decent number of books, but I'd stopped before I had too many. A mix of some I'd been meaning to get to, and new ones I'd never heard of. An eclectic combination of meaningful fiction and fun, charming flufffy stuff. NOT SO.

I waited a week before posting on Moon Pies and Movie Stars. I finished it during my first night in Pittsburgh. I can say that it was more captivating than Saints and Sinners, and definitely less poorly written than Gay Blades. Other than that, though, I don't have a whole lot to say about it.

The book was pretty derivative. The tale starts in a bowling alley in Texas, owned by the main character (whose name I've forgotten already...we'll call her MC). MC is holding a big party in her bowling alley for all her female friends, to celebrate the wedding of two characters on their favorite soap opera. To MC's shock, however, a face from the past appears on the screen: her adult daughter Violet, who ran off four years ago, leaving MC to raise her two children and contend with her monster-in-law. Violet is now starring in a commercial. MC's slutty, fun-loving sister, Loralva, is all for traveling to Hollywood to find her, and to try to get on The Price is Right. The monster-in-law also wants to go, as her son is no longer abandoned by a tramp, but married to a genuine movie star. The monster-in-law also has a Winnebago, so the group (including the children) set out on an absolutely mapcap, whirlwind tour of the southwest, meeting bikers and country-western singers and learning valuable lessons about life, love, friendship, blah blah blah bullshit bullshit bullshit.

I can't put my finger on why this book was so flaccid, but it really just limped along. It didn't succeed at being plot or character-driven. You don't learn much more about the three principals after you first meet them. Loralva is introduced to you as an easy, fun-loving woman, and turns out that's exactly what she is. The monster-in-law is introduced to you as an overbearing, bitchy pain-in-the-ass, and turns out that's exactly what she is. MC is introduced to you as a woman who's been abandoned by everyone she loves (she's also a widow) and is doing the best with what she can...and that's exactly what she is. So, it's not character-driven, which leaves us with the plot.

The plot was a long, slow build to not much of a payoff. There was little tension to keep the book moving, and the characters were so two-dimensional that it was hard to care about them. Looking back, I'm surprised that I stuck with this one.

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