September 24, 2011

The Reading Corner....A Beautiful Novel of Dreams Gone Awry

If there is one thing that interests me in reading fiction, it is anything in which the story takes place in Mississippi. I love reading about someones thoughts, what is inside their hearts and what their dreams are. The main character must be someone that I can identify with...someone that I know would become a dear friend in real life.

Miss Judy introduced me to Penelope Stokes, wh0 was featured in one of my previous posts. I think you will enjoy her writings, her penchant for storytelling and the manner in which her stories will touch your heart.

Twenty-three years ago, Mississippi beauty queen, Priscilla Bell (nicknamed "Peach") sauntered out of her mama' s antebellum home in Chulahatchie, Mississippi, shook off the dust on her pretty pumps, and vowed never to return. Now, God help her, divorced and lonely, she's back trying to figure out how her life went so terribly wrong.

Upon the advice of her psychiatrist, Peach bumps around her childhood home, remembering the old times, looking at the old photos and seems to lack any real purpose in her life. In order to escape her mama's scrutinizing gaze, we find her visiting The Heartbreak Cafe, sitting in the back booth and scribbling away in her private journal, an aging beauty queen and lonely. She quietly observes the unlikely group of folks that visit the diner everyday with all of their hidden secrets and past hardships.

 She meets Charles Chase at the Piggly Wiggly (part of my childhood-we loved the Piggly Wiggly) and realizes that she may be ready for another try at love after all. He was sweet, considerate, down to earth, cute and pretty understanding. What secrets could he be hiding? She never took him home to meet her mama.

"I see mama sitting here in her blue striped housedress and no makeup, watching the sun go down over the river. She can't understand how the evening light sets Mama's white hair aflame with the auburn tints of her girlhood or illuminates her face like candlelight. I'm not claiming it'll stay this way. I'm sure there will be times she'd like to kill me and I will want to wring her neck. But I meant what I said with all my heart, about wanting her to stay. I still mean it. Like everyone else in this world, I'm just doing the best I can. Sometimes you have to go home to find out who you really are."

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