Monday, September 12, 2011

Review -- Georgia Bottoms

A couple weeks ago, my first paragraph Tuesday was from the novel Georgia Bottoms by Mark Childress.
I had recently slogged through a rather difficult, philosophical book that was worth reading but was more work than I like to put into reading for fun. So when I picked up this book, the writing and pace made me feel like I was riding in a top down convertible on a country road.
Georgia Bottoms is a southern belle who lives in Mississippi and makes a living by entertaining gentlemen callers, a different man each night of the week, except for Monday. When the book opens, the minister is making a confession, about to detail his relationship with Georgia. Georgia stands up and faints in the middle of the aisle to stop the confession. I think the idea of a respectable woman sleeping with the most powerful men in a small town is a great concept for a book, and I believe it could have carried the entire novel, but lots of extra complications were thrown in.
The book also dealt with racial issues, but it does not rival The Help. Since The Help was set in the 60s, it felt more acceptable for the characters who were racist to say ridiculously racist things. Since this book is set in current times, it just feels creepy that Georgia's mother is incredibly racist. Georgia has given up trying to correct her.
When I used this intro paragraph, several people commented that they were amazed a man could capture a female voice and wondered if he could continue it througout the book. I will have to say that the writing in the book was good throughout and I enjoyed it.
Parts of the book were disjointed, almost like it was a series of short stories that didn't quite fit together.
Every year Georgia throws an elaborate ladies' luncheon. One year she plans her luncheon and that is the day that 9/11 happens. My assumption is that the author was writing this book during 9/11 and he felt obligated to include a reaction to this horrific event. The problem is that it doesn't really fit. Next the book jumps ahead a year.
This was a fun read, but not as satisfying as it could have been. The end was fairly open and didn't tie up loose ends.

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