Nonny Frett is caught between. She was born into the Crabtree family and secretly adopted into the Frett family, two groups that have been fighting since time immemorial. She wants to divorce her husband but she's caught between lust and lassitude. She's frequently caught between what she wants to do and what she feels like she has to do. How appropriate is it that she lives in a town called Between, Georgia?
I enjoyed this. Parts had me laughing out loud, I was worried sick in other places, and I was ready to slap some characters around in still others. It felt like a real slice of someone else’s life. The whole Hatfield and McCoy thing was a little over the top, but it made for a good story, and gave Nonny a good backdrop against which to grow into herself.
Nonny is thirty years old, but she hasn’t really found herself yet. She’s constantly dissecting herself and her behavior, looking to see if she’s more Crabtree or Frett in the whole “nature vs nurture” dichotomy. She tends to float along in life, either choosing not to make decisions, or content to let others make them for her. In all honesty, I related a little too much to her, so I liked watching her become who she was always meant to be.
I loved Nonny’s mother. She was born deaf and has lost her sight by the time the book takes place. There's no word of complaint from her though. She's actually the rock of the family. She's an artist, she's wise, and she takes care of business. Her sister Bernese would argue, but Stacia is the one they rely on to keep them anchored.
Nonny’s family is practically all women. She has an aunt Bernese that is a holy terror. She’s supposed to be going through a “bad patch” in the book, but since that’s all I saw of her, I didn’t like her at all. Nonny’s birth grandmother, Ona, is possibly even worse. She’s mean, she’s drunk, she’s manipulative, and she’s lonely. It’s a bit of a lethal combination. But even these two manage to grow, and I found myself seeing through their eyes a little by the time everything was over.
This would be a good book club book. There are lots of things to discuss here, the various ways that females relate to each other and hurt and heal each other being chief among them. Life in a small town and that whole “nature vs. nurture” thing would invariably come up as well. Any red-blooded women are probably going to talk about the men in the book too. Oh my! I’m a sucker for a fictional man with long hair, especially if I get to “watch” him let it down, literally and figuratively. Is it a little steamy in here? ;-)
After all the good stuff I just said, I can only bring myself to give this three and a half stars. There’s no real reason except that I enjoyed it while it lasted, but I don't think I'll remember it very long. I do recommend it if you're looking for a family drama with touches of humor.
Her new novel, Backseat Saints is coming out June 8, 2010