Friday, July 08, 2005

gods in Alabama, by Joshilyn Jackson

This was a riveting, well-crafted southern drama with a surprising twist. Admittedly, I am a sucker for southern tales and the opening paragraph of this novel resonated immediately.
There are gods in Alabama: Jack Daniel’s, high school quarterbacks,
trucks, big tits, and also Jesus. I left one back there myself, back in
Possett. I kicked it under the kudzu and left it to the roaches.

If you consider the effect of outside influences on your opinion of a book, I could not have been in a better place to read this novel! The main character, Arlene Fleet, spends the first part of the book recalling Alabama. The next part of the book entails a road-trip to Alabama and the ending takes place "back home" in Possett, AL. While my family and I were on our way to Texas and Louisiana (not Alabama) the scenery along the way meshed perfectly with the descriptions in the book!

So I was probably in the ideal place to read it but I enjoyed it immensely. Even if you aren’t headed south, or especially if you are not, I recommend this as a vicarious trip home to a very southern home and southern dysfunctional family. There is the obligatory scene where a southern writer must describe a palmetto bug for Yankee readers and Ms. Jackson does an excellent job!

There are good men in this book and one who is both hero and devil. It is the women who protect each other, albeit in unconventional ways that move this story. There are gods in Alabama but God works through the women of Chicago and Possett, Alabama.

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