Like The Queen
Whatever happens to strike my fancy, but surely some sort of fiber content.


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Friday, September 10, 2004  

It was a sleepless night - for no good reason other than, perhaps chronology, and I've been awake since 2:30. Often when I wake up and can't get back to sleep I'm pretty energized, bustling through the day and crashing sometime about 7:30. I'm already dragging now, probably should have tried to get back to sleep an hour ago. Well. At least it's Friday.

I am reading Big Stone Gap , by Adriana Trigiani. This is the title I'll be guiding a book club through on Monday. It's a sweet story - sort of a beefed up Harlequin Romance, with your standard frigid brainy beauty who walls herself off from the world because her papa was a cold'un (or who was dumped by Mr. Scoundrel) and almost walks away from Manly Mr. Right, who's been waiting in the wings, or on the porch, or by the side, since they were both in grammar school. That's the Harlequin Romance part - but it's got more meat to it, with it's cast of thousands of both mountain folk and flamboyant ferign types, some all the way from the Eye-Tal-Yun peninsula. Yew know, thet place thut's shaped lahk a boot?

I'm not all that fond of vernacular, most of the time. This dose isn't too heavy a load to bear, but it's mighty strong. And if I didn't live in a small town, if I were a more sophisticated reader, I'd complain that the stereotypes were trite. Since I do, though, I know that stereotypes aren't caricatures of the real thing - they are the real thing. That's what makes them both so easy to create and tiresome to witness, unless it's your Uncle Rafe, who really does chaw bacca at the hog auction.

There's plenty of glamour when Elizabeth Taylor comes to town - back when she was playing at being a Washington D.C. Hostess. That had to be her most unglamorous period; her muumuu era. I remember when she came to Essex, too. I went to the rally up at Wheatland, one of the lovely ante-bellum home upriver from us. BH assures me that she came here just after she visited Big Stone Gap - or else, she went there just after she'd been here. Well - wanna know the truth? Big screen glamour does better on the pages of People magazine than it does on the front lawn of Wheatland.

I missed this book when it came out a couple years ago and I was glad to get around to reading it. I like to have a sampling of Virginia Authors in my mental database. There are a slew of 'em living in the south west corner; Sharyn McCrumb, Jill McCorkle, Lee Smith, a little cluster around Charlottesville; Baldacci, Rita M. Brown and Grisham, even my favorite of all, up in Fredericksburg; Florence King. Some are born here’s, some are come here’s, some are gone away's. Now, I'm a born here, though, my family is not - and I think it's God's Country, but I wonder what the big draw is for those not born'n bred in the briar patch. Perhaps it is the opportunity to live out the Tara fantasy - Gone with the wind - without that oppressive heat of the real plantation south. Perhaps it's got panache because it's had so little industry. Lots of dirt poor, land poor, coal mine poor, but, not the sort of dinginess I've seen in more industrial places. Our rust belt gets covered over by kudzu and creeper pretty quick. In spite of the D.C. suburbs, there's still a lot of rolling green left in VA.

Anyway, the book - my companion through most of this sleepless night - was a bit of sugar candy and I can certainly see where it's popularity came from. I may have gotten awfully tired of a 35 year old woman with that many doubts and that clueless to her wants, desires, and deserts, but not so tired I tossed the book aside. And for goodness sake it was a full rocket height above the gloom and misery of the usual selection this particular book club chooses. La! I have been so depressed with so much of what they have picked over the years. At least this one has a happy ending. As the Queen O Fairytales happy ever after sugar blood candy coated syrup soaked souls, it was a nice way to make the dark hours pass.

Best of all - I have the weekend free now, to knit!

posted by Bess | 6:04 AM