Out of the blue one day, Sookie Poole receives a phone call informing her that she’s not who she thinks she is. Sookie discovers that her intimidating mother, Lenore, has been keeping a huge secret from her for years. This makes Sookie question who she really is and do some digging into her past. She discovers some very fascinating women in her past.
I’m a big fan of Fannie Flagg‘s so I was excited to pick up The All-Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion. While I enjoyed the book, I didn’t think it was as good as Flagg’s other books. I think maybe she tried to do too much with this one so the book felt too long and, at times, rambling to me.
I enjoyed the character of Sookie, even though I found her spineless at times. I guess that’s to be expected, though, because her mother, Lenore, was a force of nature! Lenore was a terrific character and so true to life – she’s the kind of woman you admire, as long as she’s not your own mother.
The storyline alternates between Sookie in the present day and the Jurdabralinski family during World War II. It takes a while for the two stories to come together but most readers will have things figured out before they do. Even though it rambled at times, I found the historical content of the Jurdabralinski family fascinating and do wish Flagg had included an author’s note about it – I did a little research to see how much of it was true. Overall, I liked but didn’t love this fun book. I think I’m in the minority, though – The All-Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion is getting raves from lots of other people.
Flagg narrates the audio version herself and does an outstanding job! I thought she was the perfect choice for the book. The audio book is on 9 CDs and lasts approximately 11 hours.
Review copy provided by Random House. I am an Indiebound Affliate.
Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme where you can share new words that you’ve encountered or spotlight words you love. Feel free to get creative! If you want to play along, grab the button, write a post and come back and add your link to Mr. Linky!
Today’s words come from a couple of unique places I found the first word in the Author’s Note of The Bear by Claire Cameron.
1. predation – “But in this case there is no apparent rationale for the attack, other than predation.”
Predation looked and sounded familiar to me and I felt like I should know it yet I couldn’t quite discern the meaning in that sentence so I decided to look it up and I learned predation is the act of preying or plundering.
2. lubricity – Carl commented on a new lotion I bought, saying it didn’t have much lubricity. I knew what he meant but wondered if lubricity was really a word so I went scrambling for my dictionary.
Lubricity is a word and it means the property or state of being lubricious; also: the capacity for reducing friction.
When their father goes missing, the three Weston daughters return home to their mother in Osage County, Oklahoma. It doesn’t take long for them all to remember why they left in the first place.
I’ve seen August: Osage County billed as the “feel-good movie” of the season and that’s true only because it will certainly make everyone feel good about their own family. The Weston family has issues, to put it mildly. They are the definition of dysfunction and their disintegration is difficult to watch. Every member of the family has a secret and/or an issue that makes them all less than sympathetic characters so I didn’t find myself empathizing with or rooting for any of them. Watching the movie was like watching a train wreck – I didn’t really want to see what was going to happen, yet I couldn’t avert my eyes – and I left the theater with a glum feeling.
Having said that, the acting in this movie is top notch. The movie was well cast and I thought everyone nailed their part. I know some people have said Meryl Streep overacted her part but I didn’t think so at all. There is a lot of language and some sexual situations in the movie so it’s rated R for a reason. I found the movie depressing and didn’t care for the ambiguous ending and don’t think it will be for everyone.
Welcome to Mailbox Monday, a meme started by Marcia of To Be Continued, and now hosted on its own blog. I’m happy to report that last week was fairly quiet and uneventful. Here are the books that showed up in my mailbox last week:
- The Boy Problem by Kami Kinard came Scholastic
- Animal Madness by Laurel Braitman came from Simon & Schuster
- Pioneer Girl by Bich Minh Nguyen came from Penguin
- Oleander Girl by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni came from Simon & Schuster
- The Pearl That Broke Its Shell by Nadia Hashimi came from Harper Collins
- Vintage by Susan Gloss came from Harper Collins
- Savage Harvest by Carl Hoffman came from Harper Collins
Did you find any goodies in your mailbox last week?
Like much of the country, the U. S. military has had a long history with racial discrimination. As late as World War II, African Americans who served in the military were assigned to all black units or to jobs servicing white units. As he worried about re-election, President Roosevelt promised that blacks would serve in all branches of the military. Things were slow to change, though, so some determined soldiers took matters into their own hands. Even though they weren’t treated fairly, a group of black soldiers fought for the right to train as paratroopers and won. Twenty black soldiers were brought together to form the 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion, otherwise none as the Triple Nickles.
Courage Has No Color: The True Story of the Triple Nickles, by Tanya Lee Stone, tells the story of a little known, all black parachute battalion that was formed during World War II. Even as they served with dignity, these men faced prejudices both inside and outside the military. They were well trained and worked hard but were denied the right to fight for their country.
The story of the Triple Nickles and their service was new to me and I found it fascinating, even as it angered me at times. I really liked the way Stone made the story come alive by not only telling about the unit and it’s training but telling the story of some of the individuals who served. I was so taken with their story, I did some research on both the unit and the men after I read the book.
This is a great book to introduce children to the prejudices black soldiers faced and the dignity they presented in tough situations. They wanted to fight the Nazis and spent much of their time fighting prejudices at home. Not only does Courage Has No Color tell of their struggle, it celebrates their success. The book contains some wonderful old photos as well as a bibliography and index. I do think some knowledge of the military and World War II are necessary to appreciate this book, so I would recommend it to readers aged 12 and up.
I will link this up to Booking Mama’s Saturday feature, Kid Konnection. If you’d like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children’s books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week, leave a comment as well as a link on her site tomorrow.
Review copy provided by Candlewick Press. I am an Indiebound Affiliate.
Photographer Andew Knapp’s border collie, Momo, loves to hide. Knapp started taking daily pictures of Momo when he’s hiding and posting them on Instagram and a phenomenon was born. Momo loves people, other dogs, and posing for pictures. People obviously love his photos – Knapp has over 130,000 followers on Instagram.
Find Momo, by Andrew Knapp, is a collection of photos with Momo hiding and it is a delight! Sometimes it’s easy to spot Momo and other times it requires a little searching but the photos are often quirky so it’s a lot of fun. This is a book that can be enjoyed by the whole family!
There are very few words in the book but the back does feature an answer key and a little background on a couple of the photos. I fell in love with Momo instantly and find myself picking this book up over and over again. Dog lovers are sure to love this book!
Review copy provided by Quirk Books. I am an Indiebound Affiliate.
Detective John Rebus has accepted a demotion in order to stay on the police force. When he is sent to investigate a car accident he suspects things aren’t as they seem. Before he can close the case, Rebus learns that an old case has been opened and a group of detectives he worked with – the Saints of the Shadow Bible – have been accused of protecting a murderer. Could the two cases possibly be related?
It’s been a while since I’ve read a mystery so I was excited to crack open Saints of the Shadow Bible by Ian Rankin. This was my first experience with Rankin’s work and I thought it was fantastic! I loved John Rebus and want to go back and revisit him in some of Rankin’s older books. This is the 19th book in the series and I’m wondering how I’ve managed to miss it all these years. Jumping in this late in the game didn’t affect my enjoyment at all – I didn’t have any trouble figuring things out.
Rebus is a flawed but endearing character and I got attached to him quickly. His methods aren’t always orthodox but he knows how to get the job done. He’s loyal and tenacious and fights for justice. In other words, he’s just the kind of character I love. Great characters aren’t enough for me, though, and I’m happy to say Saints of the Shadow Bible delivered on plot as well. The plot was not only believable, it had enough twists and tension to keep me flipping the pages as fast as I could. If you enjoy mysteries, you need to pick this one up!