"Give me books, French wine, fruit, fine weather, and a little music played out of doors by somebody I do not know." - John Keats

"You're not allowed to say anything about books because they're books and books are, you know, God." - Nick Hornby

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Review #41: The Florabama Ladies' Auxiliary and Sewing Circle, by Lois Battle

Told over the course of one year, The Florabama Ladies' Auxiliary and Sewing Circle details the lives of the displaced women of the now-shuttered Cherished Lady mill and how they intersect with the story of Bonnie Duke Cullman, a former deb turned Atlanta society wife whose husband has bankrupted them right out of their marriage. Bonnie finds a job heading up the "Displaced Homemakers Program" at the community college in Florabama, and is charged with helping the former mill workers start over.

Bonnie, lost, overwhelmed, and woefully underqualified, isn't sure she can handle her new position, both in her professional and personal life. Her daughter is appearing to side with her ex-husband, her son is dating a vegetarian and wants to work at a garlic farm, her father is aging rapidly, and her sex life is non-existent.

The ladies of the mill aren't sure they can handle their new positions, either. They're suddenly out of work, out of money, and out of options. But together, Bonnie and the women learn that change isn't always a bad thing, and that we are far stronger and far smarter than we think.

Battle's writing wandered a bit, kind of like a stroll down a garden path, but after having sat on the review for a couple of weeks, I've come to see that this quiet little story has spoken to me more than I originally realized.

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