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One of the challenge points on the Better World Books 2017 Reading […]
Michael Lee West
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At the center of the group is Bitsy, who, when the novel opens in 1972, is a self-proclaimed girlie-girl who "couldn't name the presidents in order, but ... knew the name and manufacturer of every lipstick and eye shadow in Rexall Drugs." "Mad Girls in Love" follows Bitsy from our first glimpse of her as an eighteen-year-old wife and mother on the lam with her baby daughter through two decades as she develops into a worldly blond beauty. Every milestone in Bitsy's life seems to be marked with something shattering: Starting with her teenaged husband's nose, the damage includes Fostoria goblets, a baby blue Mustang, a crystal cocktail pitcher, a champagne bottle, fingernails, perfume flasks, Spode teacups, and, of course, hearts.
Bad luck with men is a birthright-- maybe it's because eccentricity runs in her family. Bitsy's mother, Dorothy, spent years in the local mental hospital and still writes to First-- and occasionally Second-- Ladies. Her aunt Clancy Jane was, for a long time, the town's only hippie and eventually became the local Crazy Cat Lady.
Michael Lee West writes about these women of Crystal Falls, Tennessee, and their men with the expertise of a down-home cook who knows just how muchhot sauce to add so the cornbread isn't too sweet. Reading "Mad Girls in Love" is like settling into a chair on a porch or at the Utopian Beauty Salon-- only much better.
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