OK-Here's the deal. I haven't done a book report since college. Or maybe even high school. And I never got good grades because I always focused on how the book made me feel and not on whether it was well written or point A followed point B. And I always missed when something was left out of a book deliberately. I just assumed the author forgot. I guess I wasn't quite smart enough to catch on to the fact that the mystery at the end was supposed to leave me thinking. Hmmm.... I read purely for pleasure. Most of the time. Sometimes I read for education. But most of the time I read for pure pleasure. I am an escapist. You will hear (read) that a lot. This means that I am not very much concerned with the technical aspects of a story except in the regard that it is crafted well enough to pull me in and let me feel the story and the characters. (It also means that my personal writing is not going to be technically correct either) So let me tell you how "gods in Alabama" is making me feel.
Now normally I wouldn't (will not??-since this is a first for me) write about a reading experience until I am done with the book. But this one kept me up last night. When I first started the book I wasn't too sure about it. It seemed like your typical girl running away from her past and having to go back and face it (yawn) story. However it is our book club book this month and since I've skipped the past few I figured I should suck it up and continue reading. I even considered cheating and reading the reader's guide first so I could key in on the important parts. I'm glad I didn't. So far (and I'm 2/3rds done) the book is written with a self effacing humor and humility that I never expected from the character after reading the first chapter. Despite all her apologies the character is unapologetic about her own flaws and somehow manages to portray a vulnerable strength throughout what I've read so far. Do you see why I was up until my eyeballs got gritty?? Arlene Fleet is a character of cliches without being a cliched character. And the reasoning behind the insane course that she takes makes perfect sense from her point of view. "gods in Alabama" is fascinating to me. I can't wait to see what happens next and if my eyeballs weren't going to fall out of my head at 2 in the morning I would have finished the book already. I do have a preconceived notion about how the book ends. I will keep you posted, without giving the ending away, on whether I am right or not.
Beth (The Book Ladi)