Wednesday, June 8, 2011

gods in Alabama, or boy did I find out what happened to Jim Beverly

THERE ARE GODS in Alabama:  Jack Daniel's, high school quarterbacks, trucks, big tits, and also Jesus.

This is the first sentence of the book, gods in Alabama.  Even if I wasn't dying to find out what happened to Jim Beverly this sentence would have caught me. This is the second book of Joshilyn Jackson's I've read.  The first being Backseat Saints. I like them.

gods in Alabama is the companion book to Backseat Saints, or at least that's how I would put it.  In Backseat Saints Rose Mae Lolley, is running away from an abusive husband and in so doing looking desperately for her mom, and the one man she thought was "perfect" Jim Beverly.  Jim Beverly mysteriously disappeared one night, never to be heard from again. Well... In gods in Alabama we find out why.  Arlene/Lena is running from Posset Alabama, her family and her past all because of Jim Beverly.  

In Backseat Saints, Rose Mae gave us the impression that Arlene was shacked up with Jim Beverly someplace in Chicago, where he was a famous athlete. Arlene on the other hand had a very different view of the whole scene.  I don't know why but I could not recall Jim Beverly (and he's referred to throughout both books with his full "godly" name.) as being a white boy.  I always pictured him as the unattainable, forbidden fruit gorgeous black man.  Opps. 

Both books deal with family, disappointments,racism, and tragic life circumstances, but mostly LOVE.  Being that I'm one of those leftover hippies and still believe all you need is LOVE, these elements appeal to me. 

I have to admit that Joshilyn Jackson captured families like I like to see them, flawed and hilarious.  I love the character of aunt Florence.  She's an in control gal on the outside, but inside ...? Makes you want to think of the song Send in the Clowns.  Yet she's filled with a sense responsibilities, and reason she takes very seriously and she loves hard and forever.  If I took the time to do my extremely rude interview with her, I'm sure I'd fill in all the ugly blanks.  Makes for good reading.  

I can only say that if you're looking to read a good book that will keep you interested till close to the end, because I sure was close to the end before I got IT, take a chance and read these two books in relative closeness to each other. (not sure that's properly said, but ... you know what I mean.) 

The other book I read this week was "Embraced by the Light"  Betty J. Eadie. (I waited for the bus a lot this week) The story of a woman who recounts not one but two after death experiences.  While I read the first portion of the book eagerly, it soon fizzled for me.  I found myself skimming through to the end.  This was a book gifted to me from my volunteering partners.  They've both been anxious to hear what I  thought of it.  Well on our next lunch stopover I imagine they won't like what I have to say.  Once again I'll have to rely on my feeling that everything boils down to LOVE, some of the descriptions and rationnel described by the author I found a little unbelievable.  I often wonder what qualifies a book as a #1 New York Times Bestseller?  How many books must be sold before they get that title.  This was one of those books?

Have a great day and read a little something.

Where are You Reading- Alabama, and Nebraska
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Jenny the Pirate said...

May it be said of me that, like Aunt Florence, I love "hard and forever" ... but also like Aunt Florence, may I be spared your "rude interview" ... something I cannot imagine being administered by my dear Irene. Happy Wednesday, luvvy!

SquirrelQueen said...

Being a born and raised southern gal the two Jackson books sound like ones I would enjoy. Thanks for the review.

Jenny Girl said...

I see some of the "gods" around neighborhood once in a while, and they have fallen big time! See what you are missing out on :)
Great review Irene.
Do I need to read the first book before this one?

Shonna said...

I love those Jackson books as well. I read them both as audiobooks and they were wonderful.

bermudaonion said...

I lived in Alabama when I read this book and I have to tell you that opening line is very true. I adored this book.

Jeanne said...

I'm reading her "the girl who stopped swimming" right now and find it very good. Will be looking into these from my library as well Irene.

Jenners said...

I think that is one of the best opening lines of a book ever! I read Backseat Saints first too and then this one. At first I was miffed that I read them out of order but now I think it may have been the better choice. I really wanted to know what happened to Jim Beverly and I think Backseat Saints would have been so different had I known from the get go.

I still haven't written my review of this but one thing I'll mention is that there seemed to be some discrepancies between events in the two books.

TheBookGirl said...

I have not read these books, but I love Mark Childress' southern novels, and these sound like they might be somewhat similar?

National Pet Day...

This is our pet cat, he lived with us for 18 years, adopted from a shelter, best cat ever. RIP Keahan