Thursday, August 5, 2010

Backseat Saints

I loved Gods in Alabama, Joshilyn Jackson's first novel that was published in 2004, featuring Arlene Fleet, a girl who left her Southern roots for the Windy City, bargaining with God to keep her secrets safe. Now, in 2010, Jackson has returned telling the story of a minor character from Gods, Rose Mae Lolly. Rose Mae's abusive husband seems to be an extension of her childhood and the abuse she suffered at the hands of her father. Rose Mae's mother left her family when Rose was only eight, and Rose has had her eyes out for her mother ever since, along with her ex-boyfriend, Jim Beverly (a character in Gods in Alabama). Thom, Rose Mae's husband has a great deal of anger in him, and isn't afraid to use Rose Mae as his punching bag. When Rose Mae has her fortune read by a woman she believes to be her mother, she knows she must choose to save her own life, or lose it by staying with her husband.
Today I finally had a chance to sit and read for a long while without being interrupted. I fell in love with Jackson's writing all over again, laughing out loud at the way she is able to use similes and metaphors in her writing.

Just a couple of examples:
"I'd thought Clarice's smile was both too dim and friendly and too wide and white, so that she looked to me like the love child of a cannibal and a Labrador retriever (157)."

"She'd smiled at me, and the skin around her eyes had looked like ancient paper, so folded and creased that it might have been used to make a hundred different origami cranes (24)."
I loved Rose Mae Lolly and all of Jackson's characters. I also loved that Rose Mae was introduced in Gods in Alabama, and Backseat Saints is an extension of that book. I now want to go back and re-read Gods just to be able to recall that story, instead of having five years time in-between the two.
Even the cover of Backseat Saints is beautiful. Women's fiction fans, book clubs....Backseat Saints is a great book for many readers.


Bibliophile By the Sea said...

YAY...great to hear your thoughts on this one; I liked it a lot as I did Gods in Alabama. I need to read the book in between now...LOL

Nicole (Linus's Blanket) said...

I really enjoyed this book. I haven't read Gods in Alabama but I am looking forward to going back and seeing the roles that Jim and Rose Mae played in that novel.

kavyen said...

Awesome review and I loved the examples you had quoted. Thanks.. This is definitely on my TBR list now.