Wednesday, December 2, 2015

BIG STONE GAP by Adriana Trigiani

In a small Virginia mining town in 1978 lives a 35-year-old pharmacist named Ave Maria Mulligan.  Ave is still grieving the loss of her Italian mother, when her lawyer gives her a letter from her mother, recounting past events that she had never shared with Ave.  This shocking new information throws Ave for a loop, while at the same time explaining her chilly relationship with her father.  Though single, Ave has two significant men in her life.  One is Theodore, a teacher who Ave describes as her best friend.  The other is Jack, a miner who proposes marriage to Ave, with unfortunate results.  Ave Maria is a big-hearted leading lady whose only problem seems to be a lack of sense when it comes to matters of the heart.  Ave lives vicariously through fortyish Iva Lou, the bawdy and vivacious bookmobile driver, who seems to have enthusiastically bedded most of the single men in town.  This novel doesn’t have a lot of tension or tragedy, and the humor is pretty homespun, but it has its charms.  The cast of characters is diverse, with no real villains, with the possible exception of Ave’s greedy aunt.  Even Elizabeth Taylor, who comes to town with husband John Warner during a campaign tour, behaves like the regal star that she was, tolerating with good humor the small town’s lack of sophistication while admiring its generous spirit.   This is not the kind of book that grabbed me and didn’t let go, nor do I think I will remember the plot details for very long.  However, reading it was a pleasant enough way to pass the time.

No comments: