She Flew the Coop: A Novel Concerning Life, Death, Sex and Recipes in Limoges, Louisiana

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9780060926205: She Flew the Coop: A Novel Concerning Life, Death, Sex and Recipes in Limoges, Louisiana

The two main occupations in Limoges, Louisiana (population: 905), seem to be spreading juicy gossip and consoling the unfortunate with casseroles. And in this early spring of 1952, there is ample opportunity for both—with sixteen-year-old and pregnant (by the Baptist minister) Olive Nepper, currently languishing in a coma after drinking pop laced with rose poison. But the plight of Olive and her family is hardly the only story spicing up the rumor mill in this small Southern community of unpredictable eccentrics, wandering husbands, and unsatisfied wives—and few local sins will be put right by home cooking.

From Michael Lee West comes a beautifully rendered portrait of small-town Southern life, filled with humanity that brilliantly weaves comedy with dark calamity.

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About the Author:

Michael Lee West is the author of Mad Girls in Love, Crazy Ladies, American Pie, She Flew the Coop, and Consuming Passions. She lives with her husband on a rural farm in Tennessee with three bratty Yorkshire terriers, a Chinese Crested, assorted donkeys, chickens, sheep, and African Pygmy goats. Her faithful dog Zap (above) was the inspiration for a character in the novel.

From Kirkus Reviews:

A skillful follow-up to her first novel, Crazy Ladies (1990), West's new tale chronicles a year in the life of a stuffy and gossip-ridden Louisiana town. It's 1952. A storefront downtown has a bank of television sets. The Majestic Theater has air-conditioning. It's a dry county; only the town's one Yankee woman ever serves wine. Everyone knows that corn is only good up to four hours after it's been picked and that store-bought desserts are only for times of mourning, when preparing peach swirl, Florida cake, and Red Velvet cake would be disrespectful. There's reason enough to mourn: The dead and wounded are coming back from Korea, and a monster who happens to be one of the town's most prominent citizens is preying on very young girls. Sex, violent arguments, and religion are the amusements of choice in spite of the total lack of privacy in a community with only 906 residents. But these problems take a back seat to the real issue, the state of love or the lack of it in various couples. At the center of this maelstrom is Vangie Nepper, a product of a more innocent time (just like all those high-calorie recipes). Vangie is a fantastic cook, a wonderful gardener, and a good mother, but not very bright--was it that fall out of the high chair when she was an infant? Her innocence prevents her from saving her daughter from the villain's clutches or her husband from his own libido. Each character gets to tell his or her own story. There are a lot of Baptists here, and the narrative is marinated in their punishing ethic; only people from the right side of the tracks and non-adulterers get to live happily ever after. This robs an otherwise clever and colorful soap opera of much of its charm. -- Copyright 1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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