Crazy Ladies: A Novel (Girls Raised in the South)

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9780060977740: Crazy Ladies: A Novel (Girls Raised in the South)

From the author of Mad Girls in Love comes this lively multigenerational tale of six charming, unforgettable Southern women -- a novel of love and laughter, pain and redemption.

Though she was born in Tennessee, Miss Gussie is no country fool. A woman who can handle any situation, she has her hands full with two headstrong daughters who happen to be complete opposites -- dour Dorothy and sweet Clancy Jane. Hoping money will heal childhood wounds, Dorothy marries the owner of a five-and-dime, while Clancy Jane gets into a mess of trouble, running off with a randy tomcat who pumps gas at the Esso stand. And then there are Gussie's granddaughters, the smart but plain Violet and fancy-talking Bitsy -- a new generation whose lives will reflect a nation's tumultuous times. From Tennessee to New Orleans, from psychedelic San Francisco to a remote Southwestern desert ranch, this funny, poignant novel spans more than four decades as it vividly recounts the universal loves, sorrows, and joys of women's lives.

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Review:

Rebecca Wells's Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood is rivaled by a fictional sibling: Michael Lee West's Crazy Ladies. West's tale of wild women down South is faster and snappier than Wells's thick bayou prose gumbo, but it has some of the same virtues--a cast of wacky characters, lively regional dialogue, and a satisfying multigenerational time frame. The scene shifts from 1932 to 1972, and from Crystal Falls, Tennessee, to New Orleans to hippie Frisco and L.A., though it's mostly rooted in Tennessee, where sunflower gardens contain deep secrets and kids can light up whole summers with lightning bugs in a jar.

The crazy lady who starts the story is Gussie, vexed by her ornery first daughter, Dorothy. When Dorothy's kid sister, Clancy Jane, comes of age, the real ruckus begins, thanks partly to Gussie's helpless preference for sweet Clancy Jane over dour Dorothy, who calls Gussie "Mother Dear" from age 6 on. Sweet Clancy Jane turns out to be headstrong, too--she runs off in a poodle skirt with Hart, who works on oil rigs, Esso stands, and the odd Cajun girl on the side. And then the '60s hit, bringing on Gussie's grandkids, Bitsy and Violet, plus some jolting social changes reminiscent of Lisa Alther's Kinflicks. Though it's spiced with horror (rape, crib death, one character buried alive), the dominant tone is breezy humor. At one point, the sister with "thighs that could break a man's neck" catches her husband and her shapelier sister "wrapped around each other like stripes on a candy cane." Not a magisterial novel, but a really good read. --Tim Appelo

From the Inside Flap:

From Tennessee to New Orleans, from hippie Haight-Ashbury to a remote desert ranch, here is a novel full of love and laughter, pain and redemption, told in the women's voices of one special family, that are as rich and recognizable as our own. Living large and hanging tough, they teach us the lessons we knew we were missing....

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Book Description Prentice Hall (a Pearson Education Company), United States, 2005. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 201 x 132 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. From the author of Mad Girls in Love comes this lively multigenerational tale of six charming, unforgettable Southern women -- a novel of love and laughter, pain and redemption.Though she was born in Tennessee, Miss Gussie is no country fool. A woman who can handle any situation, she has her hands full with two headstrong daughters who happen to be complete opposites -- dour Dorothy and sweet Clancy Jane. Hoping money will heal childhood wounds, Dorothy marries the owner of a five-and-dime, while Clancy Jane gets into a mess of trouble, running off with a randy tomcat who pumps gas at the Esso stand. And then there are Gussie s granddaughters, the smart but plain Violet and fancy-talking Bitsy -- a new generation whose lives will reflect a nation s tumultuous times. From Tennessee to New Orleans, from psychedelic San Francisco to a remote Southwestern desert ranch, this funny, poignant novel spans more than four decades as it vividly recounts the universal loves, sorrows, and joys of women s lives. Bookseller Inventory # AAC9780060977740

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Book Description Prentice Hall (a Pearson Education Company), United States, 2005. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 201 x 132 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. From the author of Mad Girls in Love comes this lively multigenerational tale of six charming, unforgettable Southern women -- a novel of love and laughter, pain and redemption.Though she was born in Tennessee, Miss Gussie is no country fool. A woman who can handle any situation, she has her hands full with two headstrong daughters who happen to be complete opposites -- dour Dorothy and sweet Clancy Jane. Hoping money will heal childhood wounds, Dorothy marries the owner of a five-and-dime, while Clancy Jane gets into a mess of trouble, running off with a randy tomcat who pumps gas at the Esso stand. And then there are Gussie s granddaughters, the smart but plain Violet and fancy-talking Bitsy -- a new generation whose lives will reflect a nation s tumultuous times. From Tennessee to New Orleans, from psychedelic San Francisco to a remote Southwestern desert ranch, this funny, poignant novel spans more than four decades as it vividly recounts the universal loves, sorrows, and joys of women s lives. Bookseller Inventory # AAC9780060977740

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