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Bowling Avenue Paperback – June 5, 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 268 pages
  • Publisher: Chenille Press (June 5, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0985210001
  • ISBN-13: 978-0985210007
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.9 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #670,170 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Ann Shayne lives in Nashville with her husband and two sons. She is the co-author, with Kay Gardiner, of Mason-Dixon Knitting: The Curious Knitter's Guide and Mason-Dixon Knitting Outside the Lines. Their blog, Mason-Dixon Knitting, has persevered since 2003 despite constant begging for them to shut up.

More About the Author

Ann Shayne lives in Nashville with her husband and two sons. She is the co-author, with Kay Gardiner, of Mason-Dixon Knitting: The Curious Knitter's Guide and Mason-Dixon Knitting Outside the Lines. Their blog, Mason-Dixon Knitting, has persevered since 2003 despite constant begging for them to shut up.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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See all 46 customer reviews
A very easy read, but not always an easy story.
SAB
The characters were believable, the description of scenes made me feel I was right there, and the plot kept me guessing & surprised the whole time.
Tcollins
The characters were well developed, and the story line was very engaging.
Dara Bell

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By A. M. Thompson on June 8, 2012
Format: Paperback
This first time novelist has co-written some hilarious and inspiring knitting books (and a blog) but this was a total surprise for me--it's both wistfully romantic and very, very funny. Oftentimes Southern fiction by women writers has a tendency to be a little over sweetened, like Cracker Barrel tea. But this is nicely tannic, satisfying, and authentic without being self conscious. It's a portrait of a Southern family, and a very specific rendering of the green and pleasant land of suburban (and urban) Nashville-which one could almost say is a major character unto itself. It tells the story of a sad and alienated sister who comes back to her home town to sort out the unwanted legacy of a house. In the course of fulfilling her duties she meets a soulful real estate agent, a grumpy but strangely intriguing neighbour, and discovers her nieces are actually human beings. I don't want to give away the plot too much, but the interweaving of the familiar, iconic parts of Nashville with the ever changing and even hip newer elements was so, so satisfying. What I liked about this book: the precise observational language which is witty and melancholy, the tone, which is conversational, ruminative but quietly tension filled, and above all the dialogue, which jangles with wit and a surprising amount of anger. And I loved the main characters. I recognised so much in this book, and yet I didn't guess what would happen next. I suppose one would recommend this to readers of Anne Tyler and Ann Patchett, but Ms. Shayne is a little more socially connected, less insular feeling than Tyler and funnier than Patchett. Perhaps the most apt comparison is the charmingly sad writer Nancy Lemann, whose "Lives of the Saints" is one of my favorite Southern novels. Bittersweet and tender, it's a wonderful read.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Barbra Tarkenton on June 6, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a hilarious and tender-hearted comic novel that will speak to anyone who has ever gone home again or wanted to go home again. Ann Shayne has a lovely, deft touch as a writer, and her characters seem like living and breathing people. I laughed throughout, and misted up at the end.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Alma M. Katsu on August 29, 2012
Format: Paperback
Delia Ballenger is returning to Nashville to sell her dead sister's house. She thought she'd successfully settled herself in another city, a safe distance from her family and her unhappy past, but she's about to learn that the past is like an undiscovered country, waiting to surprise you. Bowling Avenue is crazily, utterly delightful, a fun and funny read that will keep you happily off-balance and turning the pages for more. Like Delia, you'll find yourself wondering how you came to be in this strangely crackpot place surrounded by these curious characters, but you'll be oh-so glad that you found your way there.

The novel is populated by characters that are absolute gems. They appear in the story like icebergs; the ten-percent we see when they drift into view is their presentable face, their public persona. The other ninety percent emerges slowly, layer by layer, as we get to know each character's hidden secret or shame. There is the dreamboat boyfriend who, it turns out, is the opposite of a dreamboat, with a complicated, heartbreaking past and an uncertain future. The mother who laced herself into a certain kind of life thirty years ago and is only starting to see that she might've been meant for something else entirely. The dead sister who, it turned out, was a bit of an enigma to the people who thought they knew her best.

Nashville figures as prominently in the story as any of its characters, but readers who are strangers to the city shouldn't worry that they'll feel like party-crashers. Within pages, you'll feel like one of the houseguests in the story: chauffeured around the real Nashville of neighborhoods and families, not the Nashville of the music business. You get a sense of what really matters to the denizens of Nashville, not just what tourists come to see.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Carolyn on June 14, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Funny and poignant with interesting characters and a great storyline. Delia could be any of us, and that's what makes her loveable. Ann Shayne is already famous amoung us knitters, now the rest of you can come to love her as well!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By SAB on June 8, 2012
Format: Paperback
I read the pre-publication version of this novel and really couldn't put it down. Everyone will recognize someone in this book, whether it is the strained mother-daughter relationship, the commitment-fearing single, neighbors or the relatives you thought you knew but really didn't. A very easy read, but not always an easy story. I found myself staying up late just to find out how it all ended. Ann Shayne has a familiar voice and the places and people came alive in this first time novel.
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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Kara J. on June 14, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Bowling Avenue is a great novel full of ringing door bells, creepy neighbors, family secrets, and rain. God, there is a lot of rain in this book. The novel centers on Delia Ballenger who is forced to return to Nashville to sell her dead sister's house. Delia quickly realizes that selling real estate in a bad economy and returning home and dealing with family, is a slow, sometimes heart breaking process.

I wanted to give this book 5 stars but I couldn't because Ann Shayne stole my book.

OK, my book idea (except mine has a hurricane instead of a flood),and since she has actually finished and self-published her book and mine is still languishing as a bunch of incoherent word documents that when I finally finish my book it will look like I copied her. But I bet I started my book first. It's not my fault that she's a faster writer.

It's OK, though. I have the advantage now and she just doesn't know it. There are a bunch of really great lines in the book that I have been thinking about borrowing. Like this one:

"There is no way Henry could understand the way I think about him: he's a balloon, a Thanksgiving Day parade balloon, outsized, so unwieldy up there. He drifts along, above my every thought, hard to steer, impractical."

I have had a similar thought about virtually every man I have ever dated. What is it about those first few months of dating someone that you really, really like that cause them to loom so large in your mind? They get so big that they can blot out things like jobs, friends, routine car maintenance, the sun.

Now that I think about it, I may just steal the Henry character entirely. I will give him dark hair instead of light. He will be a car salesman instead of a real estate agent.
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