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Arlene Fleet, the refreshingly imperfect heroine of Jackson's frank, appealing debut, launches her story with a list of the title's deities: "high school quarterbacks, trucks, big tits, and also Jesus." The first god, also a date rapist by the name of Jim Beverly, she left dead in her hometown of Possett, Ala., but the last she embraces wholeheartedly when high school graduation allows her to flee the South, the murder and her slutty reputation for a new life in Chicago. Upon leaving home, Arlene makes a bargain with God, promising to forgo sex, lies and a return home if he keeps Jim's body hidden. After nine years in Chicago as a truth-telling celibate, an unexpected visitor from home (in search of Jim Beverly) leads her to believe that God is slipping on his end of the deal. As Arlene heads for the Deep South with her African-American boyfriend, Burr, in tow, her secrets unfold in unsurprising but satisfying flashbacks. Jackson brings levity to familiar themes with a spirited take on the clichés of redneck Southern living: the Wal-Mart culture, the subtle and overt racism and the indignant religion. The novel concludes with a final, dramatic disclosure, though the payoff isn't the plot twist but rather Jackson's genuine affection for the people and places of Dixie.
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Critics agree that Jackson has scored big in her first outing, a comic novel that combines salty blue-collar humor with an engaging first-person voice. Jackson navigates through what could have become clichés of Southern types and instead offers memorable, often humorous characters and situations that keep the story humming along. The author also has a few surprises up her sleeve when it comes to plot and character, including moral ambiguity. Dont expect Jacksons debut novel to end like the usual "coming home" story or mistake it for just another "chick-lit" offering.
Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Editorial Reviews
I really enjoyed this book. It was a quick read because you could never guess what was going to happen. I thought the ending was great!Published 1 month ago by Mary Anne Magliaro
This is the second book I've read by Joshilyn Jackson, and I've loved them both. This one kept me guessing as the story unfolded, but the relationships were just as interesting as... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Norway Mom
EASY FUN READ. LOTS OF DEEP THINKING ABOUT LOVE AND LOVE LOST.Published 4 months ago by Michael P. Gates
Guess I am in a real minority here, but I didn't really respect these people. The foul mouth and mean spirited aunt... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Minnie
Not a favorite... I did not really care for any of these characters or their stories. Bland and kind of boring. Took much longer to get through and forcibly so.Published 8 months ago by Jessica Karr
If you have not read this book, honestly you are missing out on a fantastic novel. Far easier to read than Dostoevsky but packing some serious story power and insight into America... Read morePublished 9 months ago by L. L. du Claire
As soon as she graduated high school, Arlene Fleet hightailed it to Chicago, promising herself she'd never go back to Alabama. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Joanna M