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Mad Girls In Love Hardcover – July 5, 2005

37 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

With young Bitsy Wentworth's nose-shattering blow to her philandering husband Claude's handsome face (motive: self-defense; weapon: frozen rack of baby back ribs), West launches this warm but overloaded chronicle of three generations of Southern female eccentricity and spunk. It's August 1972, and Claude is out cold, so Bitsy flees Crystal Falls, Tenn., with their baby, Jennifer, a move that will lose her custody of (though not contact with) her daughter while setting in motion her evolution from girl-wife to worldly interior decorator 20 years later. This follow-up to West's debut, Crazy Ladies, reunites readers with familiar characters, including Bitsy's mother, Dorothy McDougal—who from a Nashville mental institution wages a letter-writing campaign to Pat Nixon on Bitsy's behalf—and Dorothy's sister, Clancy Jane, a hippie cafe owner. Despite well-wrought moments of reconciliation between estranged women throughout (Jennifer's ultimate gesture of forgiveness for Bitsy is especially understated and touching), the novel bogs down in endless female feuding and repetitive male faithlessness (i.e., Claude; Bitsy's second husband, Louie; and Jennifer's almost-husband Pierre). Quirky minor characters and subplots overcrowd this 500-plus page novel, but when West focuses on the complexities of familial or romantic relationships, the novel is at its most heartfelt. (July)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Southern women grow wild in Crystal Falls, Tennessee. Bitsy Wentworth takes a whack at her philandering husband with a frozen slab of baby back ribs, then snatches her infant daughter, Jennifer, the keys to a Corvette, and runs off. There's no going home to mother Dorothy, currently incarcerated at a mental institution, or rowdy cousin Violet. It's hippie aunt Clancy Jane to Bitsy's rescue after Bitsy avoids prison by relinquishing custody of her daughter. Spanning 20 years and told partially through letters to First Ladies, this sprawling, colorful saga follows the four women and their hilarious and hapless relationships with each other and their men. Each suffers a major setback requiring the squaring of shoulders, sipping of sweet teas, and biting off of sharp retorts (and occasional visit to the "institution") that only true steel magnolias can manage. Although the plot meanders and could use some paring, fans of heartwarming southern novels with soap operatic plots liberally dosed with sass and spice will enjoy. Kaite Mediatore
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; First Edition (US) First Printing edition (July 5, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006018406X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060184063
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,726,137 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Michael Lee West grew up on the Gulf Coast with a wild tribe of Southern cooks. She is the author of nine books, including Crazy Ladies, Gone With a Handsomer Man, and A Teeny Bit of Trouble.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Evelyn C on July 5, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Ms West has done it once more. I love the way this woman tells a story. For those who have read Crazy Ladies, she brings forward some of the characters while bringing onto the canvas a new generation.

From the opening letter to a First Lady to the final pages of a wedding with a bonding of mother and daughter, this book held me and refused to let go. As a reader I appreciate stories about all sorts of relationships and interactions. This book did not disappoint. If you enjoy Southern style stories of strong women, you'll enjoy this book, too. Be aware though, that the men are not so likeable, save one or two.

So break out some sweet tea, find yourself a cool spot, and be prepared to take the ride of your life. I promise you'll laugh and you'll cry and you'll be totally happy with this book.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By TXGIRL on July 10, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Bitsy, Jennifer and Dorothy all gave me hope that I am not as crazy as I think! I adored Dorothy so much as she is just "trying too hard" to get all her ducks in a row. I am such a fan of Ms. West books and I know I have many story lines she could use in another book!!!!

If you like stories about southern women and their strong ways of dealing with life you'll love this book....only problem is Ms. West didn't include more of her recipes. My husband is crazy for "Tearoom Chicken Salad" from her book "Consuming Passions".

Buy it, read it, enjoy!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Gail Cooke HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 2, 2005
Format: Audio CD
What is it about Southern women? They continually bemuse and amuse us whether they're "Steel Magnolias" or a hostess with the mostest from "Puttin' On The Grits." These gals are entertaining, endearing, and may even make some of us wish we'd been born South of the Mason-Dixon Line.

Michael Lee West continues in the trend of southern comfort reads with a follow-up to her debut novel "Crazy Ladies." Not to worry if you didn't read or hear it, you'll have no trouble at all in being brought up to speed in the lives of the G.R.I.T.S. (Girls Raised in the South).

With "Mad Girls In Love" we find 18-year-old wife and mother Bitsy Wentworth (who at that time couldn't name the presidents in order but "knew the name and manufacturer of every lipstick and eye shadow in Rexall Drugs) wacked her unfaithful husband with a rack of frozen meat. This caused some alteration to his handsome profile and also caused Bitsy to grab their baby, Jennifer, and run from Crystal Falls. Not a good decision as she lost custody of the child. However, that just might have been the catalyst that caused her to grow up, branch out, and eventually become a successful interior decorator.

Picking up at the close of her first novel, West now follows the lives of her original outre characters plus a few wacky new ones. What a difference 20 years can make - listen and smile!

This audio edition is especially enjoyable as it is performed by the author who obviously knows her way around a microphone as her reading is both polished and professional.

- Gail Cooke
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Sabrinaisme on March 18, 2006
Format: Hardcover
A must read for those entranced by the saga of the "CRAZY LADIES". Although, I was not as fond of this book as the previous one, it does reconcile all the loose ends that left us hanging when we last left those crazy ladies. If you love Bitsy, Dorothy and the gang it is certainly worth your time!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Haley Burke on July 22, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Michael Lee West has done it again in her newest novel, MAD GIRLS IN LOVE. Bitsy, Violet, Dorothy, and Clancy Jane all grow and change throughout the years that are covered in this story and as you read about their loves, marriages, divorces, and sexual adventures, you will love them even more.

I've been waiting for this book to come out for a very long time, checking its release date on a regular basis, being disappointed when the release date changed to a later date. My disappointment changed to delight as I started the book. This is the kind of book that starts out good but just gets better until you don't know how you're going to get anything done because all you want to do is read.

My only complaint - on page 482 Ms. West credits the Doobie Brothers with Clancy Jane's "peaceful, easy feeling" when we all know that was the Eagles. Despite that, I love this book. If you love southern fiction, southern women, and southern ways, get this today. You won't regret it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mom of 2 on July 25, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I loved this book. I am a mother of 2 small girls and still found time to read this book in less than a week. It is fun, sad, and always very entertaining. The lives of these women keep you engrossed throught the entire ride. I will definately check out Michael Lee West's other books as she has a way of telling a gripping story.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Nose in a Book on October 19, 2005
Format: Hardcover
When I saw this book, I knew immediately that it was going to be a winner! Bitsy was a bit of a mess and the rest of her family just added to the mayhem. Michael Lee West never fails to delight me.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jessica on June 13, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I travel for work sometimes and I often will purchase audio books to kill the time in the car. I found this and decided it was perfect for the time I had to travel. I absolutely loved this book, and finished it off while running errands. Sometimes I would sit in the parking lot at the store until the next part, just because I couldn't get out of my car without hearing what happened next. I read and listen to books often, and this is one that I will always recommend. I plan on purchasing the first one, Crazy Ladies, just because this one was so good.
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