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Ruby River Paperback – Bargain Price, January 20, 2004


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 279 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press (January 20, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802140394
  • ASIN: B000HWZ3CG
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.4 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,007,640 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Alabama fundamentalists wage a holy war against a local truck stop in Pruett's evocative but flawed debut. Comely widow Hattie Bohannon already has her hands full running her new truck stop, dealing with her four unruly girls and fending off the (partially welcome) advances of Sheriff Paul Dodd. Now she has a new worry: the Church of the Holy Resurrection, led by sex-starved Bible-thumper Rev. Martin Peterson, has exposed her eldest daughter Jessamine's adulterous affair with a church member. To Reverend Peterson and his flock, Jessamine is a "prostitute," and the truck stop is a den of iniquity, better off shut down in favor of a "steakhouse for families administered by Christians." But Hattie is determined to keep her business afloat, even if it means capitulating in personal battles with her daughters and Sheriff Dodd. Pruett vividly captures the sweat-soaked atmosphere of the Bible Belt, but sometimes her language is so larded with imagery that it's incomprehensible ("Jewell... felt a twinge, like a loose tooth hanging by a thread, only it was hanging somewhere in her midsection, close to the ribs"). She switches arbitrarily between first- and third-person chapters; when the characters narrate, they sound unnaturally highbrow ("My virginity vanished quickly, not in a progression of stumbling steps"). It's hard to get a grip on these folk, several of whom, like the Reverend Petersen's coolly elegant, ecstatically pious, Eve-worshipping wife, Stelle, seem a collection of traits that don't quite hang together. Though Pruett constructs the novel as a contest between church and truck stop, she shows so little sympathy for the Reverend and his congregation that the violent, bitter conclusion seems foregone.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

As a new widow, the capable Hattie Bohannon does not wallow in self-pity but knows that she must get busy and make a living for herself and her four daughters. Seeing that the good citizens of Alabama's Ruby River Valley could use some old-fashioned cooking away from home, she opens a truck stop. All goes smoothly until the church ladies and the minister of the Pentecostal Church of the Resurrection get wind of the fact that, unbeknownst to Hattie, some truckers are also being served in the truck stop parking lot by the local prostitute. That Hattie's teenage daughters begin to get in a bit of sexual trouble, too, doesn't help matters. When war on the truck stop is declared from the pulpit, all hell breaks loose. In her debut novel, Pruett writes evocatively, even poetically, of the South, fully drawing characters whose varied points of view are presented in chapters bearing their names. Her amusing descriptions offer lovely surprises and good reading. Fans of Fannie Flagg's Fried Green Tomatoes will enjoy. Highly recommended for all fiction collections. Sheila Riley, Smithsonian Inst. Libs., Washington, DC
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 16, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Imagine what would happen if Fannie Flagg (the author of ``Fried Green Tomatoes'') had written one of Faulkner's novels, and you'll get a fair idea of the tone of Lynn Pruett's first novel.
The book crackles with fresh imagery, imaginative dialogue, and characters developed far beyond the usual small-town southern stereotypes.
This is a strongly feminist novel, without a word of visible femonist rhetoric. It's about women grabbing hold and taking control of their lives, even if some of the choices they make do not necessarily take them to good ends.
Pruett's male characters are awkward, shambling, but each bears a shred of redemptive grace, even the fire-and-brimestone preacher who gets caught--quite literally--with his pants undone.
Pruett is not afraid to leave loose ends at the end of the book. There is no neat denouement or resolution of some characters' core conflicts. It is as if a second volume ot stories about these same folks is waiting in the wings.
I read this book in a single sitting, and caution future readers that they will be compelled to do likewise, no matter what more compelling tasks lurk. All in all, a great read.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By John Kilgore on December 20, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Wonderful! This is being presented as a "debut novel," but it is supremely accomplished, in both content and style. I read slowly, and put aside as many novels as I finish, maybe more, because sooner or later the author starts slacking off, delivering flat predictable scenes or long stretches of humdrum prose. That never happens here. Lynn Pruett is unfailing good company for 276 pages, and as you make your way through her numerous short chapters, each one offers its own distinct thrill of discovery and insight. The prose is the same way: always graceful, apt, and basically easy, it always has more to offer when you want to pause and savor the full import or the exact tone of what is being said.
Story-wise, what first captures you is the humor of the early chapters, the wonderfully strange mixture of horniness and holiness: that, and of course the human interest of Hattie's quest, as she basically takes on the world in defense of her truck stop and her four girls. Part of what the girls need to be protected from, though, is their own uncontrollable sensuality, with its disastrous tendency to involve them with men twice their age. I don't want to give away too much, but there are enough off-center, ill-advised, oh-no sexual entanglements here to supply a dozen episodes of ER. But whenever you start thinking you have met these people before, on The Jerry Springer Show, you notice again how completely Pruett's writing captures what the tube never can: their humanity, the inner dignity that even the most mistaken and sinning of chracters have in this world.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Pen Name on May 9, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Sure, compare this fun amusement to Fannie Flag, but comparing this to Faukner IS pushing it. It's a fun beach read, enjoy.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. Guild TOP 1000 REVIEWER on July 14, 2005
Format: Hardcover
When I spotted this book,the cover ( the paperback edition shows a girl in a farm field ) was the thing that caught my attention.It immediately made me think of the Southern novels by Erskine Caldwell.God's Little Acre,Tobacco Road and many,many,more made him the best of the Southern,earthy novelists.For several reasons,he is almost unknown today ;but at his height he even outsold Steinbeck.The reasons why his works are hard to find,have more to do about bucking the establishment and political correctness and not over the supurb,quality,popularity and originality of his work.
If one has read much by Caldwell;it is very natural to compare Southern novels with his.This book is an easy read and it did keep my interest; all the way to the end ,but I kept looking for more than there was there.
For me,I have to feel the author's passion and experiences with the location,stories and most of all the characters.Caldwell lived and knew the characters in his novels and even when he created fictional characters they became real.
Obviously,while Pruett is a well trained and literally connected author,there is no feeling that she ever really knew the people,or types of people, she developed in this book.
Can a female writer compete with the likes of Caldwell,Faulkner and Steinbeck? Yes,I think so ,Margaret Mitchell immediately comes to mind.
This book gives me the feeling it was written by a 'trained artist'rather than by one who 'walked the walk'.
Maybe this is the quality of what one gets from the American Voice,Southern Exposure,Black Warrior Review and The Writing Group Book, Limestone and The Louisville Review;I don't know,not having read any of them.I think the success of great authors comes from life experience gained by living with the people not by being a writer-in residence in some center of literacy.
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