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She Flew the Coop: A Novel Concerning Life, Death, Sex, and Recipes in Limoges, Louisiana Hardcover – May, 1994

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 390 pages
  • Publisher: Harpercollins; 1st edition (May 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060183489
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060183486
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 6.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (76 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,216,253 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

When 16-year-old Olive Nepper eschews Jesus and drinks a Nehi laced with rose poison, it is with good reason: she is carrying the child of Baptist minister T. C. Kirby, a man of stolen identity who once didn't know "Jesus from a Junebug." As Olive lingers in a two-month coma, and radios spew updates on Korea, polio and the Rosenberg trial, the town of Limoges, La., flutters with private dramas and the ensuing public whispers. Olive's frowzy mother, Vangie, whose expertise lies in canning, recipe reduction and horticulture, is protected by all but the most vicious gossipmonger from learning of Olive's pregnancy and the affair between her husband, pharmacist Henry, and his countergirl, Dee Dee Robichaux. The story is told with perfect pitch by many voices, including those of transplanted New York artist Edith Galliard, widow-magnet funeral director Cab Beaulieu, and long-suffering black housekeeper Sophie Donnell. As Vangie waits for Olive to waken and Henry to come home, nearly everyone is getting his or her just deserts, and business is brisk for Beaulieu. Vangie's final self-redemption is but part of a feel-good tie-up of small-town life threads. The author of the acclaimed Crazy Ladies has captured the color, eccentricities and tragicomedy that the best Southern writers do so well.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

The inhabitants of Limoges, Louisiana, seem to have only two things on their minds-sex and food. The married and the unmarried alike find completely unsatisfactory partners during one long, wet springtime. When 16-year-old Olive Nepper finds that she is pregnant by the local preacher, she confronts him, but he sends her away. In a childish fit to make him sorry, she drinks poison, which puts her in a coma. The many voices of Limoges residents tell her story and the story of the town as Olive lies in the hospital day after day. Some residents also feel the need to share their menus and recipes with the reader. Lives change as the spring ripens, and one by one the ill-fated romances crumble. Poignant and subtle, humorous and direct, West's work represents a cross-section of small-town life in the South. Recommended for general collections.
Joanna M. Burkhardt, Univ. of Rhode Island Coll. of Continuing Education Lib., Providence
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Customer Reviews

This book was so interesting, that I savored it - I didn't want it to end.
Although this book takes place in small town Limoges, Louisiana the characters could be from any location.
Libby Woodside
I don't know, maybe it's just me, but I found some of the choices the characters made unrealistic.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Sherrie Martin on July 17, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book centered on the womenfolk of 1952 Limoges, Louisiana, will charm the tar out of you while making you think. There is the doomed Olive Nepper, daughter of Henry and Vangie, ignobly impregnated by the ersatz Baptist preacher. And there is the blowsy DeeDee Robichaux, grasping wife of the paralyzed Renny and mother of the utterly charming and guileless Billie. We meet Edith Galliard, Vangie Nepper's widowed sister-in-law who is a transplanted New York artist, and their busybody neighbor Harriet. Little Fannie epitomizes innocence and will break your heart. Sophie Donnell works as a maid for many of the white ladies in town, most of whom love and respect her and pray nightly for the death or maiming of her brutish husband, Burr.
When Vangie learns of Henry's sordid affair with DeeDee Robichaux, she moves out to the cotton plantation she inherited but which Henry never allowed her to spend a penny of her inherited money on. It is a joy to watch Vangie reborn at the age of 40, taking a stand for the first time in her life, learning to drive, modernizing her appearance, siccing her dog on Henry, and doing what has to be done all by herself. This book portrays a microcosm of small-town life with all its banality, sense of community, pettiness, goodness, gossip, and cohesiveness. It is as well a tender commentary on new love, old loves, and illicit love. There is plenty of poetic justice to go around as each woman flies her own unique coop.
The evolutions of Vangie and Sophie were in my opinion the most powerful. Each of the pivotal characters reaches deep within herself in time of crisis to find her strength and courage.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Roz Levine on May 4, 2000
Format: Paperback
Michael Lee West has written a wonderfully insightful book about life in sleepy Limoges, Louisiana. The story takes place in 1952 and opens with the attempted suicide of a pregnant local teenager. It then moves forward from the viewpoint of eight very colorful citizens and you learn all about Limoges town life, secrets and idiosyncrasies. Each narrator's story line moves the plot forward from a different direction and then Ms West ties it all together, very satisfyingly, at the end. The writing is terrific, witty and irreverent. The scenes and settings, vivid. And both really capture the tone of the deep south. And as an added For what would the south be without great cooking. All in all a terrific book, chock full of emotions, to read more than once and share with others.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Dianna Setterfield on August 9, 1999
Format: Paperback
This is only the second book I have read by Ms. West (first being American Pie) and I was totally enthralled. It took me a few chapters to get the ball rolling, but after that I couldn't stop reading. I loved every single second I spent in Limoges, Louisiana with Vangie, Henry, DeeDee, Harriet and the others. Some of the storylines were quite sensitive (i.e. Reverend Kirby) but I really didn't mind, it only made the book seem more real. I have her other two books, Crazy Ladies and Consuming Passions, and I can't wait to start on them. Thanks and kudos to Michael Lee West!
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 24, 1998
Format: Paperback
I am a southern woman who now lives in the Pacific Northwest, and reading this book was like a visit back to my hometown (Hattiesburg, Mississippi). I fell in love with this book and I want to recommend it to anyone who enjoys gorgeous, entertaining fiction. It is very much a companion book to Rebecca Wells' fabulous novel, DIVINE SECRETS OF THE YA-YA SISTERHOOD, and also to the works of Ellen Gilchrist (THE AGE OF MIRACLES, LIGHT CAN BE BOTH WAVE AND PARTICLE, etc). The writing of these authors is different and the plots and characters are unique; however they are mind altering if read back-to-back. These authors write books that are both delicious and different, yet of a similar genre.

All of these novels are set in the Deep South, have a bevy of outrageous, hilarious heroines, lush, vivid settings, and humor that will make you laugh outloud.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Deborah Di Gioia on October 19, 2002
Format: Paperback
She Flew the Coop is the first book I have read written by Michael Lee West and I enjoyed it so much that I'm planning on reading American Pie. The story was able to captivate me even though I really didn't like most of the characters in this book. My favorite character was a little girl named Billie, who had a terrible domestic life but seemed to overcome this obstacle and represented hope for the citizens of this town.
Limoges Louisiana is a town where gossip rules and the wholesome life is anything but wholesome. Adultery, wife beating and even the town's minister is raping young girls are some of the problems this town faces but its the gossip that I consider its doom. There is one part where the author compares gossip to a disease spreading that I thought was brilliant.
This book was captivating and I enjoyed reading this one even though I couldn't like more than two or three character, but the story is what we will keep you interested. The recipes sounded good and I loved the way the author inserted them into the book as if they were part of the story. I would recommend reading She Flew The Coop.
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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.

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