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Sugarland [Kindle Edition]

Joni Rodgers
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)

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Book Description

As children, Kit and Kiki Smithers performed as the Sugar Babes of Sugarland, Texas, singing at county fairs, talent shows, and any shady gig their talent agent mother, Vivica, was able to book. Now those glory days are long gone, and the sisters cope with all the usual challenges and frustrations of young mommies.

Kit is comfortably married to Mel, a gentle, salt-of-the-earth mechanic, and has begun to explore her knack for trompe l’oeil and tole painting. Kiki longs to return to the stage, daydreaming of escape from her abusive husband Wayne. She finds the strength to leave Wayne at least once a year, but has yet to stay left. Now she’s pregnant for a third time and determined to start over before the baby is born.

As Kiki's life collapses and Kit's life is suddenly shattered, the sisters recall an old story Vivica told them when they were little girls: a story about sisters and monsters, mothers, goddesses, and a series of seemingly impossible tasks whereby a girl, betrayed and broken, finds her way out of the underworld into the light.

This PMA Benjamin Franklin Award finalist by bestselling author Joni Rodgers, is a modern retelling of the Psyche and Eros myth, a verdant novel about resilience, forgiveness, the struggles of sisterhood and the seemingly impossible task of loving.

Praise for SUGARLAND:
“Every character in this novel resonates with life. This talented author knows how to bring pen-and-ink people to flesh and blood fulfillment…poignantly authentic.” Southern Living

“Alternately wrenching and humorous…Rodgers’ strength is her knack for realistic characters who show their faults unselfconsciously, and a womanly wise, laugh-through-tears appreciation of life.” Publisher’s Weekly

“Richly appealing…” Library Journal

“Bittersweet…priceless…” Chicago Tribune

“Pure charm…compelling…full of humor and compassion. Sugarland is a delight to read, and Rodgers is a terrific discovery.” Tampa Tribune-Times


Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The girl-power quotient runs high in Rodgers's alternately wrenching and humorous follow-up to her debut, Crazy for Trying, a finalist for the 1996 Barnes & Noble Discover Award. The daughters of a show biz-minded mother, Kit and Kiki Smithers spent their Texas youth entertaining at county fairs and state penitentiaries under the name of the Sugar Babes. Having loved the glamour of glitzy costumes and cheering audiences, Kit and Kiki find adult domesticity in honky-tonk Texas less than satisfying. Pregnant with her third child, Kiki is reluctant to leave her abusive, philandering husband, and all the verbal foreplay Kit's gone-to-fat husband can muster is "Mmm. You smell good. Like pancakes." Kiki's brief return to her performing artist roots is curtailed by the tornado that threatens her children's lives and seals the fate of her troubled marriage. Meanwhile, Kit has two quickie flings, resulting in a pregnancy of questionable paternity. Readers with true equality of the sexes on their minds may object that Kiki's husband's cheating is treated as an actionable offense while Kit's marital excursions are permitted the luxury of mitigating circumstances. Rodgers's strength, however, is her knack for realistic characters who show their faults un-self-consciously. The country-western twang of her prose salts the heartache she's not afraid to show with a womanly, wise, laugh-through-the-tears appreciation of life. (May) FYI: Rodgers grew up as a performer in a family of bluegrass/gospel musicians and was the first deejay in Helena, Mont.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

As little girls, Kit and Kiki Smithers of Sugar Land, TX, could belt out songs that made audiences love them. As adults, they are finding love harder to handle, as Kiki deals with her philandering, physically abusive husband, Wayne, and Kit feels the love seep out of her marriage to Mel, a good man who is just letting himselfAand their relationshipAgo. When both sisters become pregnant for the third time, suffering ensues: cataclysmic loss for Kiki and overwhelming guilt for Kit, unsure of her unborn child's paternity after a virtual assault by Wayne and a spontaneous tumble with her boss. Their show-biz-agent mother, Viveca, nurtures and nudges the sisters as she herself battles cancer. In snappy prose, Rodgers (Crazy for Trying, LJ 10/15/96) creates fully dimensional characters in a story with elements of love, loss, humor, passion, joy, feminism, and even mothers-in-law. As richly appealing as the best country music, this is for all fiction collections.AMichele Leber, Fairfax Cty. P.L., VA
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 490 KB
  • Print Length: 346 pages
  • Publisher: Stella Link (December 10, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0058ZX7PM
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #466,748 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An exhilirating book by a masterful writer. May 28, 2002
Format:Paperback
Funny, Poignant, Sexy, Exciting, Compassionate, Smart, Scary, Earthy, Heartbreaking, Courageous, Lyrical -- just like life. During a storm scene, I actually put the book down to go turn off my computer to protect it from lightning, only to realize it was a beautiful spring day in the real world -- that's how compelling the writing is. I read this novel because I liked the author's autobiographical "Bald in the Land of Big Hair" so much and wanted to check out her fiction. I am extremely impressed and look forward to reading her "Crazy for Trying" next.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great book by a wonderfully talented author. June 17, 1999
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
A beautifully written book by an author who has a way of truly giving her characters life and substance. I found myself holding my breath with Kit, crying with Kiki and pounding my fist in the air when justice was served to Wayne. A book with pain and triumph, love and laughter, survival and true emotion. Reading this book was a great way to spend my time.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Book February 1, 2012
By Ruth W
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I purchased this book Feb 1, 2012. It is now 230am Feb 2, 2012 and I'm already done with the book! That should speak to how I literally could not put the book down (except when I had to for eating, school and work) From the beginning, the unusual style and lyrical quality of the story within the story drew me in and garnered my attention. The depth of the characters and the issues were also remarkable. I must say, one of the reasons I loved this book so much was because the characters actually felt real - at points, I could imagine my own sister, friend, mother behaving, thinking, feeling these very things. At other points, I was annoyed, shocked, upset at the characters for one reason or the other. The point is that I truly felt like the characters were very human, in the sense that they tackled the universal issues of women - marriage, motherhood, what it means to be a daughter, lover, mother, sister, feeling torn between obligations or responsibilities or desires to oneself versus others. At the same time, the characters were not cookie cutter images, they had conflicting and contradictory aspects of their personalities (like we all do) and their own special quirks and unique qualities (which is what truly make us human, isnt it). I saw the characters struggle with growth versus retaining what they felt to be their essential identities, and felt that I could understand, empathize and respect their struggles, even if I didn't always like their attitudes/thoughts/actions, and to me, that is the essence of a great book. Being able to see and feel the characters come alive and at the end of it, wish they were still somehow going on. I will definitely be re-reading this book and recommending it highly!!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reviewers agree: Sugar Land a winner! June 9, 1999
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Reviewers throughout the country agree: Sugar Land is a winner! According to Publishers Weekly, "The girl-power quotient runs high in Rodgers' alternately wrenching and humorous follow-up to her debut, Crazy for Trying. . . Rodgers' strength however, is her knack for realistic characters who show their faults unselfconsciously. . . .The country-western twang of her prose salts the heartache she's not afraid to show with a womanly, wise, laugh-through-the-tears appreciation of life." Library Journal adds, "In snappy prose, Rodgers creates fully dimensional characters in a story with elements of love, loss, humor, passion, joy, feminism, and even mothers-in-law." And Booklist declares, "Sweet, sad, often funny, Sugar Land has all the elements of a classic country song, saliently including the courage of everyday people in tough situations." And finally, Southern Living sums it all up by stating, "Every character in this novel resonates with life. This talented author knows how to bring paper-and-ink people to flesh-and-blood fulfillment through description, dialogue, and drama so rich and varied it reads just like real life." There you have it! This book is a great read, perfect for those who love epic novels about larger-than-life women who make you laugh and cry at the same time as you read about their their triumphs as well as their defeats as they deal with this crazy experience we call life.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Funny, fearless and wise August 15, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Joni Rodgers writes fearlessly - and beautifully. I couldn't put down this novel about two sisters in Texas, discovering the difference between what they want and what's expected of them. And I marveled throughout at the humor and depth of the prose, whether Rodgers was writing about disappointment, longing, love, sex, Scandinavian kitsch, or all of them at once in the same indelible scene. A must-read!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read this book as soon as you can!!!!!!!! September 29, 2002
Format:Paperback
So compelling was this novel that I couldn't put it down and couldn't pay more than superficial attention to anything or anyone else while I was reading it! The other reviewers here have said enough about the plot and characters that there's nothing I need to add to entice other readers on that account, but I would like to add that the writing is so strong, so brilliant!, that had the characters and their stories, their loves, their troubles, their triumphs, not enthralled me, the sheer beauty of the prose would have. I will be buying copies of this as gifts for those to whom I usually pass on my books because I don't want to let go of this one. I can't wait to read her other books and I'd love to see this one become a best seller. The author doesn't preach, but she sure does teach--about power and love and independence and forgiveness and bonds between people and respect.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars An Earnest and Heartwarming Novel
This modern retelling of the Psyche and Eros myth, is also a realistic look at the life of two sisters. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Cornelia Amiri and Maeve Alpin
4.0 out of 5 stars Will captivate you
Grab this book, and sit down for a slice of life. You will find a bit of everything in this book, just as we find in life. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Cici
5.0 out of 5 stars Addictive
I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I bought it on a whim thinking I'd enjoy the music background and expecting a beach read fluff novel, and then discovered that the... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Joanne Merriam
3.0 out of 5 stars Feminists should love this
If you are a die hard feminist, you are probably going to like this book. There are a lot of references to being a strong woman and not needing a man, least of all a bad one. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Gillian's Mommy
5.0 out of 5 stars A delight
i've no explanation for why i loved this book so. funny, pathetic, lurid, engaging. it's all there from the double-wide to the baby-daddy dilemma to the wife-beater and the Swedish... Read more
Published 17 months ago by LJ
3.0 out of 5 stars human felt book
Since I live in TX it struck a chord. Although to my knowledge Sugarland is an upscale area, no trailerhomes or mechanics. But other than that the lifestyle felt pretty authentic.
Published on July 18, 2012 by Irene Kranenburg
4.0 out of 5 stars Sugarland
Joni Rodgers Sugarland captivated my interest and kept me entertained and engrossed to the end because of the plot and writers technique.
Published on July 17, 2012 by Mary T. Mills
4.0 out of 5 stars Funny, Sad and all those in between
Kit and Kiki are so believable! This book runs the gamut from laughter to crying - I did both. This was a wonderful read with many twists and a great ending.
Published on June 21, 2012 by cc
5.0 out of 5 stars Pulled an all nighter!
I bought this book because it was on the free list. Figured that you can't go wrong with free. Glad I made that choice! Read more
Published on June 19, 2012 by mama-t
5.0 out of 5 stars Well-written and quite interesting
I had read all the reviews, and respectfully disagree with the person who found it so "soap opera-like. Read more
Published on May 29, 2012 by Dina G.
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More About the Author

New York Times bestselling author Joni Rodgers was born into a family of gospel/bluegrass performers and grew up on stage, opening for huge-haired country music legends of the 60s and 70s. She continued performing until 1994, when she was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. She used the chemo downtime to complete her first two novels and went on to author, coauthor and ghostwrite more than a dozen bestselling books, both fiction and nonfiction.

Married to jet plane mechanic/wine maker Gary Rodgers since 1983, Joni is the proud mother of two fine young adults. She lives in Houston, Texas and is represented by William Morris Endeavor, New York.

"Joni Rodgers lives, loves and writes without a safety net." ~ Entertainment Weekly

"Rodgers' strength is a womanly wise, laugh-through-tears appreciation of life." ~ Publishers Weekly

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