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Beach Town: A Novel Paperback – May 3, 2016
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Also, I was grossed out in her description of the "heart throb" rapper turned actor's severe acne, yet he was relentlessly pursued by a throng of young girls. Oh, and of course, he can't act and just wants to party. I was totally put off by the weird character names, like Lise, Eb Thibideaux, Greer (for a woman), Kregg, and Dearie for the protagonist's grandmother. I've heard of grammies calling people "dearie", but never as their name. Also, it's bizarre that she calls her mother by her first name most of the book. Why? She wasn't estranged from her. She loved and lost her. I can understand her calling her father Clint, though. But, even that's rushed at the end after the way, way over description of macular degeneration. Did we need to know all that? No. It was unpleasant.
Lastly, there's absolutely no chemistry between the 2 main characters, and in fact, their lives wouldn't mesh at all in real life. Did the backwards town, with all it's closed up shops grow on Ms. L.A.? Yeah, no. The ending is so rushed to wrap it up that it feels forced. But it's only fair because I had to force myself to finish this really terrible book. 434 pages of don't bother.
It's been some years now since I read my first book by Mary Kay Andrews. I honestly can't recall if it was Hissy Fit or one of her other books that I first read. What I do remember was being absolutely captivated and mesmerized by how perfectly she was able to capture the true heart and spirit of the south.
Hollywood has long had such skewed preconceived notions of how us southern ladies are, and so to find an author who had truly captured the heart of the south and the spirit of the southern woman was so refreshing. She nailed it with Hissy Fit and her portrayal of a southern woman scorned.
The last few books have been a little different feeling than the earlier books I had fell in love with, yet they still managed to feel "southern". Beach Town to me seemed to lack the trademark Mary Kay Andrews "Southern, Sassy woman".
In Beach Town, we are taken to a remote old school southern beach town called Cypress Bay. Greer Hennesy, a Hollywood location scout, has been tasked with the impossible, finding an uncommercialized beach that has the feel of a remote and almost forgotten beach town. However, Cypress Bay is just the right location, it has all the qualities that the director is looking for.
Most of the locals are more than thrilled to discover that Hollywood is descending on their little town. However, the mayor and "Jack of all trades", Eb Thibadeaux is less than impressed by the bright lights and the big name stars. The mayor is more concerned with how this whole movie situation can have a negative impact on their small community.
When the director and writer of "Beach Town" has inspiration strike and sets his heart on having an explosive ending, the tensions between the Mayor and Greer only escalate. Seems the crew and Greer have their sites set on a local historic landmark "casino" and they have plans to not only fix it up to feature it in their movie, they also have the casino in mind for their "explosive" ending.
With a cast of characters that are more Hollywood than "Southern charm", this book feels different than Mary Kay Andrews trademark style. Don't get me wrong this was a good book, but the storyline didn't pull me in and grab my attention. Generally when reading a Mary Kay Andrews book, it takes me two nights TOPS to finish. However, this one it took at least a week to finish.
I just didn't find myself really connecting with these characters, I didn't feel any emotional connection to what happened to them. I wasn't rooting for any of the characters. It just lacked anything that made me feel immersed in the story.
The last chapter or two, I finally felt invested in the story and it got exciting a bit. However Beach Town is a long long way from the quirky and lovable imperfect southern characters in Hissy Fit and Savannah Blues and other of Mary Kay Andrews books.
I hope that this is a "one-off" and that Mary Kay Andrews goes back to the types of characters that we have come to expect to find in her books. For me Beach Town just totally missed the mark and didn't even feel anything like a Mary Kay Andrews book. I literally felt as if I could have been reading any ol' book by any ol' author. It just was severly lacking in character and heart.
It literally pains me to have to say anything less than glowing things about Mary Kay Andrews. Afterall, there's no way that I could do anything near as good as Beach Town, but as an avid reader and lover of Ms. Andrews work, I just have to give my honest opinion.