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Plant Life by [Duncan, Pamela]
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Plant Life Kindle Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Length: 352 pages Word Wise: Enabled

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Plant Life is an American classic. Like Our Town or Winesburg, Ohio, it presents a compelling and moving portrait of an entire community. In this case, it is the life of a cotton mill, and three generations of women who work there—whose whole lives have been determined by the mill.  Stark, poetic, funny, gritty, and intense, their stories will move you to tears and make you laugh at the same time. Never have the lives of Southern working women been so well documented, their stories so truly told. Plant Life is a mature work of a great compassion and insight.”
—Lee Smith, bestselling author of Fair and Tender Ladies and The Last Girls

"Plant Life is sometimes hilarious, sometimes heartbreaking, but always real. Pamela Duncan doesn't just write a great novel—she pours her heart out onto the page, giving a piece of herself to the reader. Here she is exploring the terroritory she knows best: families and friendships and the friends who feel like family. She tells these people's stories with honor and grace but never a hint of sentimentality. This book is full of the hard-earned wisdom of working people, people who dream and love as hard as they work. Plant Life is a beautiful book from a writer who gets to the soul of the matter."        
—Silas House, author of Clay's Quilt and A Parchment of Leaves   


From the Hardcover edition.

From the Inside Flap

Her luminous first novel, Moon Women, won the hearts of both readers and critics, who called it "richly textured...a pleasure to be savored by a writer to watch." ("Kirkus Reviews) Now Pamela Duncan returns to the rich landscape of the human heart with a lush, resonant novel about mothers and daughters, about family and friendship, about a woman at a turning point in her life and the extraordinary world she discovers in a place called home...
Plant Life
It's Christmastime in Russell, North Carolina. For Laurel Granger, the holiday can't pass quickly enough. With her fifteen-year marriage ending, the visit to her hometown is bound to be even more painful than usual. And the worst part will be looking at the lives of her mother, Pansy, and Pansy's gossipy group of friends, for whom life revolves around the plant, the aging textile mill where for decades they have found companionship, a modest livelihood, and a purpose.
But with her own marriage disintegrating--the full scope of the disaster hasn't become clear to her yet--Laurel has nowhere else to turn except Russell, and to the women of the plant. And soon what Laurel begins to see is not the stifling town she couldn't wait to leave, nor women whose lives seem petty and plain, but a place where powerful secrets have been kept...where hearts and lives have been broken...and where a group of extraordinary women may have a thing or two to teach her about life. Most of all, as Laurel starts to live and even love a little again, she is faced with her mother, and her mother before her, and what their complex relationship has meant for Laurel all these years.
Weaving together the voices of several remarkable women acrossgenerations, Pamela Duncan tells a story of faith and forgiveness, acts of love and acts of betrayal. With the same artful brushstrokes that made Moon Women a wonder, Duncan paints a masterful portrait of seemingly ordinary lives, and of what it means to grow a life and a future--in the rich soil of the past.

"From the Hardcover edition.


Product Details

  • File Size: 583 KB
  • Print Length: 352 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0440236517
  • Publisher: Delacorte Press (April 1, 2003)
  • Publication Date: April 1, 2003
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000FBFNG0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,160,646 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Bravo!! This is an extraordinary book. I loved Moon Women so much,that I couldn't wait to read Plant Life. I was not disappointed. This book is full of amazing images and characters that once again demonstrate Duncan's unique understanding of the beauty and strength of rural women, who despites some bad life choices, discover their true purposes and strengths.
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Format: Hardcover
This book was so good it inspired me to write my first review. It is an exceptionally well-written perspective of small town southern life. The author develops interesting characters that make you feel as if you are living life through their eyes. She bring you to tears with sadness then buoys you up again with humour and the absurdity found even in bad times. If you are looking for an easy-to-read book that will engross you from the first few pages then you have found it with Plant Life.
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By A Customer on May 25, 2004
Format: Hardcover
While the novel started out pretty formulaic (and to some degree continued that way throughout the book, but hey--some people like their books that way) I liked the fact that it focused on and told the stories of working class southern women. These type stories are really just starting to be published in any sort of critical mass. While she doesn't pack the punch of a Dorothy Allison, Pamela Duncan does spend the time to flesh out the characters and focus on the issues that affect their lives. Anyone who's spent any time on that rung of the socioeconomic ladder will recognize the personality politics, the paycheck to paycheck existence, and complete lack of security or knowledge of what the future will hold.
That being said, did anyone else wonder what the point was to have Hap Luckadoo as a character?! Overall the book is a good foray into southern chick-lit and it's an easy read.You can put it down for a day or two and when you pick it up again you don't have any problems picking right up where you left off.
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By A Customer on May 26, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I loved this book. I became connected to the characters so much that I missed them once the book was finished. I felt as if I had been to this little town and wanted to stay there awhile longer. I'm off to order Duncan's first novel, MOON WOMEN, which I hear is just as good.
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Format: Hardcover
A GREAT BOOK ABOUT WOMEN FROM THE SOUTH. WHAT MOST IMPRESSED ME WAS THE DIALECT BETWEEN THESE WOMEN, I FELT THAT I WAS THERE, LISTENING, AND WATCHING, AND SHARING THEIR LIVES. IF YOU LIKED MOON WOMEN, YOU'LL LOVE THIS SECOND NOVEL FROM A MOST TALENTED WRITER. WHEN I TURNED THE LAST PAGE, I FELT THAT I WASN'T READY TO "GIVE UP" MY FRIENDSHIP WITH THIS WONDERFUL GROUP. I JUST HOPE MS. DUNCAN IS HARD AT WORK ON HER THIRD NOVEL. I FOR ONE CAN'T WAIT.
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Format: Hardcover
Laurel is far from the stereotypical character in women's lit that looks to take revenge out on mankind for screwing her over or dumping her. However, her indecisiveness and tentative reactions made her less than fully likeable for me. I did appreciate her strength in handling rejection by suitor Joe and found her outburst with her ex-husband's new wife Deedee in the store to be quite realistic (I felt embarrassed for her). Those moments of embarrassment made her seem like a true woman: imperfect.
I found Duncan's secondary character asides to be mostly dull and lacking any information necessary to supplement a vigorous plot. Though well-intentioned, these reminiscences spun the older generation of woman characters do little to help the reader get into the heads of them. The secondary characters, particularly Maxann, were conceived well enough to not need the additional background provided in the memory asides.
Duncan's gentle capture of local dialect proves that her ear is well-honed to the sounds around her. I could hear Maxann drawling, Idalene chastising, and Pansy speaking as if they were in the room with me.
I enjoyed the small details that Duncan obviously planned long and hard. The Lurch-like attendant in the rest home that thinks he still works in a funeral parlor and becomes frightened each time a patient moves is so creative as to have to be a real event in Duncan's life.
Although it seems that Duncan avoided anything too "dirty" or controversial (i.e. sex) to the point of being painfully obvious, it was nice to read a book where I couldn't predict that ending (for instance: the reaction of one character who gets shot in the stomach by her drunken husband). There were a few "broken links" in the story that while made me think "You go girl!
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