Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Goddess of Fried Okra

Wow! I thought to myself when I read the title. Someone wrote a book about my Grandma? Or one of my aunts, Lucille or Leo? Of course I knew they hadn't, but the title immediately made my mouth water for one of our long-table-down-the-dogtrot-hallway family dinners. My family had several Goddess of Fried Okra-s, so I was intrigued to find out what someone else thought the title should fit. Obviously I had to purchase the book, even though the description sounded like one of those "finding herself" books that I usually find somewhat drawn-out and boring and to be avoided at all costs unles I'm having to look for a reason to sniffle into my tissues.  If the word "poignant" is used in a description, I usually just move along. Glad I didn't this time! Thanks to author Jean Brashear for creating such an enjoyable journey. I have likened it to Eudora Welty's writing (one of the best compliments I can give).

Although this wasn't something I should have liked at any point, considering that I was in the middle of a fluff-paranormal extravaganza of reading it was even less likely something that was going to entrap me. But, I absolutely couldn't put it down. I tried. I tried to sleep. And couldn't. So I read just one more page. And then one more after that. And I finished it in one reading (who needs to sleep when one has no work schedule?)

I have read a lot of reviews of this book, and strangely, the people who purchased it because of its description were disappointed. The ones that purchased it despite the description were blown away. Number reviews were all over the board from a 1 to a 5. I gave it 4 stars. (To be a little brutal here, if the author hadn't seemed to want to impress readers with her own literary knowledge, I might have gone to a five star rating. I tended to skim over parts such as the indepth reasoning behind naming a kitten after an Egyptian goddess.)

All in all, this was a charming read. I will probably re-read it someday...something I rarely say any more because of the avalanche of indie books available for the Kindle. If I made a deal with God that I could live until I finished the last book currently on my Amazon Cloud, I'd be able to watch my great-great-every-so-many-great nieces and nephews graduate and start families!

From the Amazon page:

Grief. Hope. Love. Sword fights. And the crisp glory of fried okra. Ex-cocktail waitress and "convenience store professional" Eudora "Pea" O'Brien is filled with grief and regret, low on cash and all alone. Headed down the hot, dusty back roads of central Texas, Pea is convinced she'll find a sign leading her to the reincarnated soul of the sister who raised her. A sign that she's found her place in the world of the living again. At least that's what the psychic promised. In an unforgettably funny and poignant journey, Pea collects an unlikely family of strays-a starving kitten, a pregnant teenager, a sexy con man trying to go straight, and a ferocious gun dealer named Glory, who introduces Pea to the amazing, sword-wielding warrior goddesses of Texas author Robert E. Howard-creator of the Conan the Barbarian novels-and celebrated in festival every year. Six foot tall, red-headed Pea looks good with a sword in her hand. Glory, the goddesses, and a grandmotherly café owner become Pea's unlikely gurus as she struggles to learn swordplay and the art of perfect fried okra. She'll have to master both if she's going to find what matters most-her own lost soul.

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