Big Stone Gap by Adriana Trigiani
2000 Random House
Read in September 2000
Rating: 3/5 (Good)
It's 1978, and Ave Maria Mulligan is the thirty-five-year-old self-proclaimed spinster of Big Stone Gap, a sleepy hamlet in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. She's also the local pharmacist, the co-captain of the Rescue Squad, and the director of The Trail of the Lonesome Pine, the town's long-running Outdoor Drama.
Ave Maria is content with her life of doing errands and negotiating small details--until she discovers a skeleton in her family's formerly tidy closet that completely unravels her quiet, conventional life. Suddenly, she finds herself juggling two marriage proposals, conducting a no-holds-barred family feud, planning a life-changing journey to the Old Country, and helping her best friend, the high-school band director, design a halftime show to dazzle Elizabeth Taylor, the violet-eyed Hollywood movie star who's coming through town on a campaign stump with her husband, senatorial candidate John Warner.
Filled with big-time eccentrics and small-town shenanigans, Big Stone Gap is a jewel box of original characters, including sexpot Bookmobile librarian Iva Lou Wade; Fleeta Mullins, the chain-smoking pharmacy cashier with a penchant for professional wrestling; the dashing visionary Theodore Tipton; Elmo Gaspar, the snake-handling preacher; Jack MacChesney, a coal-mining bachelor looking for true love; and Pearl Grimes, a shy mountain girl on the verge of a miraculous transformation.
Comic and compassionate, Big Stone Gap is is the story of a woman who thinks life has passed her by, only to learn that the best is yet to come.
My Original Thoughts (2000):
Pretty good. I had a tough time getting interested, but after a few chapters I was hooked. Lots of characters to keep track of. Some beautiful passages.
My Current Thoughts:
I vaguely remember this book and know I went on to read one or two of the sequels, but I no longer own a copy and I doubt I'd read it again. I wish I had written down some of those beautiful passages that I mentioned in my original notes.