In which I make the medicine go down

I made the mistake of asking about the book a coworker was reading, just to be sociable, and ended up borrowing it despite many protests. It's a novel called Big Stone Gap, by Adriana Trigiani, and don't you get all up in my fries about how you love this series, and I just have to give it a chance or whatever. I intend to finish it out of politeness, but no one can force me to like it. I just have to enjoy it on my own terms. My spoonful of sugar, or "snow-white sugar," as it's called in the book (as opposed to ecru sugar). Anyway, the previous was not a full sentence, which fact I point out just to illustrate that I am qualified to critique the writings of others.

New paragraph. My spoonful of sugar is to pick something to enumerate, chapter-by-chapter. Throughout Chapter One, I have enumerated product placements, which are as follows:

  • Coty's Emeraude

  • Sanka ("rich, black Sanka," mmm, mmm, mmm, like she's fooling anyone)

  • Sarah Coventry

  • Styrofoam (although that could probably get a pass)

  • Pappagallo shoes, which we are supposed to believe are worn by the sexpot hoochie mama driver of the Bookmobile in Big Stone Gap, Virginia

  • Piggly Wiggly

  • Levi's

  • I almost added The Gap, until I realized she was referring to the name of the town, so I had to refrain.

So, you see it is no The Devil Wears Prada, but there was still enough to keep me occupied.

I also am keeping a list of my favorite similes, and so far from Chapter One I am torn between:

"...he just looked through me, the way you would look through the thick glass of a jelly jar to see if there's any jelly left."


"They lost their truck, though. On impact, it fell off of them like pants."

I'm partial to the first at the moment for its apparent contradiction. In context, the author seems to be implying a certain careful scrutiny on the part of the beholder, but it seems to me that regardless how thick the glass of a jelly jar, one can instantly discern whether or not jelly remains within it.

The second is more puzzling, and comes after a description of a truck that goes over a cliff and leaves the inhabitants hanging "like laundry" in the trees. Maybe the falling-off-like-pants is an extension of the laundry image, but it seems awkward and hence makes my list. My list, my great list, my futile and irritated list I keep instead of working on my own writing.

So, if any of you has absolutely relished this Gap series of books, please feel free to write me to register your disdain for my own writing style and/or choice of fonts and/or hairdo. Remember to include the phrase "What have you ever written????" because, really: I need all the encouragement I can get.

Star of the day. . .Peter Ivers
posted @ 2:16 p.m. on November 18, 2008 before | after


She lay awake all night,