photo by Sheri Dixon

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Bargain Book Discovery- Tied to the Tracks

Tied to the Tracks by Rosina Lippi

is a really fun read that just happens to combine two of my favorite elements-

tales of the South, since I'm a happily adopted Southerner and fully appreciate and enjoy the Southern Belle way of making the best of horrible situations along with encouraging the menfolk to think they are in charge of...anything,

and tales of the interplay within Italian families both blood-bound and extended, and the strong women who tend to dominate that social circle as well, albeit with less finesse and subterfuge.

The book takes place in New Jersey. And Georgia. And though the main story line has to do with the filming of a documentary, the chapters weave in and out of the differences between the South before the Civil Rights movement and the South of today (not much changed in some ways), the differences between the cultures of the North and the South (not much different in some ways), and the differences between homo and heterosexual relationships (pretty much exactly the same, actually).

The characters, every one of them, are likable and amazingly non-stereotyped considering how very easily that could have happened given their backgrounds and circumstances.

The only times the book bogged down were a few very gratuitous sex scenes- they just seemed forced and disjointed (puns not intended) in relation to the narrative before and after them- almost like an editor had said, "You need to spice this part up a little bit Here...and Here".

Writing sex scenes is tough. Sex in real life is generally not the stuff of either porn nor Harlequin Romances, but an act of comfort, love, bonding and even (if done right) humor.

It's almost embarrassing for me to be cruising along through a book happily and then BANG! yer right inside not only their bedroom, but yea verily inside their undergarments...

I understand it's a grownup book, with a grownup story, and grownups have sex.

Grownups go to the bathroom, too, but I don't need to have the details shared with me during the telling of the story. I can assume all on my own that sometime in that 300-400 pages they WILL be peeing. I don't need a descriptive account of it.

Enough of that.

Tied to the Tracks is a well-written and enjoyable summertime diversion that takes place over a 4th of July Jubilee Week in small-town Georgia- a week that includes tons of Southern Comfort foods, the traditions of generations, and a parade through the live-oak lined streets. That there are things even the townspeople don't know about each other- things they'd never DREAM of, no matter how many juleps they consumed, just makes it all the more funny...and heartbreaking.

Who could ask for more from a summertime book?

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