Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Big Stone Gap - Adriana Trigiani

Summary:  Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, the tiny town of Big Stone Gap is home to some of the most charming eccentrics in the state.  Ave Maria Mulligan is the town's self-proclaimed spinster, a thirty-five-year-old pharmacists with a "mountain girl's body and a flat behind."  She lives an amiable life with good friends and lots of hobbies until the fateful day in 1978 when she suddenly discovers that she's not who she always thought she was.  Before she can blink, Ave's fielding marriage proposals, fighting off greedy family members, organizing a celebration for visiting celebrities and planning the trip of a lifetime -- a trip that could change her view of the world and her own place in it forever.  (Summary from book - Image from

My Review:  In the backwoods town of Big Stone Gap, where everything is everyone’s business, thirty-five year old pharmacist Ave Maria Mulligan is the Unthinkable.  Single.  When her mother dies and Ave discovers a scandalous family secret,  she is sent reeling into a world of emotion that she isn’t quite ready to handle.  Throw in a few unexpected marriage proposals and you have the makings of a terrific mental breakdown.  When Ave comes back to her senses, she knows it’s time to take control of her life and do the one thing she has wanted and feared the most; it’s time to leave Big Stone Gap.

I wish I could give you an in depth review of this book, but I decided to read this one without making very many notes and as a result I can only give you my vague impressions.  Note to self.  Take more notes.

Big Stone Gap is an exceptionally character driven novel.  Ave Maria’s circle of friends, family, and acquaintances about town feel both authentic and entirely off the wall.  I loved all the supporting characters and the little details the author used made them shine, but occasionally I wanted to smack Ave around a bit.  She was frustratingly dense when it came to understanding the emotions, needs, and motivations of herself and others.  It’s almost like she was a guy.  I say it with love, people.  I say it with love.

In all of this, there was a delightful romance simmering between Ave and I AM NOT GOING TO TELL YOU SO HAH!  I think it's cute that you thought I was going to tell you.  I will say that I was perfectly happy with the book’s ending.

Despite the fascinating characters and small town charisma, once I finished Big Stone Gap I didn’t feel the overwhelming need to keep it for my personal collection or hand it out to all of my friends. It was a good, one-time read.  I enjoyed it, but after I finish this review I’ll move on to another book and likely never give Big Stone Gap or its inhabitants a second thought.  Here I go.  This is me.  Moving on.

My Rating: 3.75 Stars

For the sensitive reader:  Some sexual references and/or dialogue and a few instances of profanity (only one F-bomb…I think).

Sum it up:    Good while it lasted.  An interesting characterization of small town dynamics.

1 comment:

Editt said...

This sounds like the book for me right now. No commitment necessary. The book has been requested and is waiting for me at the library.


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