I got this book at the Library Used Book Sale last fall, and just hadn't gotten to it, although I don't know why. This is a case of judging a book by its cover; I pulled it off the shelf because the title was intriguing, and took it without reading the dust jacket because I liked the picture on the cover. Seriously, who wouldn't want a porch like that with the cute little doggy sitting there? Not that I recall this porch being in the story, but still.
THE FLORABAMA LADIES' AUXILIARY & SEWING CIRCLE
by Lois Battle
Bonnie Duke Cullman's husband just lost $300,000 in bad investments, driving them into bankruptcy, and then left her for a younger woman. She's on her way to Florabama, Alabama from Atlanta, where she will be starting a job at a small local college, helping the newly unemployed start college courses.
The Cherished Lady, a lingerie plant in Florabama, has just closed, leaving young, middle aged and old women, married, divorced and widowed, all looking for something to do. The very unpleasant office assistant in Bonnie's new office, Mrs. Snopes, AKA Snoopy, decided to set up meetings for her starting the minute she walks into her office for the first day of work. There's no great drama in this book; it's the story of many different women trying to start their lives over, and how they accomplish that. It's the story of Bonnie coming up with an idea to help tide these women over while they restart (or, in some cases, start) their educations. It's how some cope, and others flee. It really is the story of life.
This book tied in neatly with my son's talk at the NYSE last week, on the effects of the closing of a major employer in a small economic market. But there's more to it than just the evil company taking advantage of their workers. As someone said in the book, if the ladies in Florabama cost $8 per hour to make the fancy unmentionables, and workers in Mexico will do it for $2 per hour, how can the garments made in Florabama compete in the stores?
As usual, I find more meaning in books than is necessarily written into them. It's the curse of being me. But I really did enjoy this book. I loved some characters, despised others, and didn't much care one way or the other for some. But that's real life, and that's what it takes to write a really good book. 5/5
Happy Thorsday, everyone!