Friday, April 27, 2012
Author: Lynda Rutledge
Publisher: Amy Einhorn/G.P. Putnam's Sons (Penguin)
Pub. Date: April 26, 2012
I don't read much southern fiction, so I branched out a little by picking up Faith Bass Darling's Last Garage Sale. Unfortunately, I wasn't as rewarded as I'd hoped to be. It basically takes place over the course of a day (New Year's Eve) as Faith Bass Darling, the town's wealthiest woman, decides to hold an impromptu garage sale to get rid of all the (very valuable) items in her home for ridiculously low prices (like a Tiffany lamp for $1). Faith says that God spoke to her and this is the last day of her life so she needs to get rid of everything. (This is not, however, a "christian fiction" book).
Faith has been living alone for over 20 years, as her husband and son both passed years prior, and her daughter, frustrated with her mother's inability to function afterward, ran away shortly after. What we see, as some of the caring townspeople try to intervene, is a woman who may be losing her mind and certainly her memory. Alongside her story is the focus on the various pieces of furnishings she is selling and short bits about the pieces' history. There is also a little side/back story about the accident her son was involved in.
Here's what I liked: Ultimately, I found the story of Faith's memory loss and breakdown compelling. I was interested in the brief history about each item she sold, as I don't own anything that has any history, really, but I was glad that the stories were brief because they didn't take away from the main story of Faith.
What I didn't like: I didn't care for the rest of the characters which were caricatures, and the whole storyline seemed a little kitschy to me. There seemed to be a lot of focus on stereotypes and prejudice which seemed like it was to create the feeling of the small town but just seemed unnecessary to me (either that or not fully fleshed out). Another gripe is that (despite all the Y2K phobia) the last day of the millenium was December 31 of 2000 not 1999 which this whole book is sort of based on. 2000 was the last year of the then millenium, while 2001 started a new one... technically.
While this turned out to not be for me, I think those readers who really love southern fiction and/or who don't mind a singular focus on this woman and her breakdown may find something in quirky Faith Bass Darling's Last Garage Sale that they enjoy.
Here are a couple reviews from other bloggers: