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Monday Night Book Discussions
(written by Billie Letts)
Salina Public Library
Salina, KS
© Lydia Lowe  12/10/2012

The Honk and Holler Opening Soon . . . What a delight!  This book is all about community and how people relate to each other within a community.  The community in this book is a cafe in a small town in Oklahoma, where we meet a Vietnam vet who hires a Vietnamese man to work for him, there’s a female drifter, a woman who mothers everyone she meets with a teenage daughter that refuses to be mothered, a fella with anger issues, and an assortment of secondary characters, including an entire Baptist church.

The rich characterizations make this book an incredible read.  The sheer volume of characters is amazing.  All operate within the cafe setting and yet have their own lives within other communities which are in the broader community of the town.  There are even two animals in this story who also have lives of their own within these other broader communities.  One wonders how the author keeps everything straight and then conveys the same to the reader.  But the author does and does it well.

I especially enjoyed the way the author turns a phrase.  The humor within the story causes the reader to sometimes pause and reflect on whether they’ve actually read what they thought they read.

Some examples: “A week later, the little locomotive in the city park was defaced with the word ‘Niger’ painted on its side either by a racist who couldn’t spell or someone with an obscure connection to the age-old river which twists its way through West Africa.”

Another one: “The heat of summer held on in Sequoyah until the last Thursday in September when a steady soaking rain fell from early morning until midafternoon, ending a thirty-seven-day drought and twelve straight days of temperatures exceeding a hundred and three, to which caladiums, scarlet sage, nasturtiums and Duncan Renfro succumbed.”

This is a book you’ll want to read again and again, it’s just like visiting with old friends.