Monday, January 2, 2012

Book Review - Heartbreak Cafe by Penelope J. Stokes

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
When I first started this book, I was bit sidetracked by the nicknames and that kept me from really digging into it.  I grew up in the South and found the nicknames in this book ridiculous - well for adults anyway.  Most children with ridiculous nicknames do not carry them into adulthood.  There’s a guy who goes by the name Fart.  Seriously.  A 50‘ish man still going by a terrible nickname granted to him in childhood.  And, he’s a good guy, but it was hard to get past that name.  There was a 80‘ish man still going by the nickname Hoot.  A bit more plausible, but still who does anything that screams responsible going by a moniker like that and he had to have some type of job in his younger days.  Almost everyone but the main character, Dell,  and her best friend, Toni, had some type of nickname that screamed small Southern town, though not all of them as bad as those two.  

Once I let go of my problem with the nicknames, I sorta liked Dell, the main character.  After her husband, Chase, dies, she learns that he cheated, but she doesn’t know with whom.  And, it bothers her.  I think it would bother most people. After all is said and done, she has to find a way to support herself.  A friend suggest she rent a dilapidated diner and open a restaurant, which is an immediate success.  Seems a bit implausible, but it’s fiction and I liked that it was a success.  She meets Scratch, an imposing black man, living in the apartment above the diner and offers him a job.  I was glad as he needed a job and she needed help. In fact, he was one of my favorite characters.  There are a lot of little side stories here - who was Chase having an affair with, what is Scratch’s secret, what will become of the diner, what do Toni and Boone, another very close friend, know about Chase’s affair.  

Amidst all of this, Dell jumps to a conclusion that really shakes her up.  To deal with it, she takes a road trip to Asheville, NC, which seemed out of place with her money woes, but helped her see herself and helped us see Dell.  

In the end, Dell comes to learn that life goes on, even if it is different than what she expected and that friends and family come from everywhere.  What I liked the most, though, was that in end, Chase redeemed himself.  And, that more than anything I think, helped Dell move on.  

Overall, I enjoyed this book and would recommend it.  

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Past and Present...

Happy New Year! I sorta started the New Year with a walk down memory lane. I've been meaning for a while now to stop by the Goodwill store and pick up a few extra teaspoons, for scooping wet cat food, and a few extra forks, for taking to work since I take my lunch pretty much every day. I've also realized that with cooking more, one uses more utensils. As a single woman, I don't run the dishwasher every day, so I figured some extras would be useful.

I mentioned this to my Mom, who said she'd brought back silverware from back in the day from our farm. OMG! What fun and what memories! Yes, I remembered the silverware and of course, it brought back memories from past meals from various occasions when we still had a small house there... many, many years ago. 

It made me think about how time marches on, but it was also fun to walk down memory lane. And, in a way, it made me look forward to everything that is yet to come - in this new year and in the coming years.  

I wish everyone all the best in 2012!