Friday, June 26, 2009

Girls in Trucks

This girl, this Katie Crouch, she wrote a book about young debutantes in South Carolina; one in particular who has a taste for cigarettes, bourbon, cruel men, and New York City. Her sex life is a travesty and her future non-existent. At the very least, she had Cotillion Training School where she made a handful of reliable though thin, Charleston friendships. If it sounds as though she is telling stories about an age long gone by, thing again, cotillion training is very much alive (as mercifully, are the shag and the rumba).

Katie Crouch is blushingly talented and a true native. But, as much as I wanted her to make John's Island come alive in my mind's eye, I am not willing to be depressed as a trade off - I have no taste for accepting universally ugly truths, if indeed this book is one. The girls in the white dresses in Charleston, well, they turned out to be messes according to this book. I know a few, and I believe them to be in far better shape than these girls. Structure does not always result in rebellion, rebellion does not always result in failure, and failure does not always court those in trailer parks: Check. Got it. It is an old message and maybe not the most scintillating.

So... you were raised in a box and the walls were forged of manners, dancing, grace, and friendship. Oh, does it ever piss me off when rebellion is so very obvious a response. I want to nudge the character: Hey, you are okay. This failure and rebellion thing is such a bore though, can we move on? Tell me about the boys on John's Island. I want to know all the Ravanel secrets, man, that family is diverse and eccentric - huh?
It is a story, an okay one written magnificently. But I wanted more of those summer nights, more of the steps at society hall, more of that ball. Less, drugs, cigarettes, and booze because we all know about those things.

Charleston is one of those beautiful, eccentric, mysterious cities. Conversations about the town and the locals will cause people far and wide to stop all other chatter and listen carefully. Perhaps not realizing that Charlestonians are a fiercely protective bunch and they would never spill the recipe for the chicken salad (I am talking to you, Miss Jane) or explain to you how it was Danny left town for a few years and only came back to hand his Daddy his gun.

Katie Crouch, tell me another story, this time, about Charleston and I promise you, it will be on the guest room night stand for all time.


Miss B said...

You have me laughing over here. I agree. I do not care to sit and read pages of doom and gloom.

Teacats said...

For a wonderful "cozy" series of mysteries based at a Charleston tea shop -- try Laura Child's "Tea Shop Mysteries" -- full of information and stories all around Charleston. The series begins with "The English Breakfast Murder" -- each one is named after a famous tea!

Jan at Rosemary Cottage -- who like cozy mysteries and much less angst when the season calls for Beach Reading

Tickled Pink And Green said...

What a coincidence -- I'm about 1/3 into this book right now!