Review by Deb Czajkowski
Lark was eighteen when she left her home in the South for California, where she quickly became part of the 1960’s hippie culture. A few years later she reappeared at her mother’s doorstep, no longer alone: She had with her a daughter named Posey. Over the years Lark continued to retain her hippie lifestyle way too much for Posey, who was often bullied, humiliated, and pitied (bless her heart!) because of it. Today Lark and her mother still live together, but now Granny has Alzheimer’s and it’s Lark who is taking care of her. The tables are about to be turned once again for Lark. And her reaction is…?
Ten years ago Chad proposed to Posey, offering her, through marriage, the stability and security she hadn’t had growing up but had always wanted. She just didn’t know that the price would be her freedom. In the end, that wasn’t all Chad took from her: he left her penniless and homeless when he ran off with another woman. And her reaction is…?
Life now comes full-circle as Posey is forced to turn to her mother for a place to live ─and for a temporary job. Oh, and then she takes a go at the Seven Deadly Sins ─perhaps Posey’s version of her mother’s hipster youth? And the reaction is…?
So now we have Granny ─who’s more “out” than “in” (bless her heart); and Lark ─who’s still unconventional (bless her heart) but also living in the real world; Posey ─who’s breaking more than a few rules (bless her heart) as she struggles with finding a comfortable balance in her life; and, oh, did I mention that Posey also has a younger sister still living at home? Sure, bless her heart as well.
Yep, four women living under the same roof. Hear that? That’s rumbling and thunder and laughter and fun. And a whole lot of ‘bless her hearts’ coming from their community!
The common Southern phrase “bless her heart” has always made me (unlike Posey) laugh. Perhaps that’s because my experiences with the phrase are all anecdotal (also unlike Posey), who seems to have had it directly at her far too often. While it can be a sincere expression of sympathy or concern, it is generally used to, ah, soften an insult. For example: “Every day that girl brings the weirdest stuff for her lunch, bless her heart.” Or “That girl can’t walk across a room without breaking something, bless her heart.” You see why this is so annoying and exasperating for Posey? I can tell you, if those comments were directed at me, I also would find them really unkind, insulting even, despite ─or maybe because of─ the ‘bless her heart’ added at the end!
It’s also why you will laugh out loud at author Sally Kilpatrick’s comedy of circumstances in bless her heart. While Kilpatrick is mainly telling Posey’s story in her novel, she finds many human as well as humorous ways to meld together situations of all four of these women, all at different stages in their lives ─ lives full of questions, concerns, hurdles, and hindrances, but also hope. bless her heart will pull you into the drama and dilemmas, but it will also bless your heart ─in a good way─ from beginning to end.
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About the author:
Born and raised in West Tennessee, Sally Kilpatrick graduated from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, with a BA in English. At UT she met and married a Georgia boy. Now they live in Marietta, GA, with their two kids. She holds a Masters in Professional Writing from Kennesaw State University and taught high school Spanish for eight years before taking a sabbatical to write and mother full time. In addition to reading and writing, Sally likes traveling, historic house tours, running, religious studies, and all things geek.
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