Saturday, December 29, 2012

Book Review: Bowling Avenue by Ann Shayne

I was intrigued by the book which is set in my hometown of Nashville, and when a college friend strongly recommended it, I decided to buy it for my step-mother for Christmas, and read it myself first.

Delia has to come back to Nashville from Chicago because when her sister Ginna died six months ago in a car wreck, she left Delia her house. Which is a little unusual as Ginna was married with two daughters, but she was recently separated, so everyone assumes that's why she changed her will just a few weeks before she unexpectedly died.

So Delia has to clean out and sell this large, expensive home, deal with her teenage nieces and estranged brother-in-law, and most annoyingly, her mother. Realtors come out of the woodwork, including Henry Peek, who Delia knew back in high school, and is just as cute as ever and is he also possibly interested in Delia? Who is the annoying neighbor Angus to Ginna and why does he say such horrible things to Delia? What secrets was Ginna keeping when she died and why? Can Delia really reconnect with her sister and heal old wounds, even after her sister is gone?

When it starts raining and seems like it will never stop, Delia's family has to pull together to salvage themselves from the Flood of 2010. What Delia learns in this month she spends in Nashville will change her life forever, but what will she decide to do with her new-found knowledge?

I did really like all the references to Nashville (although no locals I know eat at Pancake Pantry - that is strictly for tourists and Vanderbilt students. Also it only would take 5 minutes to get from Bowling Ln. to Tin Angel, not enough time for a long, serious conversation. But these are minor quibbles.) The references were very particular to just the neighborhood around Bowling Ln and West End Avenue, as Delia never seemed to venture even to Green Hills (which is only 10 minutes away.) But some people do live a very small life geographically. I like that the book presents Nashville very well, with only a tiny bit of the music scene, and mostly just regular life, which is how 99.9% of the residents experience it. It was also neat to read about the flood. I wasn't there for it, as the Nashville marathon was the weekend beforehand, but I did see some of the results -- mostly on the news and internet, but I later took some pictures of the house across the street from my father, which was swept off its foundation. To my knowledge, the owners have never been let back in (I know, it's now 2.5 years later!) as it is too dangerous, so they had to abandon all their belongings.

The book was an interesting story about adult sisters and how your relationship is both still tight and yet very distant as lives separate and move in different ways, and yet you do still long for closeness, although it may well be impossible. But that doesn't mean understanding and love is impossible. It was highly entertaining and emotional, and I really enjoyed it. It's of course perfect for anyone who lives in or is from Nashville, but anyone will enjoy it.

I bought this book at my local independent bookstore.

1 comment:

Kimberly @ Turning the Pages said...

This one sounds like the perfect read for my older sister. We aren't very close seeing as there's 15 years between us but I think she would love this one.
Great review :)
-Kimberly @ Turning the Pages