There are times when you run across a book that touches your heart, your soul and your funnybone! One of those rare occurences has happened when I read Jean Brashear's new book, The Goddess of Fried Okra!
Now, for you not from the South, fried okra is a thing of beauty. Crisp, crunchy and full of deliciousness, it is a true art form to be able to create a perfect batch of fried okra. The main character in Jean's book struggles with this cooking dilemma in the course of the story, and ...well, let's just say the title of the book says it all!
When you lose someone dear to you, often times you’ll long to see them again, even though you know they are gone. For Eudora “Pea” O’Brien, her longing is to find her deceased half-sister, Sister, and that longing takes her on a journey through Texas that will include meeting a handsome drifter, a pregnant teenager, a ferocious kitten and a gun-toting warrior woman named Glory.
Pea has not had an easy life. Her mother died when she was young, and her half-sister raised her the best she could, but when Sister died from a prolonged illness, Pea couldn’t help but think of how much she wanted Sister back, and how Sister firmly believed in reincarnation. So with little money and even smaller notions of how to go about it, Pea sets off to find Sister.
First, Pea finds a feisty little kitten that seems to latch on to her as a new momma figure, so Pea names her Isis, after the Greek goddess, and brings her along. Next, she sees Alex, a young pregnant girl, being beat by her boyfriend outside of a truck stop and steps in to rescue the teen, and by rescue, that means Pea threw the girl into the car and tore out of the parking lot where said boyfriend was left standing.
And then while trying to get Alex back to her family, Pea runs into Val Bonham – literally – she runs into him as he is hitchhiking along a backroad. So, guilt-ridden, Pea bundles the poor injured man into the car and hauls him along as well. Stopping along the way to read each and every roadside marker, Pea is determined to continue her search for Sister, peering into the faces of everyone she happens upon to see if she can catch a glimmer or a wink from her beloved sibling.
The unlikely little family encounter the fierce gunshop owner/sword buckling Glory and her amazing geodesic dome home where warrior women adore the walls, a family caught up in a dandy of a feud, and a good, old-fashioned gas station/café where Pea finds out that her search for love and family has brought her right smack in the middle of what she was looking for all along.
Now, if she can just master frying a perfect batch of fried okra, life will be perfect.
Jean Brashear, author of the debut novel, “The Goddess of Fried Okra,” delivers a funny yet emotional rollercoaster ride of a novel that will have readers laughing on one page and crying on the next. Brashear captures the quirky personalities of her characters, filling them with a charm and vibrancy that shines through her words.
If this novel isn’t snatched up to be made into a movie, then the world will be a bit sadder for the lack of wisdom to see how great a film this would be.
(I told Jean that Orlando Bloom would be perfect for Val Bonham, and her reply was "Swoon!"...ah, a kindred spirit!)
I received a copy of The Goddess of Fried Okra for review from the publisher, and I was not compensated for a favorable review.