Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Review: Georgia Bottoms By Mark Childress

Georgia Bottoms By Mark Childress
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company (February 23, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316033049
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316033046

Synopsis (From Book Jacket)

Georgia Bottoms may be Six Points, Alabama’s finest feature--beautiful, worldly, a splendid cook and faithful churchgoer who cares for her aged mother and sells handmade quilts to her grateful neighbors. 

Georgia also has a discreet side business, “entertaining” six local gentlemen at night.  Judge Barnett on Sunday, Sheriff Allred on Friday, the doctor on Wednesday (Monday’s are Georgia’s own).  Each gentleman gets a night tailored to his particular tastes; each has been trained to leave a “gift” to help Georgia get by, and each one thinks he is Georgia’s only secret lover.

When Preacher Eugene Hendrix (Saturdays) decides he must confess their affair in front of his wife and the entire congregation, Georgia may be able to stop him in time.  But one pin pulled out of her elaborately protected life may be all it takes to send the whole structure to hell in a hurry.  Chin high, posture perfect, her Chanel handbag firmly clasped in her hand, Georgia sets out to save herself, her mama, and her particular notion of virtue from total ruin.  Nothing in Six Points will ever be the same. 

My Thoughts 

I truly wish I could say I just loved this novel....but overall, it has left me with some mixed reactions.  As hard as I have tried to put aside my Feminist Theory studies, this novel really makes it difficult.  Georgia Bottoms, for the most part, embodies the stereo-typical female character created by yet another male writer.  She comes across as nothing more than an attempt to create a modern-day version of Scarlett O'Hara.  Using her sexual appeal to her financial advantages, Georgia can best be characterized as a cross between a loose Southern Belle and a "dumb belle"; neither of which I found to be appealing.   

Sadly racial prejudices still run rampant in some southern areas, and I do believe Childress was attempting to show the conflict between racism and racial acceptance that occurs across the generational divide, however, at times I found his handling of race to be merely a further reinforcement of racial stereotypes.  I just feel that in this particular day and age, we need to move beyond racial stereotypes, as well as sexism. 

My overall rating for this novel is a 3, and that's being generous.



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