Monday, July 16, 2012

Review: Faith Bass Darling's Last Garage Sale

I haven't enjoyed reading a book this much in months.  It's almost a shame to have to write a review, but it certainly deserves to be shared and trumpeted.

On December 31, 1999 God tells Faith Bass Darling, the richest woman in Bass Texas, to sell everything she owns, including her 40 priceless Tiffany lamps, because this is her last day on earth.  Faith hasn't always paid much attention to the almighty, but since there's been a lot of hoopla and worry about the New Millenium coming tonite, she decides she'd better follow directions.  Faith's Alzheimer's has led her to become more and more recluse --she hasn't left her mansion in almost 20 years; more and more forgetful -- she has a mantra she repeats constantly to prove to herself that she still knows who she is, where she is and what day it is; and she's completely lost contact with her daughter, her only living relative.  So when she begins hauling out her priceless antiques from the family's century old collection and selling them for pennies, the word spreads faster than melted butter on hot corn.

The local sheriff (a football teammate of her deceased son) and the area's premier antique dealer (a childhood friend of her daughter's) both  try to convince Faith that this yard sale isn't really a good idea.  The family dynamics and memories that are stirred up when the daughter arrives make this much more than the farce it could have been.

Lynn Rutledge, in her debut novel, has given us a gift.  Readers are introduced to a gentle, complex lady clinging desperately to the threads of her memories, who has just enough rationality left to understand that her "stuff" doesn't matter-- it's not what makes her happy or unhappy, it can't bring back her son, and it obviously can't keep her from losing her memories, and ultimately her life.

The other characters are equally as well drawn, complex, and just plain likeable.  As a reader, you are immediately drawn to all of them; you cry with them, you laugh with them, and you find yourself wanting to help in anyway you can to make life better.   The story plays out in only one day, with a beautifully written ending that leaves the reader wanting more, knowing it won't happen, and ultimately being satisfied with how the New Year begins. This story is a delight.  Let's hope that Ms. Rutledge has more treats like this one in her future.

Author: Lynda Rutledge
Publisher-Format: Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam  Hardcover, 304 pages 
Year of Publication: 2012
Subject: Old age, dementia, family relations
Setting: Bass Texas, December 31, 1999
Genre: Fiction
Source: ARC from publisher through Early Reviewers program

1 comment:

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