'Gods In Alabama'
By: Joshilyn Jackson
(Hardcover / 288 Pages / Warner Books / ISBN: 0446524190 / $19.95)
Description: When Arlene Fleet headed off to college in Chicago, she made three promises to God: She would never again lie, never fornicate outside of marriage, and never, ever go back to her tiny hometown of Possett, Alabama (the "fourth rack of Hell"). All God had to do in exchange was to make sure the body of high school quarterback Jim Beverly was never found. Ten years later, Arlene has kept her promises, but an old schoolmate has recently turned up asking questions.
Verdict: While not a fan of Southern literature, I was pleasantly suprised when I read Jackson's debut novel, and found it intriguing, touching, and startlingly funny. Imbued with self conscious self-deprecating humour and a carefully paced, well-constructed storyline, 'Gods In Alabama' manages to cross genre boundaries as a contemporary Southern novel for the generation trying so desperately to escape their familys' influences. Arlene Fleet, a native of Possett, Alabama, has fled her hometown for Chicago, where she finds a fresh start and a new home. But when her past, in the form of an ex-classmate searching for a long-lost high school football hero, Arlene must return to the place she loathes to confront the past she thought she'd left behind. 'Gods In Alabama' is full of unexpected twists, quirky humour, and touchingly real characters. Trust me, it takes ahold and doesn't let go.
Reviewed by Laurel James