You Bring The Popcorn And I'll Bring The Duds

Or maybe when she realized that he was never going to come and rescue her, she did what all strong women do. She found a way to save herself.

There's a small-town southern girl inside of me, itching to get out. She lives right next to the British girl who longs to call London home and the girl who's pretty sure she could live out her days in a small cabin in the woods. I'm a mixed bag of characters. As is Ave Maria Mulligan. Maybe that's why I took an immediate liking to her.

When we first meet Ave, she is the self-proclaimed town spinster, although only in her mid-thirties, whose favorite days are when the bookmobile rolls into town. Things soon take a turn for the less predictable, and we, along with the other inhabitants of Big Stone Gap, get to come along for the ride. I settled right into small town living and found myself befriending a whole cast of quirky and endearing characters: Fleeta, Iva Lou, and Pearl, to name a few. Tell me those names don't make you want to spend some time in Big Stone Gap as well.

I was first introduced to Adriana Trigiani's work when a dear friend gave me The Shoemaker's Wife and I became an instant fan. As Kathryn Stockett, author of The Help, wrote, "I don't know how Adriana goes into her family's attic and emerges with these amazing stories, I'm just happy she does. If you're meeting her work for the first time, get ready for a lifelong love affair." And a love affair it has been. Stories rich in history and strong female characters, in settings as diverse as rural American towns, Italian villages, and early-century New York City, I've yet to find one I didn't love. I hate playing favorites, but if pushed, I'd say that along with Big Stone Gap and The Shoemaker's Wife, I'd especially recommend Lucia, Lucia, Big Cherry Holler, and Milk Glass Moon.

The last two mentioned above are sequels to Big Stone Gap. She wrote a fourth in that series, Home to Big Stone Gap, that I didn't love quite as much. It could have something to do with the fact that I listened to the series, and all but the last were narrated by Trigiani herself. I fell in love with the way she brought Ave to life and couldn't get used to a new voice; it seemed to lose some of its charm. I probably should have read that one instead of listened.

Now for the news that is bound to bring a smile to every Ave Maria Mulligan fan and future fan out there: Big Stone Gap, the movie, is being released this Friday. It's written and directed by Adriana Trigiani herself, which makes it over-the-top good news. Here's the trailer:

Posted by Rachel