Wednesday, 27 November 2013

The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion by Fannie Flagg

In the year 1908, Stanislaw Ludic Jurdabralinski, a tall, rawboned boy of fourteen, was facing a future of uncertainty.

Explained more with the next sentence.

Life in Poland under Russian rule was bleak and dangerous.

If you like history this opening will interest you. If you don't, this is a snoozer. I like history, but already being aware of this place and period, and having read books on this period before, I wonder if this one will be different. So I read on.

Uh...but this short three-paragraph prologue (the best kind) is not about the czar or prison camps. It serves more as an announcement that Stanislaw has said to hell with Poland and moved to America. The end. Why this little bit of back story couldn't have been slipped unobtrusively into the forward narrative when it became imperative to know, I guess, one will just have to read on to find out.

Chapter 1:

Mrs. Earle Poole, Jr., better known to friends and family as Sookie, was driving home from the Birds-R-Us store out on Highway 98 with one ten-pound bag of sunflower seeds and one ten-pound bag of wild bird seed and not her usual weekly purchase for the past fifteen years of one twenty-pound bag of the Pretty Boy Wild Bird Seed and Sunflower Mix.

This sentence fails. Let me count the ways: This sentence is long. If I can't even twitter it, it's long. This sentence is set in a car. This sentence is about bird seed. This sentence is about brands of bird seed. This sentence lacks tone. If it was witty in some way, it might have been redeemed, though I don't even think a witticism would save this one.

The next couple pages lurch into some back story and describe the character's drive, I suppose in homage to the opening of Manos: Hands of Fate.

First thing said:

"Oh...just to chat."

Verdict: Fail

Rudy Globird

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