Wow, this was all sorts of terrible, but I still had to finish the damn thing to find out if the OTP gets together because I really, really liked (half of) them.
So I vaguely remember seeing trailers for this book when it was turned into a movie. Natalie Portman lives in a Wal-Mart, then gives birth in it. What I really remember is that she names her child “Americus”, and her last name is Nation, and that’s just mean.
So I wasn’t expecting Pulitzer level quality, but I thought it would be the cute kind of sappy treacle, like Fannie Flagg. It was not. It was sappy, but occasionally, people got raped and killed. Seriously–two instances of anal rape in this book about finding the good in people. One perpetrated against a child, whose mother gets the SHIT beaten out of her (she later makes a joke about “finally losing weight” when her jaw has to be WIRED SHUT). Maybe this is supposed to be some lesson about how people go through awful things in order to find wonderful things (after all, EVERYONE gets married in the end), but instead it seemed like the author was just trying to shock.
If you care, the basic plot is 17 year old Novalee Nation is dumped, seven months pregnant, by her no-good boyfriend. She lives in a Wal-mart for a bit, meets some people named things like “Sister” and “Moses”, has the baby in the Wal-Mart and tries to make a life for herself in this town. There’s a boy (well, he’s a man) at the library who’s a bit odd but in the super-smart way. She can’t see that he loves her, and then she realizes it and tells him to go fulfill his dreams, then she’s sad and tracks him down and they live happily ever after. Blech. Meanwhile, the ex-boyfriend does some bad shit, goes to jail (GETS RAPED!), gets out, becomes a country music star, falls on hard times, LOSES HIS LEGS IN A TRAIN ACCIDENT, then sees Novalee again and they make up.
It gets pretty annoying. The characters all bend over backwards to help out this uneducated pregnant teenager who ends up become some fancy photographer. Her child is a golden angel. All is good and light, except her best friend’s child gets raped, her friend Sister is killed in a tornado and all sorts of other really graphic awfulness happens, too. The only character I liked was the guy from the library, Forney, and he’s all wrapped up in this idiot girl. So annoying
I know this review is rather meandering and pointless with random shouting interspersed–but that’s pretty much what reading the book felt like, too.