Do your holidays need an infusion of happy?
I was in a terrible funk. Bad case of the blues. Down in the dumps. I needed myself a badass read to cure me of my bad attitude.
I added it to my Amazon wish list, and the book arrived yesterday. I absolutely loved it. I knew it would be fun from the opening page:
Whuppin’ ass wasn’t so hard. . .
What was hard was making sure it stayed whupped.
Especially on a day when it hit a hundred degrees before noon. And you were having hot flashes. . .
“Fuck serenity,” Stella said. And she shot the trailer.
I’m an absolute sucker for books of the Persian Pickle Club genre ~ Olivia Goldsmith’s First Wives Club ~ Fern Michael’s sisterhood series ~ Janet Evanovich’s irreverent sass ~ Candace Bushnell’s One Fifth Avenue. In A Bad Day for Sorry, the limo is Stella’s late husband’s beloved Jeep. The heroine is a blend of menopausal Cagney and Lacey and Stephanie Plum with a soundtrack nod to Saffire: the Uppity Blues Women:
If widowhood had given Stella license to explore her authentic self, menopause stood under the window yelling at the bitch to come out and rumble.
It’s ironic. Men don’t get good until they are 50. When women hit 50, their attitude is it is “a bad day for sorry.” We get a bit cantankerous. Ms. Littlefield and her publisher astutely divined that there are a whole lot of survivors of domestic violence of a certain age who buy a lot of books:
Stella Hardesty dispatched her abusive husband with a wrench shortly before her fiftieth birthday.
Folks in the Ozarks foothills of Missouri know the score, and Stella is never tried for her crime. In fact, the hunky local sheriff Goat Jones loves her for her vigilante justice and quietly enables her quest:
Stella’s clients, the ones society couldn’t ~ or wouldn’t ~ protect, the ones who resorted to begging and promising and praying as their only weapons against the horror in their own homes. . .
Chrissy reminded Stella of herself, in a way, on the day when she’d finally had enough of Ollie’s abuse and made the transformation from passive victim to hell-for-leather avenger.
Stella supervises her “parolees” with her “ass-whuppin’s” more effectively than the criminal justice system:
Stella. . .was worried that Roy Dean was the sort of woman-smacker who truly believed down in his bones that it was his God-given right to settle every disagreement with force, that it was a woman’s job to absorb a man’s disappointments and frustrations in the form of taunts and put-downs and thrown punches.
Sadly, this was the type who was most likely to pick up again where he left off with some other poor woman. Which was why Stella was here today.
. . .Stella knew too much about pain ~ the kind inflicted on the innocent, the defenseless, those whose worst sins were bad judgment and displaced loyalty. And she’d pledged to stop it. Not every abuser, everywhere ~ there were simply too many. But if it was in her power to help a woman in Sawyer County, she did so. And gradually word reached sisters and cousins and best friends and acquaintances further afield, down through the Ozarks and up to Kansas City and over to Saint Louis. . .Stella picked off the sons-of-bitches one by one. . .she never turned a client away. . .
With a great deal of sass and humor, Ms. Littlefield takes on how the criminal justice system fails people who experience domestic violence. She dispels myths about domestic violence with bold truth. Her characters express very real emotions. And, she artfully weaves into her story the danger of vigilante justice ~ especially when the abuser is powerfully connected ~ a cop, a preacher, or a mob member.
Yes, her story is fiction, but I loved how she inspires women to assert their power to protect each other. She helped me resurrect my feisty inner badass bitch and goddess. She reminded me that I get to make my own rules for my life. Better than Prozac or a bottle of “Johnnie Black” and “Bud back” to cure what ails you.
Happy Holidays, y’all!
Update: A Bad Day for Sorry is now available in paperback. A Bad Day for Pretty will be released on June 8, 2010.