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.
On her blog, Susan Wiggs recommended Sophie Littlefield’s A Bad Day for Sorry. I almost missed the review, but the book cover grabbed my attention ~ it is a debut author’s dream.
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.
I just discovered this post, and it has made my day, my week, my month. Thank you so much…I am honored and humbled to have my book mentioned here. And thank you for this amazing resource.
OMG. You certainly have rocked my world! Thank you!
Actually, you have Susan Wiggs to thank. She wrote about your book on her own blog and recommended it highly. I told a friend of mine whose husband was being an idiot to buy your book and leave it out on the coffee table.
What are you working on now?
Susan Wiggs is one of my heroines. I love love her writing, the way she brings humanity to all her characters, every age going through every stage of life. Thank you so much for sharing your kind thoughts on the book!!
As for what’s next, I’ve turned in the 2nd and 3rd Stella books – I had sooo much fun with them, finding new adventures for Stella. The 2nd one comes out in June and is called A BAD DAY FOR PRETTY. I also have a young adult novel coming out in the fall. I love to write – it’s my passion *and* my therapy and I feel so lucky to have the opportunity!
I have to share a funny thing with you 🙂 I sent a link to this to a person I am close to in the publishing world. She has a reputation as a real tough cookie so she forbid me from naming names but your post made her cry. And trust me if you can make this gal cry you got some serious juju! 😉
Oh, Sophie, thank you. We’ve got rare sunshine here today in Seattle. . .your comment and your colleague’s tears will bring sunshine into my life for a long time to come.
Please let me know when exactly in June your next book will be published. I’ll do another review. And, please let me know if you’d like to be on blog talk radio. . .the shows are on Monday and Wednesday evenings.
Yes, we are all blessed by Susan Wiggs. She’s one of the most generous people on the planet.
Anne, that would be so terrific! would you mind emailing me your email address – I would love to ask my publicist to send you a copy of the next book. I couldn’t find an email on the site which could well be user error on my part 🙂 I am at email@example.com