Petie Coolbaugh and Rose Bundy have been best friends since childhood. Now in their early thirties, they are grappling with coming-of-age and station; meanwhile, they work together in Petie's kitchen preparing gallons of soup each day for Souperior's, a new upscale café in town. Both of them need the extra money to support their families; Petie, who has gotten used to keeping her family on track as her loving but unreliable husband slips in and out of work, needs to feed her two young boys, while Rose, a warm, affectionate single mother, is her teenage daughter's sole support. The proprietors of the café, Nadine and Gordon, are fraternal twins from Los Angeles with adjustments of their own to make, but Rose's friendliness and the quality of the women's soups quickly make them indispensable despite Petie's abrupt manner and prickly ways.
The strains of daily life are never far, however, and the success of the café is far from certain. As the story draws lovers, employers, friends, and family into a mesh of interwoven events and revelations, each woman finds possibilities for love and even grace that she had never imagined.
An evocative portrait of life in a small town and of two women testing their own limits, Going to Bend combines the sexy sassiness of Thelma and Louise with the emotional warmth of Fried Green Tomatoes. It is a stunning debut.
Described as an 'exceptional debut' (Kirkus Reviews), 'a testimonial to the regenerative power of female friendship' (Library Journal) and compared to Fried Green Tomatoes; Going To Bend's portrayal of issues such as childrearing, friendship and self-determination, clearly position it as a book targeted at women and, if the publishers have their wish, book clubs. (Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).
Hammond shines an unwavering light on a group of people who struggle to make do, yet who live their lives and cope with hardship with grace and dignity. Her clean, sharp prose, idiosyncratic dialogue and deep insight into relationships embellish this heartfelt debut.
Library Journal - Rebecca Sturm Kelm
Recommended as a testimonial to the regenerative power of female friendship, the will to survive, and the courage to seek happiness.
An exceptional debut about small-time lives and limited dreams in rural America....A portrait of the hard-scrabble life moving and deftly told.
Booklist - Bill Ott
Hammond's debut novel ... feels at first like a working-class weeper, the sort of female buddy story that Oprah's fans would love.....What makes the novel work is the details...Yes, the novel ends with the possibility of new lives, but what lingers here is the unflinching look at dailiness.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by Marisol Going to Bend This book was rich with real life touching experiences that I can relate
to. In Rose's character I see my best friend, the one who is always there for me when I need to talk , the one who always offer me her shoulder to cry on, the one who... Read More
Rated of 5
by Jeff M
Wow- I thought this was a great book! The characters were fully fleshed out and became real people to me and the location of course was a character in itself. Even though Im a city person and nothing similar has ever happened to me, the events... Read More
Diane Hammond has worked
as a writer and an editor. She was awarded a
literary fellowship by the Oregon Arts
Commission, and her writing has appeared in such
magazines as Yankee, Mademoiselle, and
Washington Review. She served as a
spokesperson for the Oregon Coast Aquarium and
the Free Willy Keiko Foundation - she published
Keiko's Story: The Real-Life Tale of the
World's Most Famous Killer Whale in 1998.
She lives with her husband, Nolan, and daughter,
Her second book, Homesick Creek, is due
to be published in July 2005 - the story of two
women, Anita and Bunny, who've been friends
since high school. Both are married to local
boys, Bunny to the overly charming natural-born
salesman, Hack Neary; and Anita to Bob who
deeply loves Anita but cannot keep them out of
poverty.... Facing a future that seems...
A Man Called Intrepid author dies aged 89(Dec 03 2013) William Stevenson, a journalist and author who drew on his close ties with intelligence sources to write two best-selling books in the 1970s, A Man Called...