An evocative debut novel about life in a small town and of two women testing their own limits. A moving and deftly told portrait of the hard-scrabble life.
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.
Hubbard was one of the oldest no-account towns on the coast of Oregon. Men there fished commercially or helped others deep-sea fish for sport; they worked in the woods cutting timber, or they worked in the mill over in Sawyer, making paper amidst a great noise and stink. They lived hard, bore scars, coveted danger and died either young and violently or unnecessarily old. The women worked, or not. The children belonged to them.
Hubbard was one of those places where you could still have your choice of oceanfront trailers--old rusting aqua and silver tunafish cans with moisture problems. Highway 101, the West's westernmost route from Canada to Mexico, was the town's only through street, a straight and single shot lined with gift shops and candy shops and kite shops and a Dairy Queen, shell art and postcards and forty-six flavors of saltwater taffy, homemade right here. There was everywhere a spirit of cheer, clutter and nakedly opportunistic goodwill: what Hubbard ...
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).
Full Review (205 words).
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...
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