With any other author this could have been classified as chick-lit. Four college girlfriends meet up 30 years later to cruise down the Mississippi river, and spread the ashes of their college suite mate. Along the way they'll learn a little about themselves and life and come to terms with their lost friend Baby Ballou.
Sounds a bit ridiculous really and ripe for cliche. And while it isn't a great book, there is something about Lee Smith's voice that imbues her novels with an authenticity not found in your average chick-lit story. The two books I've read by her are infused with a gentle air of melancholy and pensiveness that keeps away the shallows. Its lovely and definitely increases my enjoyment of her books. This book in particular also made me nostalgic and a little homesick as my home state of Virginia plays a prominent role.
For me the books biggest weakness was being to jumbled and unfocused. I sometimes wonder whether this is a legitimate complaint about a book - perhaps it's intentional - meant to reflect the jumble of life. But if that's the case it did not invoke that feeling. It felt like she had no real plan going in except some disparate stories about a group of girls and one random guy - who is the third husband of one of the women - and she just wrote it all out depending on what she felt like writing on a particular day. But while this was in my head a lot it didn't ruin the book by a long-shot. And I enjoyed the story and voice of third husband Russell so glad he was thrown in there:)
Overall a nice pensive book about getting older and living life and the relationships that shape us.