Monday, September 28, 2009

Book Reviews: Buster Midnight’s Café and The Persian Pickle Club

After reading Prayers for Sale last month, I was determined to read through the rest of Sandra Dallas’ novels. I’ve already read most but her earliest, so I was left with these two and just a couple more.

I enjoyed both novels for what they were: sweet stories with good endings. I read Buster Midnight’s Café first and liked it better. Because I am just an ordinary person, I always have a hard time with novels that include a hometown girl/boy who goes to Hollywood and becomes famous. But I didn’t care too much in this story of three friends and a secret they share. Set in Montana before and after World War 2, the story is narrated by the very likeable Effa Commander. Again, I have issues with weird names, but that’s my own problem. I liked this book.

I was not as crazy about The Persian Pickle Club, although I don’t regret reading it. My main complaint is that there are just way too many characters to keep straight. I just can’t focus on a dozen quilters with similar-sounding names. Or again, the odd names: this narrator is named Queenie Bean. I crave simplicity. Still, the story was good. These two books are perfect for in-between reading.

As a writer, though, Sandra Dallas obviously has continued to grow. Her later novels are tremendously better than these first ones. She has developed depth and complexity, as well as a sense of seriousness, in her latest novels, particularly Tallgrass and Prayers for Sale. Tallgrass (my review here) remains my favorite Sandra Dallas book, and I continue to look forward to her next one.

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