Saturday, October 11, 2008

Review: Revenge of the Kudzu Debutantes

Revenge of the Kudzu Debutantes by Cathy Holton
3.5 stars

Reasons for reading: the title caught my eye; Southern book for Triple 8 Challenge; Plant title for What's in a Name? Challenge

Book description (edited): Eadie Boone is no shrinking violet. An artist and former beauty queen who married into one of the first families of Ithaca, Georgia, she tackles everything with gusto and flair. But tailing her wayward husband proves to be, well, an exasperating chore. If only Trevor would just see the light, dump his twenty-two-year-old hussy, and return home, Eadie’s creative energy could be put to better use. Now all she has to do is convince him.

Nita Broadwell, a good Southern girl from a good Southern family, is jolted out of complacency when she discovers condoms in her husband’s shirt pocket...Between clinging to denial and dodging her overbearing mother-in-law, Nita is also trying to break her addiction to steamy bodice-ripper novels. Only now it appears she’s authoring her own real-life romance tale with a hunky handyman thirteen years her junior.

Lavonne Zibolsky–a transplanted Yankee, bless her heart–is saddled with planning the annual Broadwell & Boone law firm party. That and her lackluster marriage have her seeking solace in the contents of her refrigerator. If she could just put down the Rocky Road ice cream and peach pie, she might get around to finding a caterer, dropping sixty pounds, and figuring out how to fall in love with her husband again. Not necessarily in that order.

Bonded by years of friendship, these three women discover what else they have in common: lying, cheating spouses. So they heed their collective betrayals as a wake-up call and band together to exact sweet revenge.

First line: "One week before the dinner party where she found out the truth about her cheating husband, Eadie Boone sat in her car outside the offices of Boone & Broadwell waiting for Trevor and his new girlfriend to appear."

My thoughts: I used to read a lot of wrong-wife revenge novels when I was younger. It's amazing I ever got married, really! :-) I hardly ever read them any more, they all got too predictable and poor-poor-pitiful-me/I-am-woman-hear-me-roar-ish. But I liked the title of this one and am always on the lookout for Southern lit, so I gave it a try. I was a bit concerned that this one was going to be more of the same, but Holton managed to rise above the usual elements by having 3 great characters, a very funny revenge plan, and having the Kudzu Ball.

I want to be a Kudzu Debutante!! The festival had a recliner race (NASCHAIR), a Betty Cracker cook-off, and culminates in a parody of the time-honoured debutante ball where any woman (or anyone who looks like a woman) can "come out" by parading across the stage in a thrift store bridesmaid dress with a name like Miss Ima Badass, jacked up on corn liquor/cough syrup-infused Kudzu Koolaid.

This book did have the totally stereotypically asshole husbands wanting to control their wives/divorce them and leave them with nothing, which is one of the things I started to find irritating about revenge novels, but it was tempered a bit by Trevor Boone being not all bad in the end. And I guess you need the villains to make the revenge sweet (and, in this case, hilarious).

Pick this one up if you're in the mood for Southern snap, feisty friends, and jerks getting what they deserve.

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