Talk of the Town by Lisa Wingate: A Review
I said before on this blog that Lisa Wingate is a Texas version of Carson McCullers. I just completed her novel, and I now believe that statement even more. Having been raised in Texas, with grandparents in Rochester, a town in West Texas, I was surprised to find another author who loved that part of the country as much as I did. In Talk of the Town, author Lisa Wingate has created a story that is so true-to-life and so depictive of the people in West Texas that it rattled me. More witty than the Don Johnson movie Hotspot, the story not only revealed the culture and people of a small Texas town, but it reminded me of the many reasons why I love West Texas and the people who live there.
The plot is more complex than one might think at first glance, leading the reader on to discoveries about the characters and the town of Daily, Texas. And in the process, the reader learns much about him or herself, discovering that fame is highly underrated, compared to the joy of finding true love.
The story is told in alternating chapters, using the voices and point-of-views of the young Mandalay Florentino and the older Imagene Doll. At first, I was not interested in Imagene’s POV, but as I read on, I realized how important she was to the story. Mandalay caught my attention from the first, perhaps because I had met the author and identified that voice with her.
The author is an expert of the similes and metaphors contained in the language of Texas residents. One could almost create a lexicon of West Texas idioms from this novel. The novel is also an expose of the “reality” shows, revealing gimmicks and reminding the reader to not believe that what we see on TV is always the “real” thing. However, with the depiction of Amber, one is led to think that maybe, just maybe, there are some people who have not sold out to Hollywood (or other places) and that if there were more people like Mandalay, our entertainment would be of better quality.
Here are two of my favorite lines:
“Those dreams, the ones that are dreamed for us, not by us, are the truest of all” (242).
“It made me wonder what else I might of missed, just because I was afraid” (122).
If you want to learn more of Lisa Wingate and her writing, go to http://www.lisawingate.com/