This book would be a per­fect Christ­mas gift

Serve Daily - - BUILDING COMMUNITY - By Deb­bie Bal­zotti

If you are look­ing for a book to give to a friend, a sis­ter, a mom, or a grand­mother, then “Big Stone Gap” by Adri­ana Tri­giani would be the per­fect gift. The long-awaited movie came out in Oc­to­ber, which brought this best-seller writ­ten in 2000 back into the spot­light.

Our book club unan­i­mously chose it as a fa­vorite a couple of years ago – which is re­mark­able for our di­verse group. I have en­joyed all of Tri­giani’s nov­els, but this one in­cludes char­ac­ters, hu­mor, themes and lo­ca­tions that place it on my top 10 list for gift giv­ing.

“Big Stone Gap” is a real vil­lage in the Blue Ridge Moun­tains of Vir­ginia filled with ec­cen­tric, fic­tional char­ac­ters. Hi­lar­i­ous events like the visit of ac­tress El­iz­a­beth Tay­lor (who really did visit Big Stone Gap in Oc­to­ber 1978 and choked on a chicken bone), are wo­ven into the story along with tales of the sad con­se­quences of hu­man er­ror.

In 1978, Ave Maria Mul­li­gan is 35 and the town “spin­ster.” She is the phar­ma­cist, a mem­ber of the Res­cue Squad and the di­rec­tor of the town’s an­nual out­door drama. Sud­denly, her or­derly life is turned up­side down as she tries to de­cide which suitor is her true love while deal­ing with shock­ing rev­e­la­tions about her past.

Ave is a flawed hero­ine who re­sponds to each new chal­lenge so un­pre­dictably you don’t know whether to ap­plaud or throw toma­toes.

I don’t want to in­clude any more de­tail here, be­cause the rev­e­la­tions in each chap­ter keep you turn­ing the pages. It’s a charm­ing Ap­palachian Cin­derella story with all the char­ac­ters nec­es­sary for a good fairy tale. There are more books in the se­ries, which means you can even bun­dle them up and give all four to those marathon read­ers on your Christ­mas gift list.

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