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A debut novel that's skimpy on plot but abundant in humor and plain truth--the necessary ingredients in a blue-collar single mom's own recipe for survival. Gabby Fulbriten lives with her three children in the last house on the road to the dump in Leadbelly, Vermont. She works part-time in a grocery store and occupies herself at home by piecing quilts together, listening to Shakespeare plays on cassette, and contemplating the human condition, especially the condition of being an overweight, unmarried mother who's hoping for the right man to come rescue her from life by the dump. Not that Gabby suffers any real illusions about men. She's lived with a couple of them and watched each one go off and leave her with squalling babies, a sick old dog, and plumbing bills she can't pay. Now the men in her life tend to be garbage collectors or bill collectors or Mormon missionaries seeking to convert her. But Gabby never succumbs to self-pity. She puts everything into perspective by inventing mock recipes using the ingredients of her own life--recipes for things like Families on the Half Shell or Wieners 'n' Rage. Stone's writing is wonderful, blunt, and assured, and her Vermont setting, complete with plain-spoken neighbors, dump trucks speeding by, and cows mating in the next field, is fully evoked and believable as is Gabby herself. Finally, though, we wish for something more here--some turn of plot, some hint of change. Recipes are fine, but cooks know that what everybody clamors for is the finished product--at some point you have to light a fire and let things fry. Funny and true, good and wry, but needs stirring.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1995
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Norton