I think not.
Yes, the story is terrific. Yes, the characters are well-drawn. Yes, the ongoing tension of a mother-daughter relationship is spot-on. Yes, the details of an evolving friendship are poignant. Yes, the awakening of first love is fraught with uncertainty. Yes, the theme of learning to accept and love oneself is a universal experience.
But this story takes place in Texas. And for me, the setting is an essential element to the story.
I cannot imagine this happening on the East Coast, West Coast, or any place near the Great Lakes. The narrative is dripping with the sass of hot sauce and nutty sweetness of pecan pralines.
Consider the following:
What is it about classic Southern names? It's the use of double names. The name often includes a traditional surname combined with a family name. With a double name, both names are always used together. Willowdean fits right in with Ida Mae, Mary Margaret, and Sue Ellen. It's part of the charm that is The South.
It's not a pageant. It's THE Pageant.
An alphabetical listing of twenty-five local Miss Texas pageants, beginning with Miss Arlington/Miss Mansfield and concluding with Miss White Settlement/Miss Grand Prairie is evidence of the enduring beauty competition phenomenon.
It's a lineup of classic Cadillacs, buried nose-down off the highway west of Amarillo. The original monument is now a constantly changing canvas for graffiti artists.
"Tourists are always welcome at Cadillac Ranch. If you bring spray paint, make sure to snap some photos. Because whatever you create at Cadillac Ranch will probably only last a few hours before it's created over by someone else".
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While Dolly is not from Texas, she's got the big hair, big voice, and big attitude. She wrote and recorded this country classic in 1973.
"Jolene. Jolene. Jolene. Jolene. I'm begging you please don't take away my man."
Feel free to sing along with Dolly, Wilowdean, and classic country music fans everywhere.