Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Devil in the Junior League

Here comes another audiobook review for Audiobook Week over at Devourer of Books.

I recently listened to The Devil in the Junior League by Linda Francis Lee. It was great! It's not highly sophisticated literature, but it's fun, enjoyable, and not entirely frivolous.

It is the story of Fredericka Mercedes Hildebrand Ware, a young but powerful member of the JLWC (The Junior League of Willow Creek). Everything about her life is about wearing the right clothes, knowing the right people, and saying the right things. In a series of horrifying revelations, "Frede" finds out that her husband is leaving her and has stolen all of her money. She must do things she never thought possible in order to restore herself (and her bank account) into proper order.

Frede, though maddeningly snobby, is actually a very likable character, and does come around on a lot of things as a result of her ordeals. I was completely taken by the story, and drove around aimlessly at certain points because I couldn't wait to find out what was going to happen. I was always sad when I reached my destinations in the car. The book is probably not for everyone, and it probably appealed to me specifically for a couple of reasons.

First, the location. It takes place in her hometown of Willow Creek, Texas. The town is fictional, but from various day trips throughout the story to real places like San Antonio, Austin, and Fredericksburg, it seems like it is supposed to be located somewhere in the Hill Country--probably west of San Antonio and Austin. As I am from San Antonio, currently reside in Austin, and have spent a great deal of time in the Hill Country-the places all seemed familiar to me and that was exciting. The author also mentions local Texas places like H-E-B grocery stores!

The second reason the story especially interested me was the subject matter: the Junior League. I was a member of a Junior League when I lived in Atlanta for a couple of years. I eventually quit because school was taking up too much time, but I really enjoyed it. My experience was nothing like what is described in the book, but a lot of the lingo was the same. The book held up a lot of typical Texas stereotypes about Junior Leagues and sororities. So if you're not from Texas, read it with a grain of salt. Not everyone's like that, but there is certainly a hint of truth in its pages.

Finally, the reader was phenomenal. I probably enjoyed this book more because it was an audiobook. She had a perfect Texas drawl, and made the whole southern aspect of the story really come alive.

Overall, it was the perfect story to keep me entertained in the car. I'd definitely recommend it to someone who wants a fun read, and particularly recommend checking out the audiobook version!

Has anyone read it? Do you find that you enjoy books more that take place in familiar places and have local elements in the story?


Katie said...

Because there aren't many books set in KY... I love it when books are set in London. After three months there I'm familiar enough to pick up on some of the references and I miss it so much I love the mental trip back!

Just Mom said...

I read this one not too long ago and thought it was fun. Did you see that Jennifer Garner bought the rights to it?

Jen - Devourer of Books said...

Love when narrators can make a book better than it would be if you were just reading!

Caitlin said...

Yes, I saw that Jennifer Garner bought the rights to it. I can't wait to see what comes of it!!