Claiming 1st Prize in the 2012 Shirley You Jest Fiction Book Awards, J.W. Bull’s Pickin’ Tomatoes was ripe for review. Deemed a romantic comedy, I found there was so much more to be found in the pages of this novel. . . self-discovery, overcoming loss, and the necessity of genuine friendship.
Not only was a smile spread across my face as I sat reading during my daughters’ dance class, but tears flowed, too, during a young protagonist‘s dialogue with her mother, losing a battle with breast cancer:
“Momma? You don’t feel so good?” I whispered as I peeked from behind Daddy’s legs. The hospital was a scary place with weird smells and lots of whiteness. Where were all the colors? Momma stretched out her hand to me. I crept around Daddy and put my hand in hers. It felt dry and warm. “Sometimes even mommies get sick, Maggie,” she replied in a voice that didn’t sound like her. (Loc 548 of 3590 Kindle)
as well as a first-time pregnant woman at the deathbed of her father:
For a time, we stayed like that, curled up in the hospital bed together. Joined by memories and hearts. Until I felt his body begin to relax and his eyes closed.
And he went home to Momma. (Loc 1477 of 3590 Kindle)
Thus, the anecdotes sprinkled throughout such as: “Finding Mister Right is like washing dishes. Just when you think he’s squeaky clean- bam! You find dried up, crusty old egg on him” (Loc 42 of 3590 Kindle) kept the pace of this work moving right along. In addition to the various literacy elements interspersed throughout, J.W. Bull offers the reader easy-to-decipher, mouthwatering recipes sure to please any food lover.
So, for the purposes of book club, assign one recipe found at the back of Pickin’ Tomatoes to each bookie. This way everyone has a chance to sample each delicacy written about and compare ease of execution with the main character, Maggie Malone. Food for the mind and body. . . Pickin’ Tomatoes is a win win!