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Sunday Clothes by Thom Lemmons

Sunday Clothes

by Thom Lemmons

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Plot Summary: What happens, When & Where, Central Characters, Major Conflicts
Lemmons' Sunday Clothes is set at the turn of the twentieth century in eastern Tennessee. Young Addie Caswell is in love with a smooth-talking insurance salesman, Zeb, but she cannot gain Jacob's--her widower father's--approval to marry him. Zeb's a Campbellite, or member of the Church of Christ, and Jacob is a Methodist. Jacob claims that Campbellites are too literal-minded even to talk to, though of course he's equally muleheaded. In despair, Addie defies her father and marries Zeb, but then Zeb turns out to have an appetite for other women. Maybe that shy young Methodist that Jacob was trying to marry her to wasn't such a bad choice after all, but in any case Lemmons does a fine job bringing to life denominational wars. In the bargain, he tells the story of Chattanooga, where Cherokee and Coca-Cola lores blend colorfully.

Style Characterisics: Pacing, clarity, structure, narrative devices, etc.
This story is rich with historical detail, and the portorayal of the early days of the Church of Christ movement was interesting, if not very flattering to people of that denomination (though Addie's Methodist father is pretty pig-headed too). But the plot doesn't seem to go anywhere beyond Addie's early struggles to win Zeb and then survive after he leaves her for another women. She doesn't hook up with anyone else, and while we learn about how childhood friend ministers to young people at the YMCA and sends a young man to art school that's as far as it goes.

How Good is it?
Kind of bland, interesting characters but an unsatisfying end. ( )
  debs4jc | Oct 20, 2006 |
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