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Gods in Alabama by Joshilyn Jackson

Gods in Alabama

by Joshilyn Jackson

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1,627807,437 (3.79)71
For 10 years Arlene has kept her promises, and God has kept His end of the bargain. Until now. When an old schoolmate from Possett turns up at Arlene's door in Chicago asking questions about Jim Beverly, former quarterback and god of Possett High, Arlene's break with her former hometown is forced to an end. At the same time, Burr, her long-time boyfriend, has raised an ultimatum: introduce him to her family or consider him gone. Arlene loves him dearly but knows her lily white (not to mention deeply racist)Southern Baptist family will not understand her relationship with an African American boyfriend. Reluctantly, Arlene bows to the pressure, and she and Burr embark on the long-avoided road trip back home. As Arlene digs through guilt and deception, her patched-together alibi begins to unravel, and she discovers how far she will go for love and a chance at redemption.… (more)

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Showing 1-5 of 79 (next | show all)
After a killer first line (which gets repeated throughout the story), it's pretty much downhill. The idea for the plot was interesting, but the telling seemed crass and was full of holes and awkward devices. At the end I felt like all the characters had regressed into a sort of lukewarm morality where as long as everybody's getting along, everything's okay. Though most of the plot was set in Alabama, nothing about gods in Alabama contributed to the sense of place I've been seeking in my Alabama reading.

Jackson is funny and gave her characters a handful of surprising insights; it's too bad I felt ever-so-slightly dirtier when I'd finished the book. ( )
  rhowens | Nov 26, 2019 |
Arlene has a complicated life that involves her past and her future, and the two collide on a trip home to Alabama. At the beginning, I was disturbed by some of the language and what was going on with Arlene/Lena when she was a teenager, but I stuck with the book, and I'm glad I did. I could hardly put it down during the second half. There is a twist at the end that I did not expect. When you read this book, stick with it, and remember that not all is as it seems. ( )
  hobbitprincess | Jun 7, 2018 |
This is a novel I saw highly recommended but didn't know too much about going into it. And since it jumps among many genres - romantic comedy, mystery, Southern gothic - it kept me guessing what would happen next (in a good way). The narrator Arlene Fleet leaves her hometown in rural Alabama after a "miracle," and promises God three things: never to lie, never to fornicate, and to never return to Possett, Alabama. 10 years later, an old classmate from Possett appears in Arlene's life and forces her to make the decision to break all three promises.

Accompanying Arlene on her journey back to Alabama is her African-American boyfriend/potential fiance, setting up a confrontation with Arlene's racist relatives. Arlene also has to contend with her strong-willed Aunt Florence, who raised her when her own mother suffered mental illness. And she has to contend with the legacy of the popular high school quarterback, Jim Beverly. There's also an unsolved murder. The murder is mentioned early in the book, so this is no spoiler, but the how and the why of the murder unfold over the narrative.

It's an interesting and entertaining book that shifts from funny to dark on a dime. I think it gets a bit too contrived toward the end, but by that time I was too invested in the characters to be bothered too much. Of course, not knowing what exactly type of book this is helps in not anticipating its many twists. ( )
1 vote Othemts | May 9, 2018 |
Joshilyn Jackson takes the reader on a roller coaster ride with a comic and suspenseful introduction. Jackson discloses as the first narrative that she murdered someone back in Alabama, her hometown. From there on, the reader is engaged and riveted to the book in solving this mystery. Did she really murder someone? You want to read on and find out. I read this over 1 weekend and the guy I was with got hooked on the book also. He finished the book before I did. If you can get a guy to finish a book written by a female writer, you know it is engaging. Most guys dislike chick flicks or anything catered toward women. This is a light reading good for nights when you choose to stay in, the story goes at a fast pace so you can take this to the beach for summer reading. ( )
  majestic131 | Feb 24, 2018 |
I was very disappointed in this book. It disturbed me from the beginning. I couldn't tell if the author wanted me to question the sanity of all of the characters or not. I rated it a 2, but it would be a 2.5. It did keep me interested.... ( )
  dazedbybooks | Nov 23, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 79 (next | show all)
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For Betty before me and Maisy after
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There are Gods in Alabama: Jack Daniel's, high school quarterbacks, trucks, big tits, and also Jesus.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Average: (3.79)
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