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Big City Girl by Charles Williams

Big City Girl

by Charles Williams

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"Big City Girl" was Williams' second published novel in 1951. He did publish three novels that same year, including his first one which was a major hit. "Big City Girl" is at once country pulp (or country blues as one commentator has put it) like Harry Whittington would write and crime thriller.
It is the story of a convicted robber, Sewell, on his way to the state penitentiary for what could be potentially the rest of his life, his bold escape, and his life on the run with every deputy and public minded citizen on the lookout for him. It is also the story of his wife, Joy, the Big City Girl, of the title, who, penniless, leaves the city to live for a time with Sewell's father and siblings on what remains of the farm out in the country. Sewell's father is an old, cantankerous broken down man. His brother is determined to save the farm, despite the fact that it may be only a hope and a prayer that anything will grow there and that the river won't rise and flood the fields. Everything they own has been sold piece by piece. They live in a one bedroom house without much. They are country poor and there isn't much left to sell except maybe the dog.

Joy is the character of the title and she is an aging beauty contest winner who frets that at the ripe old age of twenty-eight she may be too old and used up to attract attention, to attract a man. She is forever talking about her beauty contest days and her modeling days and wearing outfits too skimpy to avoid attracting the wrong kind of attention. Her first husband gambled away everything they owned. Her second husband is on the run from the law. She has only her figure left and she is morose and bitter.

Williams writes wonderfully and takes the reader into this bitter, desolate world with these incredible characters that just come to life on the page. This is a book that is easy to read and just absolutely engrossing. It is not as pulpy as some of his later novels. It is, however, just damn good writing. Highly recommended. ( )
  DaveWilde | Sep 22, 2017 |
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Her husband in jail, a desperate young woman takes refuge among sharecroppers. Once, Cass Neely's farm stretched across the entire valley, but decades of bad decisions and rotten luck have forced him to sell off nearly every inch. He and his son farm the meager remains of a once-great property, living in a grim downward spiral - until Cass's daughter-in-law, Joy, moves in. She's by far the most beautiful thing this county has ever seen, but she's flat broke since her husband, Sewell, was put away for armed robbery. She's also prickly, lazy, and vain - traits that don't sit well with hardscrabble living - and it isn't long before she starts to get a violent case of cabin fever. As the rains bear down and the river starts to threaten the cotton, Sewell escapes from police custody and heads for home. Come hell or high water, the Neely family will stick together, even if it means disaster.… (more)

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