I first read Trigiani in a compilation book of American female authors. I was intrigued by Trigiani's writing style and decided to give this novel a try as my first full read from her. What a story! A novel full of life lessons all can relate to and characters that you'll love and hate. I loved the book so much, that I immediately read the sequel "Big Cherry Holler" the next day! Easy to read- you could plow through both books in a day.
The characters made me feel warm and cozy even if the story seemed a waste of time. The story was ridiculous and trite, but escaping to the beautiful scenery and joining in the company of a local drug store pharmacist, a book-mobile driver and a bunch of fun-lovin' other characters was embarrassingly fun. My literary senses were entirely assaulted and I love it. Kinda kinky in a bookworm way... I guess sometimes your story life needs a little trashy spice!
This charming book reminded me of the movie "Waitress" (starring Keri Russell and Nathan Fillion) ... in fact, so much did it remind me of the movie that, remembering the name of the female writer/director of "Waitress" was some form of "Adrian," I had to make sure the author and the director were not the same person. (They aren't. This is Adriana Trigiana; "Waitress" was Adrienne Shelly.)
Still, if you liked "Waitress," you might like this book. The qualities of "Waitress" this reminds me of are the tone (that hard to define way of being naturally quirky, effortlessly conveying the idea that the characters are just like this without being aware that it's unusual), the small-town setting, and the piercing insight of the main character's revelations into the world around her and her place in it.
It's a great book to curl up with on a rainy day or a slow Sunday. I read a lot of books in quick 5-minute "bites" of time; this was not a good book for that type of reading. It's a book to take some time with in order to enjoy the progress of the rolling storyline. (Not that the storyline is "slow" - there are plenty of interesting plot developments - but it doesn't have intermittent climactic moments or chapter-by-chapter cliffhangers as so many modern novels do.)
I had never read anything by Trigiani before, but this book may have made me a fan. I will be ordering more of her novels ASAP.
This is the second book I've read by Adriana Trigiani and I intend on reading everything else she has written! Loved this story about "Ave Maria," a single woman in her 30's who, after her mother dies, finds that she needs a change. Full of wonderful characters, this book does not disappoint!
My first Adriana Trigiani book and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The peole were true-to-life, very much like Southerners act, speak and think....with both the good and bad traits presented.
Set in 1978 in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, Big Stone Gap is a typical coal-mining town. The people are dependant on the coal mines for their living, even as they deny that the mines are responsible for the Black Lung and other related diseases that take their menfolk. Ave Marie Mulligan, the town pharmacist and self-proclaimed spinster, discovers she's not who she always thought she was when her mother dies and Ave Marie discovers a letter her mother wrote to her before her death. That letter starts her on a journey of self-discovery, for herself and the ones she holds dear.
For a book that will make you stop and question your own life-goals, follow Ave Marie as she learns who she really is and finds that sometimes you have to lose your old self before you can find who you really are.
Just OK, not great. The main character was a bit of a yammering grump.
I did like the sub plot...the birth family search, etc. The romance was just unbelievable! She seemed like a very unlovable character to me. She treated this guy poorly and he kept coming back for more!
This is apparently third in a trilogy. I did not read the first two but plan to. Big Stone Gap is in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia. This is about a 35 year old "spinster" (according to town standards)who finds her life is not what she always thought it was.
Elizabeth D. reviewed Big Stone Gap (Big Stone Gap, Bk 1) on
about 70's small town in beautiful applician mts. Story of an italian girl who finally finds love after being unmarried for so long. It is really great because the references etc. and mannerisms about italian families combined with added recipes actually in books are so realistic. Its a great love story too. Made me cry!
This is the first in series of three by this author. I am a huge fan of her books. Great writing & each book is filled with great characters & her writing is so smooth & easy to read. Can't wait for further books from her. Don't miss Hometo Big Stone Gap, Rococo, The Queen of the Big Time & Lucia, Lucia. All wonderful stories. She is now one of my all time favorite writers.
This was a fast read. When I got to the last page I couldn't believe the book was done, now I am on to the 2nd book. Can't wait to see what the movie will be like (since the author is the one directing and writing the movie). I think a lot more time with her father would have been nice, but the time that was spent was very quick!! I don't read many fiction stories much anymore but I sure liked this semi-autobiographical fiction.
One of those books where the characters become your friends, you know and understand them so well. Life in Big Stone Gap begins to feel like home. And Ave Maria feels like she could have been your sister, you are that much like her. This is a feel good book and I savoured the last few pages, as I hated for it to come to an end. Yes, I recommend it. You'll be glad you read it.
Rhonda A. reviewed Big Stone Gap (Big Stone Gap, Bk 1) on
I wasn't sure I was going to like this book when I first began reading it, but after a couple of pages into it, I became completely smitten with the characters, and the charm of the author's writing style. A great "getaway" read!
This is absolutely one of my favorite books. It is well written. The pace of the book continues to move forward. One is left with such a good feeling that you will want to read the other three books in this series.
This book was such a surprise. It started off kind of slow, but very quickly became so interesting I could not put it down. The back cover says that this is "a gem of a book with a giant heart" and I could not agree more. Ave Maria Mulligan is a true heroine and so down to earth and lovable that women everywhere can identify with her. I can't wait to get my hands on the sequel! I highly recommend this book.
This author is one of my favorites and I enjoyed this book a lot. The characters are well developed and a little quirky. The setting is interesting and the story well told. Just a light read with laughs and a few sad incidents. If you enjoyed Lucia, Lucia you will probably like this one, too.
In the town of Big Stone Gap, Virginia, not much happens. The highlight of 35-year-old Ave Maria Mulligan's week comes on Friday, with the arrival of the Bookmobile, the sight of which sends her into raptures. Her favorite book concerns the ancient Chinese art of reading faces. Through her face-readings, we come to understand the hostilities simmering within her family: her father whose small eyes are the clear "sign of a deceptive nature." Her aunt who "has a small head and thin lips. (That's a terrible combination.)" Adriana Trigiani's first novel concerns the family scandals that befall Ave Maria in this seemingly uneventful town. Greed, lust, envy--all the ancient emotional elements--manifest themselves even in this hamlet of "ordinary folk."
**A good book with lots of interesting characters. I'm looking forward to reading the sequel.**
I really enjoyed reading this book-- I found the characters engaging, the plot mellow but interesting, and the setting of the book fascinating. The author's writing style is lovely and descriptive, and the dialog between characters very believable. Overall, the reading experience was like sinking into a good movie. I'm now reading the sequel and enjoying that as well.
A "comfort" read, highly praised by the New York Times, USA Today, and Whoopi Goldberg on the cover. Small-town life is depicted in ways that everyone can understand, and the heroine very believable. You feel like you know this person intimately. Good read.
I had this book a long time before I finally chose it to read. While it was interesting, it did not hold a candle to "Bloodroot" by Amy Greene, which I had just finished, and loved. Read them both and see if you don't agree with me.
BIG STONE GAP is absolutely the best! A must read for anyone who likes their characters off-beat, but real; their plot line veering, but funny; and the ending not an ending at all but a new start!
From back cover: Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, the tiny town of Big Stone Gap is home to some of the most charming eccentrics in the state. Ave Maria Mulligan is the town's self-proclaimed spinster, a thirty-five year old pharmacist with a "mountain girl's body and a flat behind." She lives an amiable life with good friends and lots of hobbies until the fateful day in 1978 when she suddenly discovers that she's not who she always thought she was. Before she can blink, Ave's fielding marriage proposals, fighting off greedy family members, organizing a celebration for visiting celebrities, and planning the trip of a lifetimea trip that could change her view of the world and her own place in it forever. Brimming with humor and wise notions of small-town life, Big Stone Gap is a gem of a book with a giant heart. . . .
I am in the minority here. I really did not like this book. The main character was unlikable and the circumstances seemed contrived. I slogged through the whole thing thinking that it would get better because of the many positive reviews both here and on amazon but for me, it didn't.
Another buddy read in my online book club, The Reading Cove. I can't agree with most of the other reviews here on this. I've renamed it BIG STONE YAWN.
The story line seemed to be of the "make it up as you go along" ilk. Much of the events surrounding Ave felt too contrived. Started off cozy and quaint, but contrived for happy-ever-after with everything.
I can't recommend, and I won't continue the series. :(
I agree with People (who chose it as their Book of the Week -- it's Delightful, quirky, the characters are unique and the unexpected plot twists pull you throuhg to the end. Whoopie Goldberg proclaimed it as her all time favorite!
"Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, the tiny town of Big Stone Gap is home to some of the most charming eccentrics in the state." Whoopi Goldbert says, "It's one of my all-time favorite novels....unforgettable."
Book one with a sequel: A pharmacist in a small town, important and friends with everyone but without love. After discovering her real father and coming to grips that she was not who she thought she was, she made changes only to be turned around in a new direction with a proposal from a childhood friend - who would have thought?
The story continues (in a second book)..........with more twists and the same friends you knew in this book.
A book that I enjoyed because it was written like life unfolds. I felt like I knew the town folk as if I lived there.
Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, the tiny town of Big Stone Gap is home to some of the most charming eccentrics in the state. Ave Maria Mulligan is the town's self-proclaimed spinster, a thirty-five-year-old pharmacist with a "mountain girl's body and a flat behind." She lives an amiable life with good friends and lots of hobbies until the fateful day in 1978 when she suddenly discovers that she's not who she always thought she was. Before she can blink, Ave's fielding marriage proposals, fighting off greedy family members, organizing a celebration for visiting celebrities, and planning the trip of a lifetime--a trip that could change her view of the world and her own place in it forever. Brimming with humor and wise notions of small-town life, Big Stone Gap is a gem of a book with a giant heart.
This was a neat book...the first I've read by this author, and I was pleased to see that she has a sequel to this (Big Cherry Holler) that's set 8 years after the conclusion of Big Stone Gap. Told in the first person, I really enjoyed the writing style. Books set in the late 70's but written post 2000 are rare, and this is truly a gem!
Nested in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, the tiny town of Big Stone Gap is home to some of the most charming eccentrics in the state. Ave Maria Mulligan is the town's self-proclaimed spinster, a thrity-five-old pharmacist with a "mountain girl's body and a flat behind." She lives an amiable life with good friends and lots of hobbies until the fateful day in 1978 when she suddenly discovers that she's not who she always thought she was. Before she can blink, Ave's fielding marriage proposals, fighting off greedy family members, organizing a celebration for visiting delebrities, and planning the trip of a lifetime---a trip that could change her view of the world and her own place in it forever. 'FUNNY, CHARMING, AND ORIGINAL'...Fannie Flagg......."ITS ONE OF MY ALL-TIME FAVORITE NOVELS...UNFORGETTABLE"....Whoopi Goldberg