Wednesday, August 3, 2011

#BookReview: Third Girl from the Left - Martha Southgate

There comes a time in every woman's life when she realizes that her mother is human.  I mean, logically, you know that your mother is human, of course.  And to any other observer, it's extremely obvious.  But there's a point, as a daughter, when you realize that she's just as imperfect and capable of making mistakes as anyone else.  Martha Southgate's Third Girl From the Left beautifully exposes the flaws of three generations of women who are anything but perfect.

Raising a family in 1950s Tulsa, Oklahoma, Mildred finds her escape in film.  Weekly matinees at the local theater provide an escape from her role as wife and mother.  As the wife of the town's only black pharmacist, Mildred's place in society means she must abide by a strict set of rules.  A blossoming friendship with the projectionist would be frowned upon if anyone were to find out about it.

Though they often butt heads about other things, one thing Mildred and her daughter, Angela, can agree on is their love of film.  Angela knows she's not the daughter Mildred wants her to be (and the feeling is mutual) and dreams of the day when she can escape her small town living for the bright lights of Hollywood.  Once there she finds that Hollywood is full of small town girls with the same dream.  That doesn't stop her from trying to get her big break.  Along the way, she also finds love in the most unlikely person.

As the daughter and granddaughter of Mildred and Angela, respectively, Tamara has the love of movies in her blood.  Angela wasn't the best mother, but she saw to it that Tamara's basic needs were met.  Her emotional distance has left Tamara struggling to maintain a relationship not only with her, but with her film school boyfriend as well.  When Mildred takes ill, it is Tamara and her camera that build a bridge between Mildred and Angela.

What did you like about this book?
I loved each of the women.  They were all amazing in their own right.  And I LOVED that Southgate set this story in Tulsa and highlighted Black Wall Street and the 1921 riots.  As someone that has visited Tulsa several times, I was familiar with the history, but I was excited to see it used as part of the back story for Mildred.

What didn't you like about this book?
I wish Angela had more of herself to give to Tamara.  Like I said before, she provided basic needs, but I almost felt like Tamara got in the way of the life Angela wanted and she kept her at a distance as punishment for that.

What could the author do to improve this book?
Absolutely nothing!

Published: September 2005

Theme: Wide Open Spaces by The Dixie Chicks

No comments :

Post a Comment