Saturday, March 26, 2011

Shoot the Moon by Billie Letts

How ironic that I should be sitting in the Nashville airport and reading a Billie Letts novel. For those of you who are not familiar with Billie Letts, she is the woman who wrote Where the Heart Is, which was made into a movie most affectionately known as the Walmart Baby movie. So as you can see this book is a very country type of reading.

Shoot the Moon has the same rural Oklahoma small-town scenery as Where the Heart Is. It brought back memories of old dirt roads leading out to dilapidated old trailers and small houses. It reminded me of my own upbringing. I could see a run-down hole in the wall pool hall that doubled as the local burger place. I could imagine a Dollar General Store on the corner across the street from the local bank and the gas station that had two pumps, one of which was always out of order.

The premise of the story is a murder mystery. A young mother is stabbed to death and her young infant baby's body was never found. Some twenty years later, a young Californian veterinarian man's parents die and he discovers he was adopted. When he flies out to the small Oklahoman town where his life began, he discovers it was his mother who was murdered...and the one who done it is a person you'd never suspect.

A full cast of characters including a tough-guy sheriff who has a thing for beating his wife (though has never touched his only son, who has Downs Syndrome), a pool hall owner and her world-travelling daughter who has returned home after learning she is pregnant, a set of giggling, sparkly Native American girls and a few rusty old men who play dominoes at the pool hall every day.

Shoot the Moon is a memorable story with a classic rural town feel. I'd recommend it to all those who enjoy happy endings.