Monday, February 25, 2013

The Cherry Cola Book Club, by Ashton Lee

Meet Maura Beth Mayhew, a late 20-something red-headed public library director in Cherico, Mississippi, population approximately 5,000 located in northern Mississippi. Maura Beth has three things to accomplish before she is thirty (plus a p.s.).

Right this minute, Maura Beth is sick with worry over the rumor that the Cherico’s “leadership” has little use for its public library and wants to use the library’s operating money to make improvements to the industrial park!

The Cherry Cola Book Club is then born to demonstrate to Councilmen Durden Sparks, Chunky Badham, and Gopher Joe Martin just how important a public library – in particular the Cherico Public Library – is to the community it serves.

Local radio personality Becca Broccoli began to advertise the Club on her morning cooking show; Periwinkle Lattimore offered half price desserts or free drinks to patrons showing up at her restaurant, The Twinkle, Twinkle CafĂ©, with a library card; and even Mr. Hannigan over at the Cherico Market got into the act with his “Attention, shoppers!” announcements.

Sure enough, the idea of terrific food sprinkled with more than a dash of literary conversation began to take hold in that tiny town. Besides, when folks began to hear that their LIBRARY might be shuttered for good, their good sense turned to smoldering anger.

People poured into the Library, bringing their grandmother’s recipe for tomato aspic with cream cheese or yeast rolls. The Club ate Becca Broccoli’s Easy Peasy Chicken Spaghetti, discussed "Gone with the Wind" and "To Kill a Mockingbird", and then enjoyed Maura Beth’s Chocolate, Cherry Cola sheet cake for dessert. And yes, that sly but single-minded Councilman Sparks was there also – keeping tabs on attendance and trying his best to outwit Maura Beth.

Eventually, more than half of the town’s registered voters signed petitions of protest. A huge crowd of citizens appeared to stand beside Maura Beth as she made her pitch for continued public library funding from the Town.

Would the Cherico Public Library live to serve the Chericoans another day? Would Miss Voncille and the widower Locke Linwood get together? Would Stout Fella survive his heart attack? How do you make Connie McShay’s Frozen Fruit Salad?

These and other mysteries of small town Cherico, Mississippi life will be made known to you as you zip through Ashton Lee’s delightful novel, The Cherry Cola Book Club which is to be published in March of 2013 by Kensington Publishing Corporation of New York. This book is suitable for all libraries and will be enjoyed by patrons of all ages.

Reviewed by Catherine A. Nathan, Director
First Regional Library

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1 comment:

  1. I have it on reserve and can hardly wait to read it. It sounds like it will be real good.