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The Florabama Ladies' Auxiliary & Sewing Circle

3.46  ·  Rating Details ·  1,805 Ratings  ·  167 Reviews

Welcome to Florabama, Alabama-a place where you can stop to sip a co'cola or iced tea and think about money and love. If you had 'em, you were free to think about other things. If you didn't, you couldn't think about anything else.

"We've been screwed blue and tattooed," quips Hilly Pruitt, upon hearing the news of the closing of Cherished Lady, the local lingerie factory

Hardcover, Large Print, 592 pages
Published August 1st 2001 by Thorndike Press (first published March 19th 2001)
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Aug 15, 2009 Elise rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Snore. Characters were shallow, plot was canned and never quite developed. Love the idea of the small southern town and a group of its women trying to improve their lives, but it just never took shape!
Overall, I liked this book. I didn't like some of the stereotypes the author used (for example, the Indian family who owned the motel at the interstate exit in southern Alabama, and all the black service workers).

I was 3/4 of the way through the novel when I finally understood the title, and I think that should have been evident earlier. It took a long time for her to set the scene. I understand that she wanted to create empathy for the characters, and that takes time, but it seemed like lots of
I enjoyed some parts of this book tremendously, but overall it was mediocre. The author tried to cram too many characters in, and as a result it seemed that most of them ended up flat, like wallpaper. I think I still could have given the book a 3 instead of a 2, but the overuse of "sotto voce" in this novel was quite honestly unforgivable to me. The term was out of place, not fitting with the writing style at all, and it shouldn't have made it in even once. I counted at least eight uses of it (o ...more
May 12, 2009 Tammie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: southern-lit
This book was enjoyable. Some parts more than others. While the writer did well on the chapters concerning her main charactor Bonnie, who is upper-middle class, she treats Bonnie's students, women who have worked in a factory that has shut down due to foreign competition, as one-dimentional, childlike creatures. There is a condescending presence with them throughout the book, as if people caught up in this kind of life and work are somehow less complete personalities and of lower intelligence. ...more
May 27, 2014 Janice rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: chick-lit, fiction
If you read the jacket leaves, you've read the book.
Nov 07, 2011 Joan rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book was disappointing. It started out fine. I could follow where the author was going. Then it just got lost. There were so many points that where left up in the air. A sewing club was just mentioned in passing 3/4 of the way thru the book. Was hoping for talk about the womens club and their none of that.
You don't know what happens in the end. Where does the main character go? What happens to Roxy...does she come back and give the money back? Does Hilly get married? Wh
Another book where the title promised sewing and didn't deliver. There is a sewing bit in the last third of the book, but it isn't explored as well as it could have been. The story follows the ladies as they are downsized out of jobs, and try to find their way in new situations, returning to school and finding work. The sewing circle becomes a way to make some money, but even that has a disaster that the central character should have seen coming, I sure did. It annoys me when a woman is portraye ...more
girl writing
This kept my interest enough to finish it but afterward the only description I have is 'flat'. I didn't really get how Bonnie (the main character) could step in to her new job without having worked in 20 or so years and be successful. The book didn't cover that much. One day she's new on the job and the next time she's at work, she's established support groups and rapport. And, it started to bother me how many times she didn't remember something from her past when talking to childhood and colleg ...more
Jul 30, 2012 R. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I got out this book because it was about women coming together to do something useful and form important friendships. They do form friendships even though they are from vastly different walks of life and are there for each other. The southern expressions used in the story are very humorous – made me laugh out loud at times and I needed to read a few to my husband! I was surprised that the sewing circle wasn't more central to the story . . . only a small part really. The story is much more about ...more
Jul 27, 2011 Cid rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very light. Another story of women at a life crossing banding together. I admit that I tend to enjoy those themes so I didn't hate it, but there wasn't much to distinguish it from many other books of a similar kind.
Mar 29, 2009 Kristi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: chick-lit
Didn't have high hopes when I found this random book at the beach house I was visiting, but I was pleasantly surprised. I liked the protagonists, and found it to be an all right story. Although, the title of the book is dumb.
Jan 16, 2008 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kind of a silly read, but I enjoyed very much. It is a "coming-of-age" for a southern woman jilted by her ex-husband.
Good fun.
Aug 09, 2008 Kate rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great serious/funny book about the South.

How do Battle's characters and their stories reflect current issues and trends in the South, and in America in general?
Well, the book was written about 12 years ago. I was in college at the time so my world was very removed from hers. I am a native Alabamian, but I've always lived in a bigger city whereas Florabama is a small town. I can say that in my own family, we've experienced a situation where one of my relatives had to shut down his own factory because people were able
Marsha Paul
Mar 03, 2017 Marsha Paul rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved it! Great book!
I enjoy Lois Battle's writing, for the most part. It's usually undemanding, has an interesting story, and can be enjoyed without a need to Google meanings of words or finding out more about historic events (that's fun, too, but that's for when I have more ambition).

Florabama etc., is about women who have been thrown out of work thanks to their factory going out of business, and their new college counselor who is starting over after her husband squanders their savings and then abandons her.

Elizabeth Castro
The Florabama Ladies' Auxiliary and Sewing Circle story is a cute chick lic friendship story, but falls short with almost no ending. I don't know what becomes of the main character Bonnie (says she'll be okay,) nor the ladies in the sewing circle.
Also the story is dripping with racism, at times so distracting from the plot line, I just wondered, what in the world?
"She'd missed the name, but the compulsive and insistent bonhomie with which the dean was stressing their lifelong friendship led he
May 11, 2015 Dexter rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: contemporary
I wanted to like this book so much. I was totally in love with it when I found it at a thrift store -- everything from the title to the actual plot summary looked interesting. I saw the less than impressed reviews online, but read it anyway.

Maaaaaaaan. Such a disappointment.

None of the characters were all that interesting. They were basically two types of characters: the Bonnies and the Casses. There was the "conservative" polite character (AKA Bonnie) and the bff rough and tough character (AKA
hoo boy, was this one fluffy. granted, i kind of needed that after reading House of Sand and Fog. Make no mistake, if you're from the South particularly, or ever lived there for any length of time, you'll probably see some things in here that ring true. or recognize one of the myriad Southernisms sprinkled throughout. In a nutshell, an Atlanta socialite in the midst of a messy divorce makes a new life for herself in a small town, helping out a group of women recently laid off from their factory ...more
When the Cherished Lady lingerie factory closes in Florabama, AL, Ruthie, Hilly and their former co-workers sign up for classes at the local community college. Their first stop in this new endeavor is with Bonnie Cullman, who has just been hired to run the Displaced Homemakers Program, "where the ex-bra seamstresses of Cherished Lady await her wisdom", as the book cover humorously states. Bonnie is not feeling too wise, though, as she has recently discovered that her unfaithful husband, who she ...more
Oct 05, 2015 Jen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
A solid tribute to the resiliency of the human spirit, The Florabama Ladies’ Auxiliary & Sewing Circle features a winning diverse group of women, all of them struggling to deal with life’s large and small adversities. Whether weathering the loss of a job, man, home or family, these women suffer, complain, sink or rise and the best of them realize that you can’t always do it alone and that it’s fine to ask and accept help.

From children to old women, Ms. Battle gives each of these people indi
Sarah Brehm
I forgot I had written a review of this on Amazon. Felt like adding it here:

It took my a long time to finish the last 70 pages of The Florabama Ladies' Auxiliary and Sewing Circle because I just got bored with the story. Lois Battle has a wonderful writing style, and the characters were well-defined; but style is only one element to a great book. The plot seemed like even it got bored with itself, and all it wanted to do was to find some sort of closure.

It also seemed like Battle couldn't decid
Sep 15, 2009 Elizabeth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Despite the fact that the author used the term "sotto voce" ad nauseam; I found this to be an enjoying read.

It tells the story of a group of women who find themselves at a turning point in their lives due to a clothing factory relocating "off shore"(an all to common occurance in today's world); how they handle the situation and the choices they make for the future. The main character has also had a personal crisis and life changing event in her life; she comes from a totally different world cul
I grabbed this book off the shelf at Half-Price books with the plan to take it with me when I went to lunch .. have something to eat, a nice glass of ice tea and enjoy the great outdoors. Well, I finished it in one day - well before the out-of-doors lunch. Welcome to Florabama, Alabama. Cherished Lady Lingerie factory has closed leaving many unemployed. Bonnie Duke Cullman, an Atlanta society wife has been downsized from her marriage and is out looking for a job. They all meet at the community c ...more
Aug 13, 2008 Mary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Mary by: The Library
This was the first book I read by this author. It was a good book, but not great. The story centers around a group of ladies that worked in a sewing factory in Alabama and the factory shuts its doors very suddenly. In steps a rich lady down on her luck and in the beginning of a divorce. She helps the ladies get back to school and helps them start their own company making dresses for little girls. There was no mystery and really not much going on in Alabama during the 1980s. I heard about this bo ...more
Oct 21, 2014 Linda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
News of the closing of Cerished Lady, the local lingerie factory sent the women who worked there in a fury. The same day the plant closes, Bonnie Duke Cullman drives through a Gulf Coast storm to the first real job of her life. Her country club and charity committee existence has come to an end as abruptly as her marriage and she has been hired to run the "Displaced Homemakers Program" for a podunk community college, where the former bro seamstresses of Cherished Lady await her wisdom. Bonnie an ...more
Shirley Adamson
I chose The Florabama Ladies Auxiliary & Sewing Circle, after having read Storyville, because I enjoyed Lois Battle's writing style. This novel was a better read, the characters were engaging and I found myself caught up in the ladies of Florabama almost immediately. A couple of the characters were loosely disengaged and the ending could have been stronger, still though, I enjoy this author's writing and will read more of her novels. I have "The Past is Another Country" on my to read list. ...more
Jun 11, 2016 Cassie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book itself was an enjoyable, easy read and I did like it. But I found myself getting frustrated with the main character. With how much pain the author took in describing all the minority and lower class characters, while she glossed over the affluent ones. With how she made the main character having lost all her money, but then still so very much full of privilege that by the end, I didn't really feel like she learned ANYthing about how others live, at least not on anything more than a supe ...more
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