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Plant Life

3.79  ·  Rating Details  ·  253 Ratings  ·  24 Reviews
Her luminous first novel, Moon Women, won the hearts of both readers and critics, who called it “richly textured...a pleasure to be savored by a writer to watch.” (Kirkus Reviews) Now Pamela Duncan returns to the rich landscape of the human heart with a lush, resonant novel about mothers and daughters, about family and friendship, about a woman at a turning point in her li ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published April 27th 2004 by Dial Press Trade Paperback (first published 2003)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 449)
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Aug 26, 2015 Jessica rated it it was amazing
I can't believe I forgot that I read this book. it just goes to show how I've grown over the years, and there is much more to gain from a book once you've lived some more.
Patsy Gantt
Mar 24, 2015 Patsy Gantt rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: All women
Loved this book. I finished it before I even had time to log in here and add it to my "currently reading" shelf. I almost did not even take the book off the library shelf when I saw the title on the spine. I thought it was a book about plants that you grow. Was I ever wrong. It is about life in a textile plant.

Laurel Granger is the lead character in this book. After her husband leaves her for a younger woman, she decides to go home for Christmas in Russell, North Carolina. A small town she left
JG (The Introverted Reader)
Laurel Granger lived for her husband, Scott, then he left her for another woman. Depressed, rootless, and alone in Vegas, Laurel decides to head back home to Russell, North Carolina. Without telling her parents what happened, she moves in with them. Well, it becomes obvious that Laurel isn't going back to Vegas and she needs a job. The only place that will hire her is the plant (factory) where her mother has worked for umpteen years. Laurel isn't happy to be going to work there, but at least it' ...more
Feb 14, 2016 Rachel rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2016
The author is able to portray a specific slice of southern life without resorting to southern stereotypes . Characters are well developed. Or at least the female characters are. The scenes set in a textile mill are realistic. While the title may confuse at first, southerners who worked in a textile mill or only lived in a town with a mill always referred to it as 'The Plant'. Hope to read more works by Pamela Duncan in the future.
Oct 20, 2014 Peg rated it it was amazing
Excellent story of multigenerational families and their lives in a cotton mill town in NC. Understand the author herself experienced acceptance letter to college being waylaid.
The stories told are similar to those of Doug Marlette's "The Bridge."
The primary characters in "Plant Life" are the women in the families - they held down full time, grueling jobs in a cotton mill while providing for all the needs of family and home.
Feb 22, 2008 Chris rated it it was amazing
I picked this up ages ago, and suddenly the time was right for reading it. Laurel is back home in small town North Carolina where her mother and her mothers friends all work at the textile mill. Laurel is newly divorced and her life is up in the air, while her mother is going through the change and her life is in equal chaos. We get to know these golden ladies through their lunch room chats and as they pull each other through rough patches in their lives. It's a "nice story" which sounds cheesy, ...more
Kitty Tomlinson
Mar 27, 2015 Kitty Tomlinson rated it really liked it
Story of Laurel, back at home in Russell, NC after a traumatic divorce. She ends up working at the same plant (textile mill) that her mother and her mother's friends work at. Good back story of her mother, grandmother and her plant friends. Highly recommend.
Jul 15, 2014 Garry rated it liked it
I read this after hearing the author interviewed on NPR/Fresh Air. Having grown up around a lot of textile workers the characters here were strongly resonant. If you want to read about strong women coping with a trying environment then I can recommend Plant Life.
Kendra West-barry
Feb 03, 2015 Kendra West-barry rated it it was amazing
This was a wonderful read. I had a hard time putting it down. Pamela Duncan has a talent for creating characters that are hard to say goodbye to when the book comes to an end.
May 01, 2015 Shugga rated it liked it
I read this book for my library's book discussion group. Sadly, I will not be able to make the meeting, but I did enjoy the book. The story revolved around the textile plant in rural NC. A sweet story with a little bit of NC history woven in.
Apr 19, 2008 Melissa rated it it was amazing
Duncan spoke at our library's book festival last year, and she was a riot! By day, she's a Social Services employee in N.C.; she writes nights and weekends.
Plant life is a study of women and choices, some of which feel wrong but turn out very right. 20-something Laurel returns to the small N.C. town where she grew up after being divorced, and takes a job in the textile plant she went to college to get away from. With her mother, and her mother's friends, as contemporaries, she learns about life
Amy Parsons
Nov 12, 2013 Amy Parsons rated it it was amazing
A sad woman betrayed by her husband whom she supported faithfully their entire relationship, Laurel is distraught and aimless. She moves back home and grows to love the town she grew up in and longed to leave. By spending time with her family, getting a job at the plant where most of the residents work, she grows to appreciate her roots and the quirky residents who support their neighbors through thick and thin. A nice, feel good read.
Mar 16, 2009 Ruth rated it it was amazing
Another amazing book by Pamela Duncan. I liked it even better than Moon Women. Her writing is so real and the characters and what happens to them, while (thank God) not Hollywood dramatic, is the stuff of real life and struggle. Her voice is true to her roots. I want to take one of these women home with me and have a nice long talk over hot chocolate followed by a glass of wine.
Shea Kennedy
Jan 05, 2012 Shea Kennedy rated it liked it
Humor infused and Southern wit and style injected, made this an enjoyable read. Not sure the title actually portrays the major plot line of the story; more geared toward the lives of very different women at very different stages of their lives and how they overcome past obstacles and present worries about husbands, lovers and children.
Oct 05, 2008 Kristen rated it liked it
This is a great story about working at a plant in a small town, dealing with all layers of life: divorce, growing old, death, family and second chances for love. This is like "Steel Magnolias" meets "Hope Floats", a contemporary woman's fiction novel is how I would label it.
Feb 11, 2010 Penelope rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I enjoyed this but not as much as 'Moon Women'. I do love that kind of womens fiction though and this is very well written, and I would highly recommend it. The characters are great and you feel like they become your friends by the end of the book.
Dec 13, 2010 Sue rated it liked it
I enjoyed this book. Likeable characters, my essential quality. I don't require a lot of action, just people I enjoy spending time with. This book has that.
Jul 14, 2009 Mie marked it as to-read
I have to put this book back on the shelve and maybe read it later. There is so many other books that seems more interesting to me at the moment.
Lee Ann
Jul 10, 2010 Lee Ann rated it it was ok
I really liked Moon Women and The Big Beautiful but this one didn't quite measure up. Looking forward to her next novel whenever that may be.
Aug 27, 2009 Jessy rated it it was amazing
I am very much enjoying this look into life in a small NC mill town. The values of family and tradition in this story are endearing.
Apr 26, 2008 Kathleen rated it liked it
Shelves: the-carolinas
It occurs to me that one should not confuse this author with the prolific children's author, Pamela Duncan Edwards.
Mar 30, 2011 Freeda rated it really liked it
It's about working in a plant, not growing a plant. Very good, quick read.
Jan 07, 2010 Sandra added it
Liked Moon Women better.
Oct 05, 2011 Jennifer rated it liked it
LizC added it
Jul 14, 2016
Sherrie Burns
Sherrie Burns marked it as to-read
Jun 30, 2016
Kathy rated it liked it
Jul 08, 2016
Judi Mayer
Judi Mayer rated it really liked it
Jun 28, 2016
Helena marked it as to-read
Jun 17, 2016
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Novelist Pamela Duncan was born in Asheville and grew up in Black Mountain, Swannanoa, and Shelby, North Carolina. She holds a B.A. in journalism from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an M.A. in English/Creative Writing from North Carolina State University in Raleigh. She lives in Cullowhee, North Carolina and teaches creative writing at Western Carolina University.

Her first nov
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