Audra (Unabridged Chick)'s Reviews > The Peach Keeper

The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen
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's review
May 11, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: heroine-unusually-attractive, mood-bittersweet, mood-evocative, sense-of-place, secret-identities, trendy-but-good
Read from April 27 to 28, 2011

This was my first Sarah Addison Allen book but I instantly understood why she has such a devoted following.  The writing is comfortable and warm and easy (see my Teaser Tuesday for a taste) but I don't know if the style is magical realism.  There are some magical elements but it's not hokey or odd or incredulity-straining; it just is.  It feels right.

I actually knew very little about the plot and wasn't sure what to expect.  What was so refreshing was the story's emphasis on female friendship.  I don't know, maybe it's a Southern fiction thing, but I was actually shocked that the two females -- seemingly opposites (set up, I was sure, to be rivals) -- not only ended up becoming friendly, but weren't mean, competitive, vindictive, cruel, cold, food-obsessed, weight-obsessed or fighting over the same romantic partner.  They had problems that real people have: worries about one's choices in the past, decisions in the future, family, friends, jobs.  I immediately liked the both of them and it made the book so much more enjoyable because I wanted -- yearned! -- for everything to work out in the end.

This was a far more romantic book than I expected but I admit, I was all for the romantic relationships that ensued. 

And now, for my single quibble.  You'll see from my status updates that I was digging this book hardcore until this speed bump hit -- and it really did very nearly break my heart.  I suppose this bit is going to be spoiler-y, so if you want to be wholly surprised then skip over the rest of this paragraph.  Normally I hate -- loathe -- when authors make otherwise gay men straight for the right woman.  It might be plausible, but it's a little too close to intimating that hard work and determination is what homosexuals need to be 'normal'. One of the characters was sexually confused -- I think that's what Allen was trying to say -- but whatever it was left me confused, and not in a good way.  I totally wanted this couple to be together, but I gotta confess, when it happened, I felt a bit dirty and kind of horrified.

I was so rattled by this speed bump that I stopped working on this review to give myself some time to chew over how I felt; now, about a week later, I feel the same: great affection for this book with a twinge of slight disappointment.  Up until that moment, and immediately after, the book was luminous, delightful, engrossing, and fun.  I suspect many readers won't be as upset as I was -- I'm sure Allen didn't mean anything judgmental or negative -- and in the end, I can say I loved her writing enough that I'm going to find her previous books to read and I'll read anything else she does write.
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Reading Progress

04/28/2011 page 54
20.0% "No wonder people are such Sarah Addison Allen fans -- this book is delightful!"
04/28/2011 page 134
49.0% "So compulsively readable!" 2 comments
04/28/2011 page 176
64.0% "will never get around to making dinner b/c I can'"
04/28/2011 page 220
81.0% "omg, the curmudgeon me just died from the total hotdorable."
04/28/2011 page 245
90.0% "effing hell, book: all the love i had for you just withered up and died hardcore." 5 comments

Comments (showing 1-10 of 10) (10 new)

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Sally Pearce Are you liking this one? I have another of her books, but I haven't read it yet.

Audra (Unabridged Chick) Sally -- I'm loving it -- it's so charming, I'm immediately won over. Can't wait to see where it goes.

Sally Pearce If/when you decide to swap it, would you contact me? We could set up an online date so I could grab it quickly. I really have wanted to read it for a long time. I think since the ads were out.

Audra (Unabridged Chick) Sally - yes! I'll probably swap next week when I'm back from a work trip -- will msg when I'm ready!

Sally Pearce Thank you so much! And if you ever see one of mine that I'm reading, just message me and I'll do the same for you!

Audra (Unabridged Chick) Thank you, I definitely will!

message 7: by Amy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Amy Having finished the book myself, I don't think Allen was trying to change Sebastian's sexuality. My interpretation is that S was a bit of an outsider who fit in with the gay kids, so everyone assumed he was gay and he found it easier to let them, possibly because he was more acceptable as a gay man. See his line about woman always thinking they had changed him, or just wanting to be friends.

Sally Pearce Amy,

I felt the same way. She had us guessing, though!

Audra (Unabridged Chick) Amy -- I agree -- but I felt Allen did a little too well having S resist P's advances so that his sudden change to digging her felt whiplash-y -- and S's explanation of going to therapy felt a little too much like a possible hint of reparative therapy (even tho I'm sure Allen put it in to show that S was healthy and well adjusted).

The crazy thing, though, is that I was totally rooting for S and P to get together, so that it happened made me happy -- but something about that scene just weirded me out.

Dione Sage This was my first first Sarah Addison Allen book as well and I thought it was completely adorable. I like your review!

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