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The Rhinestone Sisterhood: A Journey Through Small Town America, One Tiara at a Time    by David Valdes Greenwood order for
Rhinestone Sisterhood
by David Valdes Greenwood
Order:  USA  Can
Crown, 2010 (2010)
Hardcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

David Valdez Greenwood's The Rhinestone Sisterhood gives the reader a look behind the scenes of festival queens in small-town America.

I have to admit I always thought that beauty pageants were just a good way to obtain some tuition money as well as to shine in the public eye for a year. Not so with festival queens. They work - and work hard - for the year of their reign. Beauty is simply viewed as one of the many pluses (but not really necessary) a girl might have to reign wearing a rhinestone tiara. She has to be able to campaign for her town hard. She must maintain her dignity while wearing a banner proclaiming that she is the Catfish Queen or the Swine Queen or the Fur Queen or the one I like Frog Queen.

Any small town can compete, hoping to bring recognition and tourists to their area to spend their dollars. The author followed four girls during the pageant season to see what makes them tick, or even give them the desire to become a Festival Queen.

The Rhinestone Sisterhood is an illuminating book that is insightful as well as amusing and heartwarming. Take it from me that being a festival queen is no small thing. How would you like to sit astride a bull wearing a dress that makes you look like a Holstein cow, a tall tiara, and a big smile, as is shown on the front cover of this delightful book? You might even end up as Queen of Queens!

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