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Moon Pies and Movie Stars    by Amy Wallen Amazon.com order for
Moon Pies and Movie Stars
by Amy Wallen
Order:  USA  Can
Plume, 2008 (2006)
Hardcover, Softcover, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto

Amy Wallen's first novel, Moon Pies and Movie Stars, take the reader back to the 1960s on a trip from small-town Devine, Texas to big-city Hollywood, California with three very different middle-aged women.

When bowling alley owner, Ruby Kincaid, sees her long-lost adopted daughter Violet on a commercial, she packs her two grandchildren, Bubbie and Bunny, and her flirty sister Loralva into Imogene's (Ruby's daughter's mother-in-law's) Winnebago and they all set off for sunny California. However, the road to finding Violet is much bumpier than Ruby expected, especially with bossy Imogene hovering over everything and Bubbie growing angrier and angrier the closer they get. On top of that, her journey is side-tracked by Loralva who insists on going on The Price Is Right. As their trek drags on, Ruby starts to have second thoughts about trying to bring Violet home that is, if they can even find her.

Moon Pies and Movie Stars is a good debut novel. However, it needs a little more oomph to keep the story moving. It works that Ruby gets tied up with obstacles on her quest, but these obstacles need to be bigger, more plentiful, or resolve a little faster to keep the reader's interest. But even if the plot needs a little work, the characters are great. Ruby is the type of caring yet feisty grandmother that all kids would like to have, Loralva is a sexy spitfire who shows that older women can still have fun, and Imogene is the type of in-law that everyone knows but no one wants. Together, this trio is what makes the book appealing.

As with some works of general fiction, the resolution is a little lacking. However, Moon Pies and Movie Stars is definitely about the journey, so Amy Wallen made the right choice with her ending, which leaves readers satisfied.

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