Saturday, August 19, 2006

BOOK REVIEW: Waltzing at the Piggly Wiggly by Robert Dalby

The Piggly Wiggly in Second Creek, Mississippi, supermarket cum community center and town hall, is about to close its doors for good. The Mega-Mart across town has been drawing away customers and Mr. Choppy can’t figure out how to keep his family business afloat.

Riding to the rescue are the “Nitwitts,” a formidable group of the town’s influential widows. Determined to keep their beloved local supermarket in business, the group’s leader Laurie Lepanto comes up with a whimsical solution: the town’s most eligible silver fox and former ballroom dance instructor, Powell Hampton, will dance with the women of Second Creek for two hours each week, while salesclerks do their shopping.

Will the “Nitwitts” ingenious plan save the Piggly Wiggly? Will anyone win the heart of Powell Hampton? And will Second Creek embrace waltzing at the Piggly Wiggly?

The true stars of Robert Dalby’s Waltzing at the Piggly Wiggly are the “Nitwitts,” a group of golden-age widows who meet regularly for Bloody Marys, conversation and support. Dalby’s “Nitwitts” are based on a the real life Nitwitts of Mobile, Alabama. According to the Press-Register, the group has “met for Bloody Marys and lunch on the first Monday of each month for the past 30 years. They call themselves the NitWitts, the Witt in honor of Norma Verneuille Wittendorfer, a member of the group who died in 1976.”

Around this core group, Dalby has created a town peopled by the truly eccentric. One of the highlights of this novel is the Annual Floozy contest, which is one of the most outrageous events about which this reviewer has ever had the pleasure to read. The wide cast of characters suggests that Dalby is planning a return to Second Creek in future books, and that is cause for celebration.

Dalby's novel is light-hearted and fun, about standing up for what one believes in and second chances at love. Despite a few uneven spots in the writing, which most likely will smooth out with time and experience, this book is delightful and certain to bring a smile to reader's faces. The wide cast of characters leads this reader to suspect that Dalby is planning a return to Second Creek in future books. If you enjoy eccentric characters and southern charm, then Waltzing at the Piggly Wiggly is the book for you.

Robert Dalby is a lifelong patron of the Piggly Wiggly and a native of Mississippi. Waltzing at the Piggly Wiggly is his first novel.

ISBN10: 0399153675
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Publication Date: August 3, 2006
Binding: Hardcover



Janelle Martin said...

I received this message from the author today, on a crossposting of this review. It's always exciting to have an author's response to your review, so I'm posting this here to share with everyone.

"Janelle, I was surfing today and found your insightful review. I am the author, Robert Dalby, and you and others might like to know that Putnam has committed to this as a series. I have already written the second, Kissing Babies At The Piggly Wiggly, and it is now in production for a Summer, 2007 release. I am now at work on the third, A Very Piggly Wiggly Christmas. Rest assured, if you enjoyed my Second Creek universe, there will be more visits in the near future. Regards!"

Unknown said...

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