Do you know what book this is?
September 2, 2009 1:25 PM   Subscribe

Please help me figure out what book this is.

This is something that has driven me insane for years. I mean, YEARS. I cannot remember the name of the book, nor the author's name. I thought the author was a Nora someone, but I'm not certain. I remember the book being touted as "another" of her books, so she evidently has more than one. The cover also oddly said it was about "modern life" which I found odd since the setting was actually in the fifties. I think it would have been better described as modern thinking. Sadly, I cannot remember when I read it. I would say somewhere between 1985 and 2000, but could have been as late as 2006. Yes that is a big span of years, but I just cannot remember.

It's about a single mom who gets a job as a manicurist, I believe. She bought a house in a subdivision that was subdivided out of farmland. Her husband had an affair and left her. She got some sort of assistance in buying the house. All the neighborhood women were typical neighborhood 50's women and kind of looked down on her due to her single mother, Elvis fan status.

The man across the street wanted her badly as did every man and male teen in the area. In fact, near the close of the book we discover that she was sleeping with the son of the man across the street, a teen who actually was in love with another teen girl.

The first time the teen saw her, she was mowing the lawn with a ponytail in her hair and listening to Elvis. He told her son, who was younger that just about everyone in the neighborhood, that his mom was different or something. He was indicating she was hot, but not exactly saying it. Even though her son was young (like about 8 or 10) he understood what the teen was meaning.

One friend or acquaintance in the book was a heavy woman. All the neighborhood women talked about her behind her back about her weight. She actually began losing weight, but was still wearing her old and now baggy clothes. The main character noticed her weight loss and told her how great she looked. New thin woman began crying because she realized that no one at all had ever noticed or complimented her, but the one person who did was "the enemy."

That night, or soon thereafter, new thin woman left her husband (and children) and disappeared. It was later discovered that she was working somewhere in town like at a clothing store, make-up or perfume counter or something. She finally agreed to see her husband and children.

Someone did something deliberately bad to main character's son. I can't remember who it was nor what they did, but what made it a very weird thing was what main character did in return. She made a wax voodoo doll of sorts of the offending person and melted it. That came right out of the blue and didn't appear to fit properly into the book. It was just the most bizarre thing, which is why I remember it so well.

In any case the overall tone of the book is similar in nature to Pleasantville. It has that 50's to progressive mentality thing.

Sorry for the long description, but I wanted to provide as much information as possible. I seriously hope someone, ANYONE can help me.

I've posted it to the group at Library Thing, I've done searches, I tried everything in an article I found online that tells you "How To Find A Book Without Knowing The Title Or Author" and everything else.

I think the only way I will ever find this book, is if someone else has read it and knows what I'm talking about.
posted by magnoliasouth to Writing & Language (3 answers total)
Best answer: Must be Seventh Heaven by Alice Hoffman.
posted by taz at 1:33 PM on September 2, 2009

Definitely Seventh Heaven, well done Taz!
posted by ceri richard at 1:39 PM on September 2, 2009

Response by poster: OMG!!!! I cannot believe it! Do you know how long I've been looking for this book? I am forever indebted to you. To think I waited on posting it here. What stupidity. Found in a matter of minutes.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Spot on and well done. :)
posted by magnoliasouth at 1:45 PM on September 2, 2009

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