Dancing Backward in Paradise

( 8 )

Overview

At the Paradise Trailer Park in Hixson, Tennessee, life for Grace Place is all about sucking on "meat jerkys" and having amorous encounters with Lenny Bean, her handsome lover. However, Grace’s mother has loftier plans for her daughter and insists that Grace save her money and move to New York City so she can find fame and fortune as an actress.

Intent on pacifying her mama, Grace works as a cleaning lady for wealthy Betty Ann Houseman so she can pool her pennies for the trip ...

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More About This Book

Overview

At the Paradise Trailer Park in Hixson, Tennessee, life for Grace Place is all about sucking on "meat jerkys" and having amorous encounters with Lenny Bean, her handsome lover. However, Grace’s mother has loftier plans for her daughter and insists that Grace save her money and move to New York City so she can find fame and fortune as an actress.

Intent on pacifying her mama, Grace works as a cleaning lady for wealthy Betty Ann Houseman so she can pool her pennies for the trip north. Grace soon discovers that Betty Ann has a passion for men more pronounced than her overbite, and it isn’t long before she’s parting the sheets for Lenny Bean. But just before she leaves Hixson, Grace uncovers an insidious plot the eccentric Bean family has devised to steal Betty Ann’s estate.

Filled with anger but intent on keeping her promise to her mama, Grace and her best friend, Ginny Jo, flee to New York City. Amid the drama of the 1960s, and the absurdity of her life, Grace faces her darkest hours and her greatest opportunity to flourish. In a world of surprises, and unforeseen events, Grace truly discovers paradise.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780595388714
  • Publisher: iUniverse, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 11/28/2006
  • Pages: 348
  • Product dimensions: 0.78 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 9.00 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 8 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 12, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Another good one by Cook! This book did a full 180 on me! It s

    Another good one by Cook!

    This book did a full 180 on me! It started out very rough for me, a lot of swearing, a lot of sex. But then it started growing on me and I ended up loving it! You really did have to get into the characters in order to like it. And that is exactly what Vera did. She is an excellent character builder.

    I started out not really liking any of the characters, even the main character - Grace. But I ended up loving her! She started out as poor white southern trash and ended up a sweetheart! Vera does that with her characters. They start out all rough and tumble and then they change as they learn through life.

    "Grace!" Ginny Jo screamed and slammed her hand down on the dashboard. "Sometimes you're as dumb as a bucket of seashells." - Well I was thinking as dumb as a pile of rocks, but this works for me! LOL she couldn't put two and two together if her life depended on it!!

    "New York City strangeness will be different than it is here."
    "What do you mean?"
    "Well southern strangeness has a kind of charm, like something we're entitled to be."
    "You mean like genteel and sugar-coated?"
    "We southerners are incorrigibly strange, aren't we?"...
    "There's no such thing as a strange Northerner?" I asked.
    Mama shook her head. "No. They are either normal or abnormal. If they are abnormal, they are capable of debauchery in the most vile of ways. You got that? Northerners are abnormal, Southerners are strange."

    This is my third book by Vera Jane Cook, I really love and respect her as an author! I can't wait to read something else by her.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 10, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Brought to you by OBS reviewer Kim This book has very strong la

    Brought to you by OBS reviewer Kim

    This book has very strong language and sexual situations, not for those under 17 years old

    Brought to you by OBS reviewer Kim
    This book has very strong language and sexual situations, not for those under 17 years old
    I know when you start reading this the language and sexual situations don’t seem to be important to the story but it does. You see a child wild and needing taming with a mouth on her like nobody’s business but as you read you watch her grow into a beautiful young woman who has a lot of love to give. She is blossoming before your very eyes as you turn the pages and the pages turn into chapters. I am not much for bad language but in this case I can see why it is included in the story.
    All states have counties, counties have towns, towns and inside of the towns you have micro little communities all their own with personalities of their own and in this book you have Paradise, which is nothing like the name suggests.
    It begins with a young girl living in a trailer park called Paradise but her Mama tells her there is a place like paradise and it’s New York City not here. Grace’s mother has a plan for Grace, when she turns 18, she is to go to New York City to live for a few months and try to become an actress or model because that was her mama’s dream for herself and now it’s mama’s dream for her daughter.
    Grace has to work and save up money for her trip to New York City and she gets a job with a rich woman by the name of Betty Ann Houseman and after working for her for a couple of weeks, enters Lenny Bean into her life and he turns it upside down. Although Grace has feelings for Lenny, she has to keep her promise to her mother about New York. Now her and Lenny are engaged she makes plans for New York knowing it’s going to be a couple of years before they wed anyway.
    Lenny Bean has a motive to get close to Grace and it’s not for love but for money. Grace is feeling something is not right but she just couldn’t put her finger on it. After all the craziness and stuff at home and at work She has to go ahead and leave her broken heart behind. Now she’s in New York to give it a try but will her Paradise be found in the city of New York or back at home when she returns.
    Grace returns home because her father becomes sick and then she realizes that Betty’s life is in danger and the very person that wants to cause her harm is Lenny Bean. Grace knows she has to do something but just not sure what, so she tells her Mom everything and her Mom comes up with a plan. Sadly, the plan doesn’t work, Betty ends up dead anyway but not by Lenny but someone else. Who would want to hurt Betty if it wasn’t Lenny?
    Beware of your friends because you really don’t know who they are and what people are capable of doing and in this instance Grace has found out the hard facts of life but she also finds softness. Two worlds colliding into one. Love and happiness found in New York and love lost and a friendship gone in Paradise trailer park in Tennessee. With all this happening, choices are made, lives are changed for the love of a child and a friendship that forged stronger after death.

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  • Posted May 6, 2014

    I received the book from the touring host for an honest review.

    I received the book from the touring host for an honest review.




    I must admit that I'm a huge fan of Vera Cook's writing. Her ability to capture imagination and into her fictional world of words stuns me every time. She creates realistic characters you can identify with at all times; from the simplest to the loftiness of humans; you can always relate to them; feeling part of your every day life, as if you know them.
    Her story telling keeps you glued to the book and the words flows like a gentle river that builds continuously on the paper, giving you better insight to humans, their behaviors, decisions and passions. That which drives us to rise from the slumps, living a life we could only dream about; not thinking that happiness is possible to all. 
    Provoking, original, touching, heart felt are only some of the words I can use to describe her books and you are always left with a sigh. You know the sigh; when you drink the last sip of the best coffee you have ever taken; that sigh that says more than words can express. An encompassing and satisfactory sigh that leaves you wanting for more. 
    That's how I feel about Vera Cook's books; always wanting more.




    Dancing backwards in Paradise did it again. A fitting name filled with symbolic meaning as the story evolves from the first page and you get to know Grace Henrietta Place.
    Her name already hinting that you are in for some interesting reading. Written from her point of view you get to know her town, Hixon, Tennessee and it's people, her family, and her friends. Their everyday life on display as the author introduce you to the plot and the many twists and turns, not shying away from difficult subjects. Not mincing with words, but never judgmental or condescending. Just telling it as it is. The author's honest shining through every scene to create this great book.




    Grace Place was born and raised in the South with all its simplicities and narrow mindedness, trying to find her way in life. although hesitant. All her life she grew up with the knowledge of going to the North, making it big in New York; her mother telling her stories of her time in the big city with its bright lights that never sleeps. With her mother's help she got the opportunity, but with that opportunity comes many difficult decisions she had to make; meeting and working with weird and interesting characters. They all played their part in shaping Grace to be the woman her mother believe her to be. At times you thought she would let the dream go because of her innocence, naivety, and love for Lenny Bean. 
    A manipulator, con-man, liar, womanizer, and thief, Lenny Bean made a very good character. Greed was his motivator that allowed him the luxury of living a double life, a double life he had hidden from Grace; deceiving her around every corner. Thankfully her eyes opened, maybe almost to late, but nevertheless it had opened.
    Her time in New York was a learning curve for the young Grace, but yet you see how she had evolved from naivety to rise in the lights without loosing her innocence. Finding true love in the arms of an entertainment lawyer, Brandon and his son, Chelsie. Even here the characters she met were interesting and I loved the way the author kept the connection between her life in New York and Hixon. Keeping her grounded at all times as she started to shine in her own corner of this huge city; each step she took, each decision she made, each person she met played a leading role in her life.
    A story filled with compassion and heartache as human emotions comes into play as she find her way through the many pitfalls life can throw your way, creating a book you get lost into.
    Really a great read I can recommend.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2007

    Dancing Backward in Paradise

    I love to read so when I find a new writer that I have not read before it makes my day. Dancing Backward in Paradise is the most exciting book I have read since The Secret Life of Bees. This has the makings of a wonderful movie! I just know Vera Jane Cook is going to be a very important writer. I look forward to her next book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2006

    Dancing Backward in Paradise

    I love to read - when I find a new writer that I have not read before it makes my day! Dancing Backward in Paradise is the most exciting book I have read since The Secret Life of Bees. I believe Vera Jane Cook is going to be an incredibly important writer. I look forward to her next book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2006

    A Great New Novel

    I loved this book. I laughed I cried and could not put it down. I very much look forward to Ms. Cook's next novel. I strongly recommend this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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