Patty Jane's House of Curl

Patty Jane's House of Curl

by Lorna Landvik

Hardcover(Large Print)

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Overview


Patty Jane Dobbin should have known better than to marry a man as gorgeous as Thor Rolvaag, but she was too smitten to think twice. Yet nine months into their marriage, with a baby on the way, Thor is gone. It's a good thing Patty Jane has her irrepressible sister, Harriet, to rely on. For it's been said that a fine haircut can cure any number of ills, and before long the Minnesota sisters have opened a neighborhood beauty parlor complete with live harp music and an endless supply of delicious Norwegian baked goods. It's a wonderful, warmhearted place where you can count on good friends, lots of laughter, tears, and comfort when you need it—and the unmistakable scent of somebody getting a permanent wave. . . .

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780708958773
Publisher: Ulverscroft Large Print Books, Ltd.
Publication date: 08/28/1997
Series: Niagara Large Print Series
Edition description: Large Print
Pages: 368
Product dimensions: 6.15(w) x 9.31(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Lorna Landvik is also the author of the bestselling Your Oasis on Flame Lake and the upcoming The Tall Pine Polka. She has worked as an actor, a comedian, and a speed typist in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. She lives with her husband, two daughters, and their dog, Petunia.

Read an Excerpt

Prologue

PATTY JANE KEPT a drawer full of cotton bandanas spritzed with dimestore perfume - Tabu and Evening in Paris and, occasionally, My Sin, which I thought was a chic as chic could get. I helped out at the House of Curl after school and on Saturdays. Whenever anyone stank up the place with a permanent wave, I would be called upon to distribute the bandanas and tie them carefully, the way a nurse ties a doctor's surgical mask, over the nose and mouth of our customers. Everyone in the shop wore them (except for Clyde Chuka, the manicurist, who said Tabu gave him a worse headache than permanent-wave solution) so that the room looked overtaken by a bunch of Old West bandits assembled for a Dippety-Doo heist.

"Scented kerchiefs are one of the nice touches that separates our establishment from the others," Patty Jane often said. Other nice touches included homemade banana bread served with coffee to women basting under hair dryers; pale green smocks monogrammed with the initials of our regulars (we kept a supply of less personalized smocks--"V.I.P" and "First Lady"--on hand for walk-ins); and harp concerts courtesy of my Aunt Harriet, whose accompaniment to my bandana distribution was always the William Tell Overture.

Patty Jane, my mother, was big on nice touches.

"For cripes' sake," she said, "if you can't be a class act, why bother?"

She studied what society news was to be found in the Minneapolis Star as if she were a candidate for a PhD in High Living; she drove her rattly old DeSota around Lake of the Isles, picking out mansions she would live in were her inheritance more sizable than a pair ofturquoise cuff links and an incomplete set of 1947 World Books; she tried on designer dresses at Dayton's Oval Room and Powers and then had my grandmother sew up copies on her heavy black Pfaff sewing machine.

"Just because my life began in the bargain basement," she said, "doesn't mean I can't take the escalator to Fine Crystals."

Truth be told, if my mother were to spend any time in Fine Crystals, it was guaranteed something would break.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

Copyright 1996 by Lorna Landvik

Reading Group Guide

1. What kind of childhood did Patty Jane and Harriet have? How has their childhood affected the course of their adult lives?

2. Why is Thor terrified by his impending fatherhood? Do you think he was really ready to embrace it before he disappeared?

3. The private investigator hired to track Thor down remarks that the good-looking never seem to have close friends. What do you think of this statement? Is there any merit in it?

4. Why does Patty Jane refuse anesthesia when she is in labor? Discuss the various reactions to her behavior during labor.

5. How would you describe the family that Patty Jane and Harriet create for themselves? Discuss the families that we are born into and the ones we create.

6. How do Ione and Patty Jane navigate the dangerous currents in their relationship? Do you think you could do the same in a similar situation? Would you want to?

7. The characters in this novel use Patty Jane's House of Curl as a place to unburden themselves. What other places might people go to share their problems? Would you like to spend some time at the House of Curl? Or do you already have a House of Curl in your life?

8. Why do you think Avel's sisters hate him so much?

9. What do you think provoked Esme Ames's change of heart? Discuss how it can take a loss to make people value what they have as opposed to what they do not have.

10. Harriet says that "too much thought scared her, that she was happier doing than thinking." Why do you think she feels this way? Do you agree?

11. Harriet's decision to face the ghosts from her past almost costs her her life. What do you think separates those whohurt themselves in the face of great pain from those who are able to channel their demons more constructively?

12. Why does Patty Jane finally let Harriet go down the dangerous path she has chosen? What does it cost each of them? Do you think Patty Jane made the right deci-sion by letting go?

13. Why does it take Patty Jane and Clyde so long to get together? What are the obstacles in their path?

14. Did the explanation of Thor's disappearance surprise you?

15. In what ways do the rest of the characters underesti-mate the Thor who returns to them? Do you think he understands what has happened to him?

16. What frees Ione to finally begin the traveling she waited her whole life to do? Discuss the dangers of using other people's needs to avoid addressing your own.

17. Discuss the varied reactions to Harriet's illness by her family and friends. Is there a "right" way to respond to such news?

18. Why doesn't Patty Jane ever divorce Thor?

19. "What a big chunk of God is to be found by looking into the face of someone you love!" Discuss the signifi-cance of this statement--both the good and the bad.

20. "Honey, life can be a ballroom dance and it can be full of shit. Your job in both cases is to watch where you step." These are the words to live by that Patty Jane imparts to her daughter. Do you agree with this state-ment? If you had to boil down your own philosophy of life into one sentence, how would it read?

21. Are there any characters you would like to have heard more (or less) from? Why or why not?

22. If you could ask the author a question of your own, what would it be?

23. How does your group decide what to read? What are you reading next?

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Patty Jane's House of Curl 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 40 reviews.
brismom22 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It only took me one day to finish this book. Once I started I couldnt stop. I loved it from begining to end. I was brought to teas by the ending. It reminded me alot of Terms of Endearment. A good book all the way around and I would recommend it!!
debnance on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Sort of a Norwegian Southern novel. I tried this a couple of times, but I was determined to get to the end this time; I don't see what all the fuss is about.
Bookshop_Lady on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This story of two sisters follows their highs, which are very high, and their even-lower lows, starting in the 1950s with Patty Jane's whirlwind romance with and marriage to Thor, her Prince Charming and Mr. Right. This knight has feet of clay that begin to crumble when Patty Jane becomes pregnant on their honeymoon, and he disappears from her life just days before their daughter, Nora, is born.Younger sister Harriet has also met her own prince, Avel Ames of the Ames Cereal family of multi-millionaires. The wedding is to take place in June, just 3 1/2 months after Thor disappeared and Nora was born .... and then Fate steps in to readjust the happiness factor, and Harriet suffers a crushing loss of her own.Patty Jane opens a beauty parlor - Patty Jane's House of Curl - and it becomes a gathering place for the women of the town. Then, classes are added - cooking, arts, singing, dance, quilting, whatever someone wants to teach. The shop's regular customers have stories of their own, which we learn about in bits and pieces that never overshadow the main stories, but that emphasize the passage of time. Love, loss, family - both the one we are born into and the family we make for ourselves, come together to keep the sisters, Nora, and Ione (Patty Jane's mother-in-law) on a roller coaster. The story overall is heart-warming. The occasional lapses into sentimentality are forgivable.I couldn't put the book down. It's a very quick read. The small-town setting and the group of women at the beauty parlor are very reminiscent of some Southern fiction. Very enjoyable.
Daniel.Estes on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The writing is smart and the dialogue is snappy and believable. I found the hardships in the character's lives borderline contrived, but not so much that I couldn't enjoy the story. Perhaps witnessing so many tragic coincidences happening to otherwise good people pushed me too much out of the novel's fictional world.The House of Curl salon is where the Dobbin sisters forge their strongest bond, and their relationship is the emotional hinge of Patty Jane's House of Curl. I was also touched by the persistent theme of finding eternal meaning in the daily interactions of those you love.
phyllis2779 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Enjoyable read but not a keeper.
cindyloumn on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Loved it!! quick read. Set in MN, with lots of landmarks and quirky people. 2 sisters and their lives. Sad ending. But good one. Would like to read more of her books.
karriethelibrarian on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I picked this book up because of the quirky, cheesy title, and was pleasantly surprised. This is a sweet story, full of rich characters that you can't help but love. There are plenty of stories going on in this sleepy little town, and several plot twists that surprised me. Even though this story takes place in Minnesota, I was reminded of the small town southern fiction that I like so much. Because I enjoyed this book so much I've gone on to read other Landvik books.
mydomino1978 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the first book, I read by this author, and I have been looking for more by her. It is humerous, and touching. Patty Jane's husband disappears one night, never to be heard of again. She is left to struggle, but has a supportive sister (sometimes) and mother in law all of us would love to have. She comes through and goes on in a way that will make you laugh and cry.
CyndyKryder on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Lorna Landvik is one of my favorite authors and she shows her stuff in yet another hometown story filled with laughs as well as tears. If you like rich and moving characters, this one's for you.
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tchrreader More than 1 year ago
A book about sisters who run a hair salon together. It reminds me of the bonds between sisters. I loved that part. The sisters talk all about the ways they fall in love, all the ways they lose love, their children and babies, etc. I thought this was a good, light book to read between a "heavy" book. It is cute, sad and happy (all the things a good book has). You will like this book, recommend it to a girlfriend so you can discuss it later together.
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bookwormmamaNE More than 1 year ago
Overall I liked this book, it had lots of unexpected turns throughout. The last few chapters I did not see coming at all. It puts you through a roller coaster of emtotions, with joys and sorrows around every corner. I really liked the characters and you find yourself hoping for the best to come for them. I would recommend it as a good weekend read!
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Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is simply delightful! As in 'Angry Housewives Eating Bonbons,' the focus is a closely-knit group of women. Sometimes it seems that if these women didn't have bad luck, they'd have no luck at all. They seem to thrive on adversity and the shine. It's a 'feel good' book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
PATTY JANE SHOULD HAVE KNOWN BETTER TO GET MARRIED TO MY HANDSOME THOR, BUT SHE WAS BITTEN TWICE BY THE LOVE BUG. FIRST COMES LOVE, THEN MARRIAGE, THEN PATTY JANE WITH A BABY CARRIAGE, THEN GOES HER HUSBAND OUT THE DOOR. BUT, IT'S A GOOD THING P.J. HAS A STRONG WILL TO GO ON LIVING AND A GREAT SISTER, HARRIET. HARRIET, IS GOOD TOO. SHE GOT SOUL AND A LOVELY VOICE TO MATCH AND A GUY WHO MIGHT BE SHORT IN HEIGHT BUT NOT IN SHORT IN LOVE. SO, PATTY AND HARRIET OPENS A BEAUTY SALOON, FOR IT'S BEEN SAID SO MANY TIME A GOOD HAIRCUT CAN CURE ANY NUMBER OF ILLS. IT'S A WONDERFUL HEARTWARMING BOOK, WHERE THERE'S FRIENDS YOU CAN ALWAYS COUNT ON, LOTS OF LAUGHTER, TEARS AND GOOD COMFORT. IT'S ABOUT THE UPS AND DOWNS OF THESE TWO WONDERFUL FEMALE CHARCTERS AND THE BOND THEY SHARE. LIKE PATTY JANE'S BEAUTY SHOP SLOGAN, 'EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED AND... A GOOD HAIRCUT TOO!' WELL I SAY, EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED AND... A GOOD BOOK TO READ TOO! TO QUOTE P.J. 'HONEY, LIFE CAN BE A BALLROON DANCE AND IT CAN BE FULL OF POOP, YOUR JOB IS IN BOTH CASES, IS TO WATCH WHERE YOU STEP'