You can take the girl out of the Midwest; but why the heck would you want to take the Midwest out of the girl?

patty jane lornaEver since my sister recommended Patty Jane’s House of Curl, I’ve been a big fan of author Lorna Landvik.  This book is one of my all-time favorite reads and something I can recommend to almost any female patron who was looking for a new author or something different.  One could compare the familial relationships in this book to another favorite at our library, Whistling in the Dark by Lesley Kagen.  Both of these authors have created a perfect blend of sisterly love vs. sisterly angst in these books and have developed settings to which the average reader can relate.  Mix in a generous dose of humor and dark days and you have a story that you want to share with your sister.  These books resonate with readers because they reflect the real human experience.

It’s fun to dive into these book and picture the people that these authors create.  The dialogue and actions of the characters are true to their Midwestern settings.  One can imaginlorna best to laughe a former pastor, neighbor, or friend doing and saying the things that these authors put onto paper.  They are authentic portraits of the people we interact with every day.

Lorna Landvik’s latest book, Best to Laugh, has taken the Midwestern girl and placed her in Hollywood, CA.  The author does not allow the Hollywood setting to overshadow or change her unique character, Candy.  Candy doesn’t fall in with bad Hollywood influences nor does she experience a meteoric rise and catastrophic fall as is often played out in “naive girl goes to Hollywood” type stories.  Instead, Candy meets the many unique and wonderful people who live in a Hollywood landmark apartment building, Peyton Hall.  She grows to love the various odd individuals, many of whom have lived there for decades, and the reader does too.  One learns that this aspiring comic from the Midwest is not so different from the (formerly) elegant nightclub owner or the Romanian fortune-teller as Candy develops a group of friends who love and support her.

Once again, Lorna Landvik has created a story that is all heart.  These unique individuals develop into characters that the reader cares about.  You’ll cheer for Candy as she bonds with her neighbors, navigates the world of temporary employment, and conquers the world of comedy.  You might also be inspired to bake someone a cake; or simply borrow a cup of sugar in an attempt to meet a new neighbor.