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by Toni McGee Causey
St. Martin's Griffin, May 2007
336 pages
ISBN: 0312354487

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In Lake Charles Louisiana, a tiny small time Southern town, there lives a woman named Bobbie Faye Sumrall. This day is supposed to be a good one for her as she is going to be the Queen of the Contraband Days Festival, a pirate themed celebration where Bobbie Faye is going to wear her family's tiara, as her mother did before her.

But the day will not go as planned, because when she wakes up, she finds her trailer is flooded. That happens just before the representative from child welfare is due to arrive to see if Bobbie Faye is stable enough to be awarded custody of her niece since the child's mother is an alcoholic who has been arrested by Bobbie Faye's ex-boyfriend on a drunk driving charge.

Then the day really falls apart when she gets a phone call that tells her that her brother will be killed if she doesn't hand over the seemingly worthless tiara she wears as Queen of the Contraband Days Festival.

While at the bank to get the tiara, a couple of bank robbers grab it and run. In order to follow them Bobbie Faye steals a car that happens to have its hunky good-looking driver still in it. So now with a hostage, Bobby Faye is off on a chase to catch the robbers, get her tiara back and save her brother from the kidnappers, all while trying to outrun the cops and the FBI, who now think she is the bank robber.

BOBBIE FAYE'S VERY (VERY, VERY, VERY) BAD DAY has non-stop action, as well as gunfire, wild animals, FBI men, cops and local characters who all run amok in the swamps of Louisiana. Each quirky character calls themselves friends or foes of Bobbie Faye as the whole town roots passionately either for or against her.

This book is supposed to be a wacky whirlwind of a screwball southern action farce but it doesn't get near to being the funny fast-paced ruckus of a joyful romp that the writer Toni McGee Causey seems to think it is. The premise of the book is that Bobbie Faye is much beloved by one and all, but even if she is hated, she is hated with a lot of pure passion by one and all. I can see that the author has an ocean of affection for her own Bobbie Faye character

As I read the book it occurred to me that Bobbie Fay is just another name for the infamous Mary Sue character where a writer is deeply in love with her own character. These characters have all the attributes that the writer thinks of as perfect or likable or lovable or even worshipful. They have a tragic past and mental and physical abilities superior to other people. And if the character has any flaws, those are romanticized and only make the character all the more admirable. Bobby Fay is Mary Sue and I find this type of character to be a complete bore.

Unfortunately the Bobbie Faye in this book shows no evidence of being a fascinating person, and the reader has to take the writer's word about how great is Bobbie Faye. The writer never gives the readers a chance to like or dislike the character because we are immediately told time and time again how wonderful and great Bobbie Faye is.

Bobbie Faye can shoot a gun better than the FBI man, she can shoot the rope off an anchor as she runs, all while telling her amazed hostage the names of the different boats at that dock. While running for her life she can throw a knife at a cottonmouth snake and kill it at a distance, even as her tender heart shudders at the violence of the act. She can out-run angry black bears and escape them, even when (in a funny way of course) she misjudges her step and knocks the bear out cold. All in all, the adventures of Bobbie Fay read as a fast and ultra light cartoon. There's no logic, no realism.

Not much more than a frantic action piece trying to be a comedy, this cartoon of a chase story falls far short of an entertaining read. The solution to the mystery plot of the story makes little sense mainly because it takes a long second place of importance to letting the readers see what a wonderful, interesting, funny, gorgeous, perky, lovable, tragic, strong, heroic, adventurous and fine a person Bobbie Faye is. Reading BOBBIE FAYE'S VERY (VERY, VERY, VERY) BAD DAY will turn your day into a bad one indeed.

Reviewed by A. L. Katz, April 2007

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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