Deep Dish by Mary Kay Andrews was one of the best books I read last year. I just loved it and have been passing it around to all of my friends and family. While I enjoy sharing such a great book, I also miss having it in the house to reread. To help pass the time until the release of Mary Kay’s latest offering The Fixer Upper (due June 23) I found myself hunting some of her older novels…
As far as I can tell Little Bitty Lies was the second book to be published under the Mary Kay Andrews name (a Booklist review on Amazon cites the author as also having titles – mostly mystery series – available as Kathy Trocheck) to see publication. Like all of her novel’s thus far it is set in Georgia. There’s something especially voyeuristic about reading a book that reflects one’s own lifestyle, hometown, or social setting with such accuracy. While I am not quite at the stage of life for the protagonist Mary Bliss McGowan to resemble one of my immediate neighbors she definitely seems very much like someone I might know. The Atlanta social niceties, so much like those in my own home town, are skewered here with such love and humor that it is almost squirm inducing!
Mary Bliss is a hard working teacher, mother and wife. She’s a dutiful daughter-in-law and a good friend. Prim and a wound a little too tightly in the first chapter, I found her almost nauseating in her perfection, the kind of woman who both intimidates and frustrates me in real life. Even as her life spirals rapidly out of control she seems like an automaton, a reincarnated Stepford wife in the Atlanta suburbs. It wasn’t until Mary Bliss steps out to water her tomatoes during a drought that the character clicked with me and from that point on I couldn’t put the book down.
Full of equal parts humor and pathos, Little Bitty Lies is probably best as a summer read if only because that’s the best time of year to get the fresh tomatoes you’ll soon be craving after reading it! As an extra bonus Mary Kay includes the chicken salad recipe that is featured in the novel as one of Mary Bliss’s specialties.