Picks and Pans Review: Dixie Riggs
by Sarah Gilbert
The protagonist of this novel, Dixie Riggs of Myrtle Beach, S.C., has some things going for her: long dark hair, a good figure, pluck and a full, rich imagination. Unfortunately she also has an amazingly inaccurate view of herself—"I know how to take things as far as they can go before they shouldn't go any further"—and amazingly poor judgment about men.
Worse, her story is often too off-color, too distasteful, too redneck—and pretentiously so. The author thinks she's being sassy, when she's just being vulgar.
Dixie has gone and lost her heart to Buck Speed, a bodybuilder who has dreams of winning the Mr. Universe contest and making his name a household word. And when his name gets into enough households, he thinks, he will become a televangelist, "bringing the name of the Lord right into you as you sat on your own sofa." It's a lofty ambition but difficult to live with. Every time the two make love, Buck drags Dixie off the bed, onto her knees and into "his strange idea of afterplay: prayer."
Distraught, Dixie finally resorts to taking a course at Renee Dupree's World of Fashion Modeling. It will just be a matter of time before Dixie's on the cover of Vogue and Buck is on his knees praying for her return. And all this might have happened except for a few things: some porno pictures, a wet T-shirt contest, Dixie's injudicious use of a credit card belonging to Buck's mother and the intrusions of Dixie's much-married mother, LeDaire, and the woman Dixie considers her best friend, Sparkle Starling.
Some of Gilbert's second novel (Hairdo was the first) is mildly funny. But there's a repetitiveness to Dixie's misadventures, and Ms. Riggs isn't engaging enough a heroine to compensate for all the novel's shortcomings. (Warner, $ 18.95)
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