I should’ve gone to the ladies’ room before the service began. But my four cups of coffee and the 32 ounce Coke I’d drunk on the way to church hadn’t made it to my bladder until the preacher cleared his throat and began a eulogy that sounded as if it would go on six days past eternity…
And so begins the saga of Trudy Williams, our protagonist of The Ladies’ Room, by Carolyn Brown.
When I first read the premise of the story–a woman’s life changed because of some gossip she overhears in the ladies’ room–I thought it sounded cute and unique.
When I actually began the book a few weeks later I was immediately turned off by Trudy’s two cousins, Marty and Betsy, the perpetuators of the gossip at their Aunt Gert’s funeral. The whole thing felt very immature.
The final straw was when all of them, including Trudy, referred to Trudy as a frumpy, middle-aged woman and I realized that Trudy is 5 years younger than me. Ahem!
But I stuck it out, grasping to my first instinct that this would be a book worth reading. It was.
Whatever her age, I picture Trudy as a sister of Kathy Bates’ character in the movie Fried Green Tomatoes, a put‐upon housewife whose husband of twenty-plus years sees her more as a cook and laundress than a romantic partner.
Between the gossip she overhears and the result of Aunt Gert’s will, Trudy now has the motivation and means to start fresh. Her one friend is Billy Lee Tucker, a childhood acquaintance and the town misfit, who also happened to be Gert’s next door neighbor.
There is nothing deep, profound, or even unique about The Ladies’ Room, but it will still speak to many women who have found themselves in Trudy’s situation, or, at least part of it. Some aspects of it reminded me of Melody Carlson’s Dear Daphne series, with Trudy being a slightly older, married, version of Daphne.
This is not a book you read for great personal enlightenment. It is purely “escapist literature” at its. The Ladies’ Room is endearing, clean, light, and thoroughly enjoyable.