|Sarah Strohmeyer: Bubbles in Trouble|
(Paperback), ISBN 04512085012
Readers familiar with Bubbles Yablonsky's over-the-top fashion and hair would be hard pressed to see her in the Amish country of Lancaster County. But in Bubbles in Trouble, Sarah Strohmeyer brings the person and the place together with hilarious results.
Bubbles, hair dresser and occasional reporter for Lehigh's News-Times, shows up late for her friend Janice's wedding only to discover that Janice needed a ride -- from Bubbles. When she goes to pick up Janice, Bubbles discovers the bride-to-be's uncle dead in the bathroom and Janice nowhere to be found.
In an attempt to clear her friend's name of murder and get some respect as a reporter, Bubbles decides to go undercover in Whoopee, Pennsylvania, to investigate a recent crime involving two Amish boys and a gang called the Pagans. Janice, worried about the boys and from Amish country herself, worked with the police as a cultural liaison on the case until she disappeared. Now Bubbles, complete with brazen hair, mouth and style, must go undercover as an Amish woman from Ohio visiting Whoopee to find a husband.
This book's humor derives from its slapstick, over the top characters, fearlessly lead by Bubbles. Joined by her Jackie O obsessed mother; Genevieve, the militia-raising senior citizen; and G, Bubble's daughter Jane's stoner boyfriend, Bubbles brings her Steel City attitude to sprawl-endangered Lancaster County. Strohmeyer creates hilarious situations for her characters and lets them run amok as they make messes and then do their best to clean them up.
On the surface, Bubbles seems like an airhead wearing too much eye makeup with a hairspray addiction problem. Strohmeyer certainly makes an effort to bring her character's campiness into high relief, making her at times a little too self aware of her silliness. But there is more to Bubbles than her tight clothes and what they barely conceal. As a mother, she must be a role model for her teenage daughter, and as a struggling reporter and graduate of the Two Guys Community College, she fights for the respect of those in town who insist on seeing her as nothing more than a bimbo hairdresser.
While Bubbles in Trouble certainly isn't highly intellectual fiction, it provides a lot of humor at a quickly moving pace. Feel-good without being sappy or saccharine, this novel makes a perfect companion for a cozy fire and hot cocoa or a beach blanket.
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