Paperback: 316 pages
Publisher: Arctic Wolf Publishing
Did you know that the Virgin Mary had an evil twin? Neither did the outrageous residents of Steadfast, Kentucky until she showed up to sabotage their annual Ham Happening--a three-day celebration of all things pork. But before the opening Ham Ball even gets rolling, Myrtle swoops in and embarks upon a mission involving performing pigs, a sadistic soap star, the Miss Ham Honey pageant, same sex marriage, big hair, and genetic engineering. The fate of the town is left to young festival president Tancy Sloane, a rebel in her own right, who must decide whether to stop the renegade saint...or to join her. The Miracle of Myrtle: Saint Gone Wild is sweet tea with a big shot of bourbon and a juicy slice of the supernatural. Prepare for a party on every page.
The Miracle of Myrtle is good campy fun and I am all about campy! This book is pure entertainment of the laugh out loud, hold your gut, snot soda out of your nose, try not to pee your pants kind. If you think this is just a quaint little book about a small, rural town in Kentucky, you are sorely misinformed, because this book is funny to the tenth power, an over the top look at Steadfast, Kentucky - eternal population of 1,013. Steadfast - site of the annual Ham Happening - is home to an eclectic collection of residents that look like a combination of FRIENDS, QUEER AS FOLK, and THE FLINSTONES all mashed together on steroids.
Tancy Sloane is the first woman president of the Steadfast Ham Happening and she is determined to make a name for herself and prove she can have the best ham festival in history, but she has a quagmire of obstacles to overcome. Like Beau, her sarcastic husband, who wants to be the Best of the Best in the Barbeque Cook-Off. He stumbles across the coveted recipe of the late Barbeque Champ Critter Johnson and claims it as his own.
Then there is Miss Rosalind of Miss Rosalind's Charm School, Dance Studio and Palm Reading Emporium, a rotund psychic who is in charge of preparing the contestants for the Miss Ham Honey Contest. Contestants like Mary Sue Ann Cogburn the prettiest girl in the county and her herd of trained dancing pigs. Contestants like Little Lucy Dobbs, a grown woman who dresses and acts like Shirley Temple, but is the biggest slut in town. And then there is Floydette Clay, a bottom-heavy poser who is determined to win the crown with the help of her mother and loads of money.
Stevie de Panache - who was "...a redneck before I was a queer" - works with Roy McGuire at The Primping Palace, the place for female beautification in Steadfast. Now, before you go thinking Stevie and Roy are our token gay couple, you need to know that Roy is in love with acting legend Alexis Monroe, who, by divine intervention, comes to town during the Ham Happening.
Then there is Myrtle ... Myrtle arrives in the beginning of the book to take Tancy's grandmother, "To a place where the men are hot, the martinis are cold, and the facelifts are free." Myrtle is a saint who lives in a loft in the nicest section of Purgatory and she is on a mission from God she hopes will finally get her into heaven.
One of my favorite quotes comes from Myrtle as she is escorting another one into the light:
"To an antebellum mansion in the sky where the magnolias are always in bloom, the Republicans are never in office, and all the blushing brides wear white leather tuxedos and carry parasols."
Never in all my 47 years have I come across a book that had dancing pigs, 6-feet tall chickens and the evil twin of the Virgin Mary. If you have a problem with crude language, this book is not for you. But, if you are looking for a campy plot, colorful writing and a fun escape from mainstream fiction, this rip-roaring book may be just the ticket. I started reading Myrtle one night while my family was watching TV and I caught myself laughing out loud and giggling uncontrollably and a few times I had to stop and read passages to them. This is one of those books you just have to experience, like the first bite of a deep fried Twinkie - you know it's so bad for you, but it tastes so good.