Buster Midnight’s Cafe – A Book Review

I’m a little embarrassed to admit this: Like a bottle of wine in a suburban grocery store, I purchased this book in a used book store because I liked the cover. It looked folksy and warm. We’ve been all told you can’t judge a book by it’s cover. This time I have a feeling the artist read the book before doing the cover art because it captured the feeling of the book – folksy and warm.

Buster Midnight’s Cafe by Sandra Dallas has one of the most unique voices I’ve read. It’s told in the first person and captures the essence of not just the narrator’s character, but all the other characters, including Butte, Montana – which is as much a character in this story as a setting. It’s the story of the Unholy Three, Effa Commander, Whippy Bird and May Anna Kovacks, who leaves Butte for a “storybook” life in Hollywood and a new name, Marion Street. While by most standards May Anna is the most successful, the narrator, Effa, seems to have a different view. It covers their entire lives from the 20s on, through Prohibition, World War II and on.

The unusual names are an important part of the story and make it that much more intriguing. Unfortunately, this book was released in the early 90s and may be a challenge to track down – but it is certainly worth the hunt.

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