In a suburban Atlanta neighborhood where divorce is as rampant as kudzu, Mary Bliss McGowan doesn't notice that her own marriage is in trouble until the summer night she finds a note from her husband, Parker, telling her he's gone -- and has taken the family fortune with him.
Stunned and humiliated, a desperate Mary Bliss, left behind with her seventeen-year-old daughter, Erin, and a mountain of debt, decides to salvage what's left of her life by telling one little bitty lie ... that starts to snowball until Parker turns up dead. Or does he?
Little Bitty Lies is a comic Southern novel not only about one woman's lifelong quest for home but also about all the important things in life: marriage and divorce, mothers and daughters, friendship and betrayal, small-town secrets -- and the perfect recipe for chicken salad.
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May 24, 2004
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Excerpt from Little Bitty Lies by Mary Kay Andrews
Mary Bliss McGowan and Katharine Weidman had reached a point in the evening from whence there was no return. They had half a bottle of Tanqueray. They had limes. Plenty of ice. Plenty of time. It was only the Tuesday after Memorial Day, so the summer still stretched ahead of them, as green and tempting as a funeral home lawn. The hell of it was, they were out of tonic water.
"Listen, Kate," Mary Bliss said. "Why don't we just switch to beer?" She gestured toward her cooler. It had wheels and a long handle, and she hauled it down to the Fair Oaks Country Club pool most nights like the little red wagon she'd dragged all over town as a little girl. "I've got four Molson Lights right there. Anyway, all that quinine in the tonic water is making my ankles swell."
She thrust one suntanned leg in the air, pointing her pink-painted toes and frowning. They looked like piggy toes, all fleshy and moist.
"Or maybe we should call it a night." Mary Bliss glanced around. The crowd had been lively for a Tuesday night, but people had gradually drifted off -- home, or to dinner, or inside, to their air conditioning and mindless summer sitcom reruns.
Bugs swarmed around the lights in the deck area. She felt their wings brushing the skin of her bare arms, but they never lit on Mary Bliss, and they never bit either. Somebody had managed to hook up the pool's PA system to the oldies radio station. The Tams and the Four Tops, the same music she'd listened to her whole life -- even though they were not her oldies but of a generation before hers -- played on.
She and Katharine were the only adults around. Three or four teenaged boys splashed around in the pool, tossing an inflated beach ball back and forth. The lifeguard, the oldest Finley boy -- Shane? Blaine? -- sat on the elevated stand by the pool and glowered in their direction. Clearly, he wanted to lock up and go to the mall.
"No," Katharine said, struggling out of her lounge chair. "No beer. Hell, it's early yet. And you know I'm not a beer drinker." She tugged at Mary Bliss's hand. "Come on, then. The Winn-Dixie's still open. We'll get some more tonic water. We'll ride with the top down."
Mary Bliss sniggered and instantly hated the sound of it. "Well-bred young ladies never drive with their tops down."