Hoosier Daddy – Ann McMan and Salem West
Friday always seems to be making the wrong choices. Things go from bad to worse when El, a sultry labor organizer from the UAW, sweeps into town...
Friday (Jill Fryman) is stuck in a dead end town doing a dead end job at a truck factory which appears to be on its last legs. Processes are failing, management only cares for profit, and the safety and welfare of the assembly line workers is bottom of the list. After 10 years of trying to improve things in her own way, keep the peace and help as much as she can without management authority, Friday has lost her way and doubts her own value. Add to that a series of poor relationship decisions and she is pretty far down on the scale of self worth.
When the UAW agitators arrive to drum up support for a Union vote the future of the factory seems even more dubious, but Friday finds herself attracted to the gorgeous El who may be the catalyst which destroys the local towns economy.
As the plant management fail to protect its workers and support for the Union vote increases, Friday is torn between her growing attraction for the agitator and her knowledge that once the union campaign is over El will be off to the next battle, leaving her even more empty and alone.
As a Brit who has never been to the Midwest, let alone a small town dominated by the automotive industry I have to put my hands up and say there were many things in this book which took some time to understand. Having read a huge number of US based LesFic romances I thought I had read a reasonably broad range of American experiences from blue collar to high society and from Southern Belles and California babes to East Coast Alpha power players.
If you don’t have any reference points then the assembly line practices, the family interactions and the small town society can all feel alien. To be honest the first third of the book felt like I was reading about a different country, possibly even in a different language. In the UK all auto factories are unionized, it’s a given, so even thinking through the choices US workers face was a challenge.
But these characters grow on you. They are warm, human and well rounded. Their relationships are founded in love and knowledge, and a huge amount of small town tolerance for each other.
The story takes us on a journey, it challenges us to think about the politics and the implications for a small community whose whole economy is routed in one failing industry. Both Friday and El are aware that there are 2 sides to every argument and while in a poorly run plant the union might be essential to protect the workers, it wont benefit everybody.
At the same time we have the budding and yet troubled romance between the two women. El who has run away from a personal mess and Friday who has lost herself. Their attraction is obvious and their growing affection is humorously written and lovely to watch. The interaction and intervention of Friday’s friends and Grammy as the story unfolds make this a tale set in a level of love and understanding not many of us have encountered.
I thoroughly enjoyed it. And if you struggle at the beginning because it isn’t a familiar environment I would strongly recommend working your way in to the town, the people and the romance. It will definitely be on my re-read pile for the future.