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m j . hollingshead

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A Mouth Full of Shell.......................Molly's Reviews
By m j . hollingshead
Last edited: Saturday, February 08, 2003
Posted: Saturday, February 08, 2003

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           >> View all 534
The fine line between victim and victor may be mighty thin

Reviewed first for author
Title: .Mouth Full of Shell
Author: .Connie Gotsch
Line/Publisher: .DLSIJ
Release Date: .2001
ISBN: .1-928973-44-2
Formats:. I was sent a paperback for review
Enjoyed the read Recommended 4 Stars

The Review:
Betsy Craig began her career in the little Kansas town Spring Water where as a young reporter she quickly learned that small town mentality and the ‘good old boy’ syndrome was alive, well and going to cause her trouble. Betsy’s boss Bob Parker is unreasonable in his firing of Betsy because a local rowdy muttered a swear word into the open mic during an interview. Parker tells Betsy that were she a man the incident would never have taken place. When Betsy seeks legal recourse she finds herself facing a brick wall and decides to leave Kansas for the opportunities she hopes will be greater in Pennsylvania.

Fourteen years pass and Dr Craig, Professor at Mountain View University is up for tenure. Betsy has taught journalism and broadcasting at the school for six years, has begun a growing relationship with the Dean of English, Todd Baker and feels her life is on a positive track. She is aghast when the retention Committee turn down her tenure because her immediate boss Dr Steve Harding has not sent a letter supporting tenure for Betsy.

Betsy is dismayed to learn that Steve’s supervisor Dean Chambers is determined to get rid of her and has put pressure on Steve to withhold his support for her. Betsy suspects that her relationship with Todd may be part of the underlying cause for what has happened. Chambers’ secretary is a woman who would like to continue the relationship she and Todd enjoyed prior to Betsy. As if this were not enough Betsy is soon scrutinized because of attention she receives from ROTC director Mike Kelly.

Mountain View is a borough steeped in its heritage. Many of the citizens have lived in the area for generations and make themselves part of every segment of the Community. The town is controlled by The Founders and Betsy is not welcomed by several of the more puissant of the present day family members. From the outright maneuvering of Anna to machination of supposed friend Steve Harding Betsy learns that she is being forced out. Back in Kansas she chose to leave and find another job. At that time Betsy decided that life is like a hard boiled egg. At times we must just eat a little shell along with the good stuff. Here in Pennsylvania she decides to stay and fight. Betsy is a might wary: her last foray against discrimination was not a success.

Gives the reader a glimpse into the lives of many small communities run by the descendants of the founders where rumor mongering, willful incompetents and downright ugly people hold sway over others. We are led to realize that the fine line between victim and victor may be mighty thin.

Filled with intense imagery and absorbing characters sure to keep the reader turning pages A Mouth Full of Shell is a well wrought work showing some of the problems to be encountered by a determined woman in a male dominated, tight knit world. Writer Gotsch has produced characters who are well developed, often not very likeable and very convincing. Betsy has to be tough, she is a sympathetic character the reader can empathize with as she struggles to take charge of her own life.

A Mouth Full of Shell will grip the reader from the first line and carry along on a worrisome ride to the final paragraph as we grapple with the unfairness often facing Betsy. It is not a book for everyone, those who do not care for a feminist viewpoint, or think that ‘good old boy rule’ is best will not care for the work. Discerning readers who do enjoy a well wrought tale filled with a bit of social message, nicely crafted settings and characters, vibrant dialogue at times hard hitting and gritty and a strong woman who does win in the end will find the book to their taste.

Enjoyed the read Recommended 4 Stars

Reviewed by: molly martin


Reader Reviews for "A Mouth Full of Shell.......................Molly's Reviews"

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Reviewed by A Serviceable Villain 2/13/2005

Your book ratings are of critical importance to an author and your's are written with depth and conviction - I salute you!!

Best wishes,

Reviewed by Jeremy 7/6/2003
A good full review with just enough information to help the reader decide and not so much as to give away the plot.
Reviewed by Andy 2/10/2003
If the book is as interesting and good as the review, I would sure like to read it.
Reviewed by A. A. 2/10/2003
Very good review! Sounds interesting.

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