SLOW POISON, by Sheila Bosworth

Published in 1992, pre-Oprah Booklist, this heart-rendingly funny book about four generations of the Cades of  Covington LA (suburban New Orleans) is one of the best books I've read in a long time. It's not a 5, it's a 15! If your book club is searching for a fine, laugh-out-loud, three hankie read, this is it. It's got everything, all in perfect prose that'll make you think the author is a poet in her spare time: it's got love, thwarted love, lust, lust thwarted and unthwarted, babies alive and not, alcoholism and drug-addiction, Roman Catholic weirdness, Viet Nam, Crosley radios, life and death. Each character (and that they are) is fully fleshed out, distinct, wildly idiosyncratic. You'll love the "loyal family retainers". I cannot for the life of me figure out how the author did not put one word out of place. What a great voice Bosworth has!