In her latest novel, A Life of Bright Ideas, Sandra Kring brilliantly paints a picture of small-town life in the 70’s. The story is told from the point of view of “Button”, an 18-year-old girl fresh from high school and searching for her place in the world. The premise, clichéd, yes, but Kring spins a tale full of friendship, family, love, and the Vietnam War, all culminating in a true life of bright ideas.
We were first introduced to this cast of characters in The Book of Bright Ideas; we find ourselves back in Dauber, Wisconsin nine years later. There is, of course, Button, local seamstress and still reeling from the death of her mother. Surrounding her is her little brother, her aunt and uncle, both hilarious characters unto themselves, and the local farm hand, Tommy. We are later introduced to Winalee, Button’s best friend since childhood and newly-formed hippie.
What follows is no fairy tale, fantasy story, or farfetched account. The way Kring writes is simple, real, and for all we know, a first-hand account of life in Wisconsin. That’s what makes Life so magical. It’s real, no-holds-barred, in your face life. And it’s amazing. Kring pares solid writing with a story so involved that you will not want to put this book down.
A Life of Bright Ideas is well-written and lovely, and when I turned the last page, I wanted more. You will too. Pick it up today.