Dimestore is a collection of essays wherein Lee Smith describes everything from her childhood to the archetype of a fussy southern woman, which Ms. Smith herself certainly is not.
One of the parts I will probably remember longest is her decision to visit the new, gargantuan Walmart which has been invited (yes, invited) into the heart of her Virginia hometown in search of wine to help her cope with all the change she sees around her during her visit. She explains that this will be her only chance to buy alcohol in Grundy because the town fathers drove away a potential Applebee's due to the fact that they serve mixed drinks. There is something shocking and charming about seeing such evil in mediocre, overpriced margaritas.
Smith's nonfiction is incredibly easy to read. It's not simple or unintelligent, but it gives to the reader rather than making demands. The author herself calls the short works which make up the book essays, but the word seems too formal. The essays of such a well-respected author should be weighty things which require highlighting and rereading for one to truly understand them. Right? But each of the stories here is a little flower, already in bloom and self contained, which Smith places in our hand.