Saturday, October 29, 2011

Book Review: Mambo Panties

Tom Doyal, the author of Mambo Panties, is an old friend of mine. By “old” I’m not referring to age, but to how long we’ve been friends. Tom lives in Austin and I live in a nearby small bump in the road. Surprisingly, we don’t see each other all that often.When he emailed and asked if I’d like to read Mambo Panties, I said, Send it to me! And he did -- actually, he sent a code so I could download it.

I had no idea what to expect of a book with the title of Mambo Panties.

 Even after reading Mambo Panties, I’m not sure what genre label to give it. It’s like going to your local History Center and reading snippets from a time long ago. It’s fiction yet the news pieces and tales feel like they were written by real people and then collected in a book to share with today’s generation. Both the stories and the news clippings are personal, relevant even today, and so close I felt as though I knew these people and the wind carried their whispers.

As an example, I’ll talk about one piece called “Housekeeping Kit.” Agnes, now living in a place called Golden Oaks, remembers back to her wedding day and the start of her life with Houston. This story, only seven and a half pages long, takes you through their wedding and the first few days of their life together as they furnish the house Monroe Felps “made them as a wedding present of one year’s rent with the customary terms for farming on shares the next year” and which Agnes and her sisters had cleaned up, including killing four rattlesnakes. By the end of just those few pages, I wanted to know more about their lives and what the future held for them.

So many of these stories would make wonderful full length character stories. But they don’t have to be. As they are, they’re snippets of lives long ago that are still relevant today. Some of the stories are longer than the one I talked about here. Some, especially the newspaper clippings, are quite short, maybe only a paragraph or two. Together, the stories and news clippings give this fiction book a feeling of non-fiction.

Mambo Panties is quiet, yet compelling … old, yet relevant … and intriguing to read, time and time again.

You can find Mambo Panties at:
Audio, via Tom Doyal’s website

I give Mambo Panties a rating of Hel-of-a-Read. I didn’t know what to expect when I got the book, which is just as well, since I never would have expected a peek into history to be so interesting. For me, it was indeed a Hel-of-a-Read.
FTC Disclaimer: This book was given to me by the author, Tom Doyal. That did not influence my review. Another thing that did not influence my review was the title: Mambo Panties. I still don’t know what Mambo Panties are, and I’d like to know. So Tom, if you stop by, please explain . After reading the book, I’m sure they’re prettier than Rambo Panties. And they’re less rare than Dumbo Panties. And probably hold up better than Samba Panties and possibly not as black as Zorro Panties. But, considering the time setting, they’re nothing like Bikini Panties. There. I think I’ve broken the record for the number of times I’ve typed panties in one paragraph. So, while I say, Bye Bye Panties, I encourage you to say Hello to Mambo Panties. Hmm, I see a possible lingerie giveaway at book signings…if it's possible to do book signings for e-books. Hey, I'm just asking. Don't get your panties in a mambo.


  1. This does sound like an interesting read indeed Hel. I'll check it out, thanks for sharing.

  2. PLEASE! Someday consider gathering your disclaimers into a little book. I have tears of laughter swimming in my eyes. Good thing I can touch-type.

    I want to know what Mambo Panties are too. Catchy title for a book!

  3. I tell you, the title alone would have made me need to know more...thanks for the review, and the normal disclaimer laugh!

  4. Lovely post/disclaimer - I think you should do stand up comedy Helen.

  5. If you find out what Mambo Panties means, please let us know!

  6. Now I've got Dean Martin singing "Mambo Italiano" in my head. Anybody got a nice chianti?

  7. Intriguing indeed. The word panties I know and can visualise. Mambo is an Australian artist. Putting the two together would be rather eye-catching to say the least, as I'm sure they'd be made to be seen! Sue

  8. I like your disclaimer as much as the review! Best wishes to Tom and his book Mambo Panties!

  9. Gayle, what does the Mambo mean in Mambo Italiano? Maybe that would give us a clue.

  10. Sounds interesting ... very sly of Mr. Doyal to slip 'panties' into the title ... why don't I ever think of things like that?

  11. The only thing I can find is that it either refers to a rumba-like dance or a voodoo priestess.

  12. The title brought to my mind the title of one of Joe Lansdale's books, The Two-bear Mambo. It didn't mean anything to me, either, until once inside the story we learn that "two-bear mambo" refers to mating behavior as it might be shown on Animal Planet. So now I have an image in my head of a bear wearing panties and another bear and, well, I don't want to go any farther.

  13. I think you'd be safe to read Mambo Panties, Mark. I don't remember a bear in the book.


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