The novel is at its most entertaining in the vivid conversations among Whizbang’s small business people, lovers, early adopters and more conservative pillars of the community.
Ruby Trotter’s hairdressing salon is advertised as being “unisex” and there’s great debate about just exactly what that means.
“Unisex means trouble,” one macho man growls.
Most of the first 150 pages involve extended dialogue debating Ruby Trotter’s scandalous flamboyance and what changes it means for Whizbang.
Hair color and haircuts matter. Stylish new Mustang automobiles matter.
Round beds with satin sheets had never been seen outside Cosmopolitan or Playboy before Ruby came to town.
She represents a world outside small town Oklahoma that’s at once attractive and repellent.
Trotter’s an independent business woman with a mind of her own who infuriates and provides erotic arousal to the male cast of characters.
Most of the action occurs near the end of the novel.
Ruby marries Wilber Ebbe, the shy and seemingly inexperienced chamber of commerce vice president. It turns out he really does know how to lock lips.
There’s a big “Suppressed Desire Halloween Party” that allows all comers to let their hair down, which results in further matrimony. Ruby saves Whizbang’s entire business district from fire with a garden hose. This results in her being admitted as a member of the chamber of commerce and celebrated with a banner bearing her name over Main Street.
It’s a whirlwind final 25 pages that culminates with Ruby and Wilber leaving for a three-month honeymoon. This extended love-fest is seen naturally as a sign of the times by a female resident.
“Welcome to Whizbang, Ruby Trotter” is a book about culture wars 50 years ago that are, sadly, often still being waged today.