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Florence King rocks

I have never even been to the South, but I must say that Florence King's autobiographical Confessions of a Failed Southern Lady is one of the best (and funniest) books I've read this year. (If King's name sounds familiar to those who read National Review, it's because she used to write "The Misanthrope's Corner" on their last page--before retiring to, presumably, enjoy being a misanthrope.) Some samples, which should reverberate well with:

Women and/or Southerners: One of the joys of growing up Southern is listening to women argue about whether nervous breakdowns are more feminine than female trouble, or vice versa. ...the Southern woman is not happy unless her family history manifests one or the other. (5)

Introverts: Recess was the bane of my existence because I had to play--yes, play--with the watery moles [other children]; otherwise one of the Life Adjustment teachers would spray me with friendly fire. It was a transitional period in education: the traditionalists were on their way out and the huggybears were on their way in. Huggybears loved playground duty because it gave them a golden opportunity to smoke out introverts. When they saw one, they came bounding up like lovelorn fascists, shrilling, "What are you doing here all alone?" (64)

Objectivists or those who smirk at them: [In ninth grade, after reading The Fountainhead and being determined to be like the character Dominique Francon:] I stopped walking and started striding, taking care to turn my flat feet inward so I would look like an egoist instead of a duck. I kept my eyes locked straight ahead, causing myself a number of collisions and falls. I forced my jaw into a rational clamp, which broke the rubber bands on my braces and made me dribble down my front. In the name of individualism I quit Le Cercle Francais. I longed to quit organizations right and left, but unfortunately, French Club was the only one I had ever joined. I gave some thought to ending my friendships, but having only two, it did not seem worthwhile. (92)

Those who have visited the deep South, or tend to repeat themselves: [Example of Mississippi echolalia:] "When a guhl has a phone call, you know what Ah mean, when the telephone rings, when somebody is callin' huh up. When a guhl has a phone call, you press huh bell once. When she has a calluh, when a boy comes in to get huh, you know what Ah'm tryin' to say, when they've got a date that night and he picks huh up, when he comes in and asks for huh in puhson 'stead of callin' on the phone, you unnerstand what Ah mean? When she has a calluh, then you press huh bell twice. That way, she knows whethuh she's got a phone call or a calluh. 'Cause see, if she has a calluh and you press huh bell once 'stead of twice, she'll think it's a call 'stead of a calluh. She'd come downstairs in huh dressin' gown with huh hair up in cullahs, and there stands huh calluh, just standin' there right in front of huh just as big as life. She'd just die of embarrassment, you know what Ah mean, she'd just fall down dead is what Ah'm sayin', she'd just perish!" (183-4)

Also, there's femslash in it, for those who like that. So I suppose really there's something to offend everyone, written in a way that I love helplessly. You go, Flo.

In other news, we are finally moved in to our new house, but the place resembles an abandoned rummage sale at the moment, so what with unpacking and the holidays, I may not be on here much. Except from work. Righto. Merry Christmas, if I don't post before then.

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Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
puabi
Dec. 21st, 2004 06:06 am (UTC)
Florence King, she was awesome.
elycia
Dec. 21st, 2004 07:56 am (UTC)
I have never even been to the South

So come and VISIT already!!!!!!

We do have rather a distinctive way of doing things down here, and the farther you get from a major city, the more old-school you'll find the behavior.

You really *should* find this out for yourself, y'know. :-)
mollyringle
Dec. 29th, 2004 10:02 am (UTC)
Heheh...I definitely should! There are lots of places on this very continent that I've never been, and must get around to seeing--most of them in the eastern half. Could be very anthropologically interesting. ;)
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )