Tomlinson, the Belle of All Things Southern, is a “born and bread storyteller.” She hears voices, voices telling her stories. Storytelling runs in her veins.A few quotes might give you an idea of laugh out loud kind of book this is. On gaining weight: “I've now arrived at the point where my body weight can be sustained with three grapes and two peanuts, hence the...thickening waistline.” (6) On men: “Bubbas don't do context clues.” She suspects it's their hearing. Hearing = effort and Bubbas don't see the need to exert the effort when they can just ask their sweethearts to repeat themselves. Or is it that they are not ready to hear us? They need advance warning that communication is about to begin. It's important to get your man's attention before you start talking.
She waxes eloquent on the “Big Boned Theory,” “weighing heavy,” menopause (the Raging Inferno Syndrome), and the Reclining Male Syndrome.
She tells the story of her Uncle Sam falling asleep during church. “...[A]fter church, when everybody was ribbing him pretty good, he told his side of the story. 'It's like this,' Uncle Stan said, 'I know y'all have heard that it's not polite to fall asleep when your wife is talking haven't you? Well, for goodness' sakes, people, a man has to sleep sometime.'” (51)Tomlinson has divided men into the catagories of Stray Bubbas, House Bubbas, and Yard Bubbas. “...[S]tray Bubbas can be domesticated, but their impulsive tendencies should never be underestimated.” (54-55) House Bubbas are around 24/7. Yard Bubbas clean up well and are a quality choice. He can “stay busy with his own interests while exhibiting unwavering loyalty to his sweetheart.” (55)
She tells stories on herself too. She taught herself to sew while her kids were much too young to notice the extra sleeves on their little jumpers. (126)
One of her chapter titles: Self-Cleaning Underwear, an Idea Whose Time Shall Never Come.
Tomlinson is pretty good at keeping up the laugh out loud stories from her family and friends throughout the book. She describes her writing style as “one prolonged state of digression.” The title of her last chapter says it all: If All Else Fails, Laugh.
Tomlinson has included mouth watering Southern recipes at the end of each chapter. So make something Southern (a weekly recipe on her website) and sit down with this quirky guide to Southern life.
As a Northerner (born and raised on an island in Puget Sound, Washington), I loved this book! If you want to check out some of her craziness, go to www.allthingssouthern.com/.
Shellie Rushing Tomlinson and her husband Phil live and farm in the Louisiana Delta. Tomlinson is owner and publisher of All Things Southern and the host of the weekly radio show All Things Southern as well as a weekly video segment by the same name. Listeners also hear Shellie in her All Things Southern radio segments aired across the South. Shellie writes a weekly inspirational feature in Newsstar and a monthly print and online column for Lousiana Road Trips.
Berkley Books, 320 pages. Buy the book.
I received a copy of this book from Berkley Books for the purpose of this review.