Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Leftover Sweet Potatoes

The new Jill Conner Browne book American Thighs came out in January, and it's a small, warmed-up portion of what she's dished out so exuberantly over the past decade. She gives a few new recipes in a chapter in the back and says of one dish "I will eat this, gravy and all, completely cold out of the refrigerator the next morning," and that seems to me an apt comparison to her book. If you haven't heard of the Sweet Potato Queens before, you should go right out and get a copy of The Sweet Potato Queens' Book of Love, but if you've read it, you don't need to be getting up out of your comfortable chair and braving the March winds to go find out what all else she has to say. Pretty much what she's saying is that it's still possible to enjoy life even if you're a baby boomer and therefore over 50 years old now.

The previous books were enjoyable even if you weren't a baby boomer, but this one has a kind of "we're all in this together" feel that I didn't identify with at all. This woman is still of the era in which women wore "outfits" and got "hairdos." She explains a few amusing southernisms--Ron and I both enjoyed her explanation of the phrase "she didn't want to be ugly to anyone" because that's a phrase we haven't heard in a while, living in Ohio. My daughter and I enjoyed her description of what it was (and still is, unfortunately) like to try to buy clothes that conform to a school dress code when you're at least eight inches taller than other girls. And she still writes entertainingly and doesn't mince words:
"Most 'therapy' amounts to expensive self-indulgence for those of us who have used up our free resources by wearing all available friends and family slap OUT with our never-ending whinings about our Situations, and now we would prefer to pay large sums of money to a stranger who is willing (for a price) to endlessly listen to our endless crap---as opposed to just, say, DOING something DIFFERENT."

Those of you who enjoyed Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood might enjoy this latest offering from a southern writer of that generation, as the publishers have probably noted, since there's a similarity to the cover pictures: cover of the book


Anna said...

I read the first Sweet Potatoes Queen book and thought it was a riot. None of the follow ups measured up to that one though.

Diary of an Eccentric

Jeanne said...

Anna, I still read a bit from TSPQBOL to my classes when I teach The Wife of Bath's Prologue from The Canterbury Tales. It's always a hit!