Confessions of a Failed Southern Lady Review
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Confessions of a Failed Southern Lady, the autobiography of Florence King, will have you holding your sides laughing. She lets us in on family secrets without shaming any of the family members or making them seem small or mean. She tells tales of an unconventional mother, an English-born father, and a matriarchal grandmother—a woman who could trace her family’s bloodline back to anyone that fought in the Revolutionary War. Even if that person never existed. Really.

The book doesn’t have the usual “I’m important, read about me” tone most autobiographies have. Instead King uses her life as a backdrop to talk about the complex relationships Southern women have with each other and the stereotypes they must endure. She
gives us heartwarming and funny tales of how her grandmother, after failing to raise her daughter to be a “Southern Lady,” makes young Florence her life’s project. Florence doesn’t respond any better than her mother and instead sets off on a life that was not at all the norm for a young woman in the late 1950s and ‘60s.

Her anecdotes about the girls in junior high that only want to be popular and the bully she shared a locker with could easily be about girls forty years later. The girls in her college sorority are mirror images of her younger friends and King is just as merciless to them with similarly hysterical results. In every story she rips up the traditional images of Southern womanhood, replacing them with more modern and realistic views of females born below the Mason-Dixon line.

Never mean and always funny, Confessions is a great book. Perfect for any woman, but a must read for those still clinging to the outdated image of the Southern Belle.

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