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
grandmothera woman who could trace her familys bloodline back to
anyone that fought in the Revolutionary War. Even if that person never existed.
The book doesnt have the usual Im 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 lifes project. Florence doesnt
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any woman, but a must read for those still clinging to the outdated image of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.