The Half-Mammals of Dixie is a great collection of short stories—fifteen
in all—centered around the most eclectic group of Southerners you’d
ever want to meet. These are all people that are just a tad off balance but
not enough to stop them from walking around in public like anyone else.
George Singleton creates characters that are treat to read about. He puts them
in situations that force them to do things that you don’t expect. Then
he shows the humor that emerges. In one such story, a couple buys an “At-Home-Marriage-Repair-Kit”
and answers the one hundred plus questions that come in the kit. There’s
the story about a dad that sends bogus Show-and-Tell objects to school with
his second grade son to woo the teacher (who just happens to be one of
old girlfriends). Another story is about a man whose life was ruined when, as
a child, he starred in a health department movie about head lice.
The characters in all of these stories have depth. Nothing is as simple as
it looks at first and it’s not easy to dismiss any of their situations.
None of the characters are purely good or purely evil; instead, each has those
shades of gray that make them feel authentic. These are the people that live
around you and are as real as any character can be in only a handful of pages.
Half-Mammals is a terrific book for the holidays. The length of the
stories is perfect for reading while waiting on a plane, or while riding down
the Interstate. Each will stand alone and you can return to the book days later
feeling like you set the collection down only moments ago.
I recommend you pick this book up soon. You won’t be disappointed.