SOUTHERN LADY CODE by Helen Ellis

SOUTHERN LADY CODE

Essays
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Humorous essays from a sassy Southern gal raised in Alabama and now based in New York City.

Following her well-received book of short stories, American Housewife (2016), Ellis returns with a collection of witty essays filled with commentaries on a wide variety of aspects of her life. Though she pokes fun at the current tidying trend—sparked largely by organizing consultant and author Marie Kondo—that has people sorting through and discarding mountains of stuff, she discovers that she loves a clean house (“stepping into the Container Store for me is like stepping into a crack den”). Ellis shares her wisdom on staying happily married: “On his birthday, give him a singing card and shave above your knees….On Thanksgiving, dab a little Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup behind each ear. On Super Bowl Sunday, incorporate a giant “#1” foam finger into your lovemaking.” The author also discusses why she didn’t have children, the off-the-wall birthday parties her parents threw for her and her sister, what it’s like to fly coach while seated in the middle seat, and a host of other zany topics. Throughout, she provides commentary on what certain words and phrases mean in “Southern Lady Code”—e.g., a “vintage” book means “dog-eared, with ballpoint notes in the margins”; when discussing potential pregnancies, the phrase, “ ‘if it happens, it happens’ is Southern Lady Code for we don’t want kids.” Whether she’s out shopping for a special party outfit, swiping a trench coat, or sharing some of her own mother’s witticisms, the author’s brand of humor is subtle and mostly unforced. Her one-liners—“sex is like a funny cat video: everyone thinks theirs is special, but we’ve all fallen off a couch”—and consistently droll remarks keep the amusement factor high and the pages turning.

Feisty, funny, lightweight observations on life Southern-style.

Pub Date: April 16th, 2019
ISBN: 978-0-385-54389-7
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Doubleday
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 2019




MORE BY HELEN ELLIS

FictionAMERICAN HOUSEWIFE by Helen Ellis
by Helen Ellis
FictionEATING THE CHESHIRE CAT by Helen Ellis
by Helen Ellis

SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

NonfictionFURIOUSLY HAPPY by Jenny Lawson
by Jenny Lawson
NonfictionEVERYTHING'S TRASH, BUT IT'S OKAY by Phoebe Robinson
by Phoebe Robinson
NonfictionFEMINASTY by Erin Gibson
by Erin Gibson