The self-proclaimed Southern queen of “weird news” reporting offers a collection of dispatches.
Huntsville, Alabama–based journalist and humor columnist Kazek (co-author: Alabama Scoundrels, 2014, etc.) shares amusing anecdotes detailing her life and career as a newswoman and popular blogger. The book’s lively introduction is hilarious, setting a casual, affable tone much akin to having a fun coffee date with a chatty best friend. The author divulges that as a child she didn’t envision herself as the “person who gets emails about UFO sightings and invitations to Bigfoot hunts,” and now she produces reports on oddities around her home state of Alabama and beyond. She describes her childhood as an “innocent time” in the 1970s with Mercurochrome for leg scrapes, a big brother whom she idolized, cheerleading, rhinestone tiaras, and adolescent adventures. As a journalist, she covered “nekkid” news stories, newsroom foibles, celebrities, UFO sighting groups, and a clever array of priceless truisms on parenting. Though delivered with cleverness and effervescent charm, the work also provides depth and true affection. Kazek’s mother died when the author was in her mid-20s, and she poignantly admits to still not being able to write about her, though a short, sweet anecdote involving chains and a tree is pure heart. Memories combined with pet names for her husband (“Sweetums”), daughter (“Baby Girl”), and brother (“Doofus”) elevate the homespun charisma even further. Boosting the allure of the delightful book is the addition of “How to Visit” sections of bizarre “ODDyssey” tourism that feature photographs, locations, and ways to visit a wide selection of area curiosities like the Stonehenge replicas in Alabama and Kentucky, the mysterious Georgia Guidestones, and the gastronomic Athens (Alabama) Grease Festival. Representing herself as a Southern writer brimming with wit, Kazek presents stories that aren’t tall tales that stretch the limits of plausibility but are instead reflections of the eccentric nature of her Southern life—and life in general—when it’s enjoyed with a positive attitude and a healthy sense of humor.
Fans of Fannie Flagg should be overjoyed to discover the rustic, lighthearted musings of this Southern writer, who enchants with keen, droll observations and needlepoint wisdom.