HIDING MY CANDY by Lady Chablis


The Autobiography of the Grand Empress of Savannah
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 A brassy, forthright autobiography from the flamboyant, cross- dressing black diva made famous by John Berendt's bestselling Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. As Berendt's admiring introduction notes, The Lady Chablis is a legal name, adopted as much for copyright protection as to define her identity. That's typical of the savvy, self-promoting Grand Empress of Savannah: She bills herself as a performance artist rather than as a drag queen. Controlling perceptions of herself (and generally getting her way) is a top priority for the willful Chablis. Labels having always been an issue, she prefers to name herself. Chablis's talent emerged early; she started performing in drag at age 14. Her defiant embrace of femininity earned beatings from her abusive parents but acceptance from small-town Florida neighbors. Chablis candidly relates a string of professional and personal troubles, including struggles with drugs and alcohol, battles with unscrupulous club owners, and a series of unsatisfactory romances; her honesty provides substance beneath the sass. Like her nightclub act, which evolved from lip-synching disco tunes to politically charged monologues, her life, as she comes to see it, is about the struggle to find a voice and to gain respect. After she's arrested for the possession of drugs (she has to explain why she calls herself Brenda Knox when her driver's license says that she is Benjamin Knox, her birth name), Chablis confronts the question of how to force the world to accept her as a woman. She considers but rejects sex-change surgery, opting instead to be her outrageous self without giving up her ``candy.'' She remains a preoperative transsexual, a clinical definition that answers the most tiresome question directed at her but inadequately describes the verve and boldness with which she has lived her life and recounts it here (aided by freelance writer Bouloukos). A funny, combative walk on the wild side, told with tremendous heart and charm. (photos, not seen) (Author tour)

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-671-52094-6
Page count: 208pp
Publisher: Pocket
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 1996


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