Monday, April 4, 2011

Miss Hildreth Wore Brown by Olivia deBelle Byrd

From While Olivia deBelle Byrd was repeating one of her many Southern stories for the umpteenth time, her long-suffering husband looked at her with glazed over eyes and said,“Why don’t you write this stuff down?” Thus was born Miss Hildreth Wore Brown—Anecdotes of a Southern Belle. If the genesis for a book is to shut your wife up, I guess that’s as good as any. On top of that, Olivia’s mother had burdened her with one of those Southern middle names kids love to make fun. To see “deBelle” printed on the front of a book seemed vindication for all the childhood teasing. With storytelling written in the finest Southern tradition from the soap operas of Chandler Street in the quaint town of Gainesville, Georgia, to a country store on the Alabama state line, Oliviade Belle Byrd delves with wit and amusement into the world of the Deep South with all its unique idiosyncrasies and colloquialisms. The characters who dance across the pages range from Great-Aunt LottieMae, who is as “old-fashioned and opinionated as the day is long,” to Mrs. Brewton, who calls everyone “dahling” whether they are darling or not, to Isabella with her penchant for mint juleps and drama. Humorous anecdotes from a Christmas coffee, where one can converse with a lady who has Christmas trees with blinking lights dangling from her ears, to Sunday church,where a mink coat is mistaken for possum, will delight Southerners and baffle many a non-Southerner. There is the proverbial Southern beauty pageant, where even a six-month-old can win a tiara, to a funeral faux pas of the iron clad Southern rule—one never wears white after Labor Day and, dear gussy, most certainly not to a funeral. Miss Hildreth Wore Brown—Anecdotes of a Southern Belle is guaranteed to provide an afternoon of laugh-out-loud reading and hilarious enjoyment.

What a treat of a book! I feel like I just sat on the porch with a friend laughing our way through stories. I really like Southern humor in this style, just gentle stories that find the humor in every day events. It reminds me a little bit of one of my favorite comediennes, Jeanne Robertson, another Southern humorist, and takes me back to the columns in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution of Lewis Grizzard and Celestine Sibley. In this collection of essays, Olivia deBelle Byrd takes us through every stage of life. Her opening lines give a taste of what the book is like, "I got exactly two spankings growing up. That's one more than my daughter and 3,254 less than my son." Olivia tells tales of child-rearing and church going and shopping and hair - themes that every women will relate to, not just those raised in the South. All of the stories were great but I think she's at her best telling stories about her family. It's obvious that she loves them but everyone feels this way sometimes..."The only reason I've refrained from killing my husband is I really don't want to wear orange for the rest of my life." For anyone who's mother ever watched As The World Turns or nagged nudged them about writing thank you notes, this book will have you laughing.

These are the stops on the Miss Hildreth Wore Brown blog tour. I think you should go visit them. Really, do. Because I am so technologically unsavvy that I had to link them all by hand one at a time, and I would hate to think I did that for nothing!

Friday, April 1: Mrs. Q: Book Addict

Saturday, April 2: A Journey Into Reading

Sunday, April 3: Reading Between Pages

Monday, April 4: My Round File

Tuesday, April 5: Chaotic Compendium

Wednesday, April 6: 4 The Love of Books

Thursday, April 7: Knitting and Sundries

Friday, April 8: Chocolate and Croissants

Saturday, April 9: Lulilut's Stack O' Books

Sunday, April 10: Let Them Read Books

Monday, April 11: Steph the Bookworm

Tuesday, April 12: The Cajun Book Lady

Wednesday, April 13: Library of Clean Reading

Thursday, April 14: CMash Loves to Read

Friday, April 15: The Road to Here (Squirrel Queen)

Saturday, April 16: The Preppy Book Review

Sunday, April 17: Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer

Monday, April 18: Kelsey's Book Corner

Tuesday, April 19: Books and Life!

Wednesday, April 20: Life in the Thumb

Thursday, April 21: Diary of an Eccentric

Friday, April 22: Metroreader

Saturday, April 23: Just Books

Monday, April 25: Ramblings of a (Future) Librarian

Tuesday, April 26: Socrates' Book Reviews

Wednesday, April 27: My Life In Not So Many Words

Thursday, April 28: So Many Books, So Little Time

Friday, April 29: Peeking Between the Pages

Saturday, April 30: Under the Boardwalk


bermudaonion said...

I do think Southerners know how to laugh at themselves better than just about anyone else.

kavyen said...

I enjoyed this book as well. Glad you had a good laugh. My review is here