Bound South: A Novel, by Susan Rebecca White
The Down & Dirty
Louise has her hands full. Her teenaged daughter has run amok, her son is retreating into teenaged angst, her maid's problems are her problems and her best friend is getting divorced. But these are Southern women, smack in the heart of Atlanta, and they deal with problems using two failproof weapons: humor and alcohol.
The Lit Crit
This debut novel by Susan Rebecca White is a pleasant addition to the growing Southern Lit genre. Told from multiple (female) viewpoints, White is at the top of her game in the snarky department and apparently no topic is off limits. Religion, adultry, student/teacher affairs, homosexuality and race relations in the south are all treated with equal honesty and wit.
Louise's relationship with her wild-child daughter is particularly refreshing and while sharp humor is the order of the day, White doesn't use it to sweep issues under the rug. Rather, humor is used for perspective, something most mothers need on a daily basis.
Louise and her husband, John Henry, are not perfect parents by any means. A product of their generation, they enable their children's dysfunctions at every turn, although you can hardly hold it against them:
"To be perfectly honest, San Francicso is a better place for her than Atlanta ever was. It suits her. It seemed that the moment she stepped off the plane and onto California soil she got her act together. She earned her GED, not that we're exactly beaming with pride over that, but then she enrolled at San Francisco State University. She's majoring in something called American Studies, although judging by what she's learning it should be called American Sins.
I don't mean to sound negative - I think it's important to learn about indigenous cultures and to take a skeptical stance towards government, and so on and do on - but I do sometimes get a little tired of being lectured so often by her on the Complicity of America in all things Evil...
...she seems to be okay. Of course we pay for her college classes, and John Henry sends her a small check each month to cover part of her rent, but other than that, she's on her own."
Bound South, by Susan Rebecca White
Bwahahahahah...A Reader's Respite thinks this last sentence is hysterical....
If there is any quibble to be had, it would be with the end of the novel, which had little (if any) conclusion. It was as if she just stopped writing. You turn the page, but that's it. One page the characters are at dinner and the next.....poof. The end.
Of course, not every novel needs a perfect, tightly-wrapped conclusion.
Perhaps it's an artsy thing I'm missing.
If you're a fan of southern lit or just appreciate the humor inherent in parenting, this is a fun book and certainly a worthwhile read. Enjoy the perspective this one offers!
Think you might like this book? Leave me a comment saying so and A Reader's Respite will draw a random winner next Monday, March 2 and send you the book.
Title: Bound South
Author: Susan Rebecca White
Date: February 10, 2009
Other fabulous opinions about this novel:
S. Krishna's Books
Books and Cooks
Dew on the Kudzu