A friend of mine recommended a book to me by an author I’d never heard of: Florence King. My friend said King’s memoir, Confessions of a Failed Southern Lady, was one of the funniest things she’d ever read, and every time she loaned out a copy she replaced it so she’d always have it.

Given that it’s non-fiction, and this friend has a great sense of humor, I got the book.

Y’all. My friend wasn’t kidding. Confessions is one of the best memoirs I’ve ever read. King was born in the 1930s, and the book covers her childhood up to her twenties, coming of age in the 1950s. It’s brilliant. King was a misanthrope from birth, it seems, and her family was over-the-top in its eccentricity. King’s voice sucked me in immediately and didn’t let go until I’d finished reading the book. It’s the tale of a very Southern family that rang true to me, as a fellow Southerner.

King doesn’t just write about her family, though, as central as they are to the story. King is queer, and writes about that realization. She doesn’t tell as sob story, but it’s obvious being gay in the 1950s was a very different experience. I enjoyed reading about it in her voice.

There are occasional tragic moments in the tale, but I walked away from it smiling. King is a great writer, and I need to read more of her work soon.

(Thank you to M.W. for the recommendation!)

Categories: History


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