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Review: Southern Lady Code by Helen Ellis

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My Interest

Say the word “essays” and normally my eyes glaze over. Happily these days there are humorous essays that live up to their billings. Essays such as those Helen Ellis [“Helen Michelle”] writes.

So imagine my surprise whent he first essay was the “clean table” thing I’d heard or read and LOVED! I told my Mom about it. I cleaned my own table. The husband in the piece [by the then unknown-to-me-author] didn’t want a divorce, he simply wanted the dining room table free of crap!  When I wen home that night, my crap-strewn dining room table really hurt me. See? Essays can help! (You can read the clean table essay here in the Amazon book preview).

The Story

After writing a novel, Eating the Chesire Cat, Helen turned to social media and found her audience by tweeting daily life as @WhatIDoAllDayShe has also hosted a podcast called The Southern Lady Code.

“‘Put together’ is Southern Lady Code for: you can take me to Church or Red Lobster.”

I enjoyed every minute of this collection. The audio version, performed by the author, was like talking to her over a salady at Applebees–it was that real. Her humor, her humanity and her good manners all shine through. If you love Steel Magnolias as much I do, then you’ll appreciate that she’s part M’lynn, part Truuvy, part Shelby, part Claree and, yes, even part Weezer! As a Southern transplant to Manhattan, she dares to serve Lipton Onion Soup Dip and Ruffles for Christmas parties alongside Nutter Butter Snowmen. My kind of gal!

Cardigans: “which we Southern ladies consider active wear.” 

The collection does contain one essay that might be difficult for some, but stay with it, it has a serious purpose. Yes, she does reveal just a touch of TMI in it (a touch–a tiny touch) but detailing the extent porn has corroded social media is something that cannot be done too often. That is the one essay that has a truly serious message. She also drops one bit of personal information that left me speechless and wanting to hug her. The Southern Lady Code of good manners in action kept her from revealing more than just that one momentous word.

My only complaint? The collection was too short! Barely 3.5 hours on audio. Helen Michelle? Bring on more, please. Love you! And, ladies? Get the audio. It’s worth it. I’ll be looking for your Thank You note (you’ll understand after you listen to the collection).

Southern Lady Code: Essays by Helen Ellis

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