Monday, June 25, 2007


Fiction/Coming of Age

Beth reviews THE SWEET POTATO QUEENS' FIRST BIG-ASS NOVEL: Stuff We Didn't Actually Do, But Could Have, and May Yet by Jill Conner Browne (Simon & Schuster, 2007).

Jill Conner Browne, Boss Sweet Potato Queen (SPQ), has written five non-fiction bestsellers. Now she has moved to fiction—and what great fiction it is! We all know that every little girl is a princess and wants to grow up to be a queen. In this coming-of-age novel we witness the main character, Jill Connor, join five high school misfits to create the core members of the "Tammy Club," after the town’s newcomer, Tammy, is humiliated by the "in crowd." Wearing wild dresses and red wigs, the Tammy Club enters the homecoming parade—and is a huge hit. Unfortunately on their homecoming sign "Tammy" is misspelled "Yammy" as in Sweet Potato. Thus the Sweet Potato Queens were born! As they age, we learn of weddings, funerals, and what can only be described as nightmare-like relationships. Amazingly, through it all, we see them remain true to themselves and each other.

Readers of the SPQ’s 1st Big-Ass Novel learn "The Promise" and the "motto" ("Never wear panties to a party") but also some new words and phrases (which I won’t go into here!). Jill Conner Browne doesn’t forget the ever-popular SPQ recipes, located after the final chapter of the novel, featuring recipes from Rest in Peace, a restaurant the Sweet Potato Queens would open serving only Southern funeral food! (Mmmm, I can just imagine the macaroni and cheese, fried chicken....)

Want to know more about the Sweet Potato Queens? Check out their website, go to the annual Mal’s St. Paddy’s Day Parade during the 3rd weekend in March in Jackson, MS (you’ll read all about it in the book) or check out Memphis’s own Memphis Blues Queens (a chapter of the SPQ)!

Want to read more about them? Check out these books:
God Save the Sweet Potato Queens
The Sweet Potato Queens’ Big-Ass Cookbook (and Financial Planner)
The Sweet Potato Queens' Book of Love
The Sweet Potato Queens' Field Guide To Men: Every Man I Love is Either Married, Gay, or Dead
The Sweet Potato Queens' Wedding Planner/Divorce Guide

PS-Hope you are continuing to read those Southern books for Maggie Reads' Southern Book Challenge. You’ll be amazed at how many great books are by Southern authors, set in Southern places or just-plain Southern! Enjoy!

Beth, Highland Branch Library

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The first Sweet Potato Queens "Book of Love" was humorous. Not rib-breaking funny, but humorous. The rest of the books are recycled humor and they scream of "I want the money and need the attention", so I'll write another book....or cookbook.
I had read one of her books and thought it was funny. Then I ran into the Sweet Potato Queens during their parade in Jackson, Mississippi.

OMG! Those are some nasty, drunk women that are not funny at all!
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