Gods in Alabama

Saturday, October 13, 2007

gods in Alabama, by Joshilyn Jackson

I stayed up past midnight to finish this book--I couldn't put it down. The author had a well-told story with interesting characters that didn't resort to cliches. Please note that it is an "R-rated" book, but I thought it was worth it.

Basically, the plot is this: a southern girl successfully leaves her small town and big family for the anonymity of Chicago, but then is pulled back 10 years later when she tries to protect her secret. It could have been condescending towards the South, but the author respected her characters enough to write them fully.

I'm not sure what I think about "Southern Fiction." There are so many stereotypes and usually they really annoy me. I will probably always identify myself as a Californian, but I've lived in Texas for four years and Virginia for three, so I'm starting to take the southern jokes more personally now. It's a group of people who are fair game to deride in pop culture. I'm certain that the intellectual elite feel free to mock southerners because it's one of the areas of the country which still has a Christian culture, although I've found that Christianity to be quite shallow. And of course, the South still has such baggage from the Civil War (or "War of Northern Agression"). And southerners talk funny and love Wal-Mart, both of which are things I laugh at. Maybe that's part of southern literature, is acknowledging the kookiness and character flaws but being proud of one's heritage anyway. I need to think more about this, but in the meantime, just know I enjoyed this book.