When I think about the term "Southern," lots of things come to mind - etiquette, comfort food, funny accents, big hair…and a few things I can't quite wrap my head around like Nascar. So when I heard about the book Sue Ellen's Girl Ain't Fat, She Just Weighs Heavy by Shellie Rushing Tomlinson, I knew I had to pick it up and see if I could understand Southerners a bit better.
Using principles from the "Belle Doctrine" Tomlinson covers a wide range of topics such as fitness, men, time management, manners, politics, holidays and regional differences. Included amongst the observations and advice are Southern recipes and anecdotes from readers about growing up Southern. Right from the start this book screams "go-to book on all things Southern."
This is a follow-up to Tomlinson's best-selling book Suck Your Stomach In & Put Some Color On! but the book does stand alone so you don't have to have read the first one. Though I'm sure you'll want to once you've finished with this book.
I will admit that some of this book was hard for me to get into. I loved the personal stories and many had me laughing out loud. But there was quite a bit that I just didn't get. I justified this during my reading in that I just don't have much knowledge of the American South and therefore just wouldn't get why some things are funny. I likened it to a non-Canadian reading a book about us and our crazy ways. I mean, if you don't know what Tim Hortons is you just wouldn't understand why we consider a doughnut shop to be a national institution.
So I will say that if you are Southern, have spent time in the South or just happen to know a lot of people from there you will find this book hilarious, and you'll be laughing and nodding your head the whole way through. If you aren't from the South then you may not have the same experience with the book.
But no matter where you are from, there are a lot of lessons that can be taken from this book. One thing those Southerners sure can do is point out the absurdities of this world and teach you how to behave with a little bit of dignity in this crazy world we live in.