Learning To Speak Southern

Sourcebooks Landmark. Jun. 2021. 288p. ISBN 9781728205403. pap. $16.99. F
Lex has been traveling the world since graduating college. She’ll go anywhere but home: Memphis, TN. Rather than facing her mother’s unsettling death, she immerses herself in words, creating a lexicon of her own lived experience. Yet after a heartbreak and with help from her godmother Cami, Lex returns to Memphis for what she assumes will be a short visit. Instead, Cami gives Lex the opportunity to learn her mother’s life story. Through her mother’s own words in diary entries from before Lex was born, this daughter begins to question who she is and how many ways there are to define family. A quick and intimate read, Cook’s second novel (after How To Bury Your Brother) embraces the classic story of a daughter realizing that within her mother was a woman she never knew, who was as spirited and strong-willed as Lex herself. Though the plot is predictable, this isn’t frustrating. The familiarity and assurance that you know what’s coming is rewarding and endears the characters to the reader.
VERDICT Readers of Southern and women’s fiction will become deeply immersed in this mother-daughter narrative.
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