Southern Fried Child… In Home Seeker’s Paradise

Southern Fried Child... In Home Seeker's Paradise

I know that most of the time I keep discussion to young adult fiction, with the occasional comment on the writing process thrown in, but I want to divert our attention briefly.

I was recently reading a memoir- a little bit different from young adult fiction- by Jimmie Meese Moomaw. It outlines her life as a child growing up in Brookhaven, MS. It’s a truthful, funny, genuine account of her experiences through the touching, the hilarious, the unbelievable, and the trying times of her childhood.

Her writing style is appropriate for young adults and “adult” adults, alike. Some “grown-ups” may relate well to her stories, depending on their own experiences, but many of the themes are easily relatable for people in general.

An interesting note is the book’s structure. We don’t often look at a book’s structure when reading the story, but it’s such an important component of how it functions, at the risk of sounding like Frank Lloyd Wright. Southern Fried Child is composed of a series of short stories ranging from very short episodes (think flash fiction) to fully drawn out short stories. They don’t follow a particular line, like a novel would, but hold their own within the theme of Jimmie Moomaw’s life.  Thus the structure itself works much like a collection of short stories. This is an interesting concept, because our memories work much the same way. We don’t remember every event in detailed, perfect chronological order like a novel, but in pieces and flashes, some longer and with more detail than others. Each memory is important all on it’s own, regardless of the context or perhaps because of the context, depending on the memory.

Jimmie Meese Moomaw’s work is not only a memoir, but a glimpse at how we remember, which makes it a rather unique type of memoir. The pieces work together to make a complete story, but each piece is a story all it’s own. It’s thoroughly entertaining and amusing, very accessible, and welcoming to read. But don’t expect it to be simply fuzzies: it’s an honest recollection of memories, with no pretense of anything except being what it was: a childhood.

This is a great piece for older children to teenagers, as well as adults; people with a social, nostalgic, psychological, family, or intuitive/reflective bent will enjoy this book especially.  And if you read it without ever laughing… check your sense of humor.

More information about Jimmie Meese Moomaw is available on her website and Facebook under Southern Fried Child.

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