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Jill Conner Browne writes a fictional account of how the Sweet Potato Queens came into being and how they truly became queens through some terrible decisions and heartbreak.
I absolutely loved the first section of this book. It was sheer perfection I tell you. It starts when the queens are in high school and haven’t really figured out that they’re queens yet. They are always being looked down upon by the high school beauty queen, a bitch if ever there was one. I was shrieking with laughter and doing a corny little fist pump all alone in my car by the time this section ended. “You tell her, Queens!” I was repeating the last few sentences of that chapter to anyone who would listen for days, complete with my best Southern drawl.
That was by far my favorite part. The Queens seem determined to make every mistake it is possible to make when it comes to love. There were still definitely some funny parts, but I had gotten so attached to these characters in that first chapter that I just wanted everything to go right for them. But I think Browne’s ultimate message is that we are all Queens, no matter what horrendously bad decision we have made in our lives. We just need to pick ourselves back up, dust off our crowns, and start singing “Tiny Bubbles” again.
I am torn between recommending the print or audio versions. I listened to the audio, read by Browne herself, and had a blast listening to her. I am definitely a Southern girl, but up here in the Southern Appalachians, we have more of a twang, and Browne definitely has a drawl. I could listen to her talk all day, I swear. No matter the slight differences in accents, I think that Southerners all have a similar rhythm to our storytelling, so listening to her read this book just felt deeply right.
On the other hand, there were so many quotes I wanted to mark, but there was no way for me to do that! Maybe I’ll check the print book out of the library and look for the best bits. One that I can sort of remember is something like, “She was letting that word fly. You know, the one we called the firetruck word back then because it began and ended with the same letters.”
For a laugh-out-loud, ultimately feel-good book, go ahead and pick this up in whatever format tickles your fancy. It might not have quite lived up to the high expectations I had after the first section, but it is definitely a girl-power book, and we all need to read those every once in a while.
Read an excerpt.
Buy The Sweet Potato Queens’ First Big-Ass Novel: Stuff We Didn’t Actually Do, But Could Have, and May Yet at
I have an affiliate relationship with Malaprop’s, my local independent bookstore located in beautiful downtown Asheville, NC; and Better World Books. I will receive a small commission at no cost to you if you purchase books through links on my site.